Fighting cancer is an issue that many people have to deal with. Cancer is a term used for a group of over one hundred different conditions. It is well known that diet and lifestyle play a big role in the formation and spread of cancer. Experts in the field believe that almost one in ten cancer cases in the UK are as a result of unhealthy diets. However, change your dietary habits and fighting cancer with food becomes a real possibility.
You can be actively fighting cancer by following a diet that is:
-High in fibre, fruit and vegetables.
-Low in red and processed meat and salt.
How Cancer Starts
Healthy cells replace themselves on a regular basis when they are damaged or worn out. This controlled process can sometimes fall apart. Cells will continue to replicate without control or order. These excess cells form new tissue with its own blood supply. This is the basis of a tumour.
Normal cells can become cancerous with exposure to carcinogens or through genetic predisposition.
The growth of cancerous cells occurs for three main reasons:
-Immune system problems
-Injury to cell membrane
Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Cancer
Free radicals are molecules that damage the body’s DNA and cell membranes. They are closely linked to the initiation and spread of cancer. They are produced as a by product of metabolism in the body. Sunlight, smoking and fried foods all create free radicals.
Fighting cancer with food begins with disarming these potentially dangerous free radicals. This can be achieved with the body’s intake of antioxidants.
Anti Cancer Foods
The first stage in fighting cancer is to reduce exposure to things that create free radicals. You can also help your body by maintaining a good level of antioxidants. This can be done by eating foods containing antioxidant nutrients.
There are a variety of foods that are now recognized to have anti cancer properties. Fresh food and particularly raw food will offer a great level of essential nutrients needed in fighting cancer.
The Cruciferous Family
This food group includes:
These foods contain indoles, which help in the production of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidise. These foods also contain good vitamin C levels. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and should be eaten raw where possible, or lightly steamed, to protect their indole content and help in fighting cancer.
Soya Beans and Soya Products
Soy beans, including any products made from them such as tofu, tempeh, miso and soy sauce all prevent abnormal cell growth. They contain isoflavones and phytoestrogens which both contain anti cancer properties and aid in fighting cancer. These foods have also been found to reduce the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic will attach itself to, and carry toxins away from the body. Onions behave in much the same way but to a lesser degree. Both garlic and onions contain allicin. Allicin is a sulphur compound which is a potent detoxifier. Garlic helps in fighting cancer by stimulating the white blood cells that consume the cancer cells.
Garlic is also a rich source of sulphur. Sulphur is required by the liver for effective detoxification. The liver is a cleansing organ, clearing potentially cancer forming chemicals and pathogens passing through the body. Keeping the liver clean and healthy by eating garlic can go a long way in fighting cancer.
Kelp contains a rich source of iodine. This is essential for the health of the thyroid. The thyroid is the gland that regulates blood sugar metabolism. Shrinking of the thyroid can begin from the mid twenties onwards. Many people are found to have insufficient production of thyroid hormones from this time.
When energy is lowered, the body’s blood sugar metabolism alters to adapt. This can be pro-cancerous. Kelp contains ample amounts of selenium, which is an effective antioxidant.
Almonds contain laetrile. Laetrile is a naturally occurring compound that contains cyanide like substance that is deadly to cancer cells. It can also be found in the stones of apricots and peaches. Laetrile has been used as a treatment in fighting cancer but not as a food source.
Maitake, shiitake and rei-shi mushrooms contain powerful, immune boosting polysaccharides known as beta-glucans. It is worth finding these oriental mushrooms as its properties are not found in ordinary mushrooms.
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene. This is a forcible antioxidant believed, by some, to be more effective than vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Carrots, and most of the orange coloured vegetables are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene that can be found. Eating raw carrots is better in fighting cancer than juicing them. Large amount of the essential nutrients can be lost in the juicing process.
Citrus fruits and berries contain bioflavonoids. These support and boost the quality of vitamin C that is delivered to the body.
Linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds all contain lignans. Lignans are found in the outer shell of the seed and are phytooestrogens. Meaning they help in fighting cancer by reducing excess oestrogen circulating the body. These excess oestrogens are known to stimulate hormone based cancers such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.
For an ideal amount of protection in fighting cancer, around 50% of daily food intake should be raw. Fruit and vegetables are great, as they contain antioxidant nutrients. This will help to eliminate toxins from the digestive tract.
Fruit and vegetables of the carotenoid family are rich in beta-carotene. This is an essential part of the antioxidant team.
The richest sources of these are:
-Red, Yellow and Green Bell Peppers
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