Cancer is caused by a group of cells that display uncontrolled growth, destroying adjacent tissue and spreading to other locations via blood. It is a complex disease that involves multiple lifestyle factors.
But the important thing for you to remember is this: Cancer cannot invade a healthy body that’s free of an overload of toxins, whether mental or physical.
Your best-bet diet
No single food can protect you from cancer. But the right combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet is your best bet.
Mounting evidence shows that minerals, vitamins and phyto chemicals in plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. Ingredients like lycopenes in tomatoes, genistein in soya foods, and glutathione in leafy vegetables are all cancer fighters.
A diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables is seen to protect against cancer. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals and phyto chemicals, and low in calories and saturated fats – both of which are cancer promoters. The alkaline nature of these foods helps control the production of cancer cells and keeps the blood pH level well within in its ideal range.
What you eat may also help stifle cancerous growth in its early stages. Fibre and antioxidants in food can help build immunity and cleanse the body, and prevent unnecessary damage to cells (a prelude to cancer).
Antioxidants can snuff out oxygen-free radicals, which promote cancer. Even after you’ve developed cancer, the right foods could help prolong your life and contain the disease.
Much of what we eat today is low in essential nutrients and high in harmful additives. Here are some foods and lifestyle changes known to help combat cancer:
- Ideally, up to 80 per cent of your diet should comprise alkaline forming foods such as whole grains, nuts and seeds. These include beans such as peas, soyabean, whole dals, barley, rice and oats, almonds, walnuts and coconuts.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables every day. They reduce the risk of many types of cancers, including colon cancer, stomach cancer and lung cancer by half. Good fruit choices are apples, bananas, berries, grapefruit, oranges, pomegranates, figs, grapes, mangoes, lemons, melons, papayas, oranges, peaches, pineapples, pears, raisins, raspberries, strawberries and watermelons.
- Fibre plays a crucial role in eliminating toxins from the body. Processed and canned foods are devoid of fibre and allow the accumulation of toxins in the body. Avoid them.
- Olive oil is also believed to contain certain cancer-fighting qualities because of its monounsaturated fatty acids. For salads and dressings, use one tablespoon of extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil.
- Green foods such as alfalfa, barley grass and wheatgrass are rich in detoxifying nutrients. They contain large amounts of chlorophyll, which helps purify the blood.
- Flaxseed oil is also said to have cancer-fighting properties.
- Consume two cloves of chopped raw garlic every morning and half a raw onion with both your meals every day. Over 30 anti-cancer compounds have been identified in them.
- Avoid red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese etc. Heart-friendly oils are ones with monounsaturated fats such as flaxseed, olives, canola, walnut, peanut, and mustard. Omega-3 fats found in fish oils are known to have anti-tumour properties and are also heart-friendly.
- Eat more sprouts. You could sprout any whole pulse and eat it daily. Sprouts are rich in phyto chemicals and have anti-cancer properties.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and chewing tobacco. n Regular meditation and pranayama help reduce stress and keep you calm. This helps boost immunity.
- Sugar is a cancer feeder. So avoid excessive sugar.
- Take a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral pill regularly to increase immunity.
- Take a brisk walk for about 30-40 minutes six days a week. Walking helps improve oxygenation to body tissue and cancer cells cannot survive in a well oxygenated body.
Detoxification is the solution
Remember if toxins are causing the problem, detoxification is the solution. Today, all of us are wallowing in our own high-tech waste products. Carcinogens not only add to the fury of mental and physical toxins, they also attack our DNA and subdue our immune system.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.
© HT Media