2. CHOOSE FOOD WITH ANTI CANCER PROPERTIES (NATURAL CHEMO)
Some foods are exceptional sources of natural chemicals that have the capacity to interfere with the processes associated with the development of cancer. The therapeutic properties of these foods are similar to those of pharmaceutical drugs, except that they are non toxic and natural, thus the term ‘Nutraceutical’. The list of food with anti-cancer properties shortlisted here are limited to those that had been extensively studied. A lot of locally grown fruits and vegetables contained anti-cancer properties too except they are not being extensively studied. Hence, do include these local traditional food and fruits in your diet.
Scientific studies on the ‘anti-cancer’ properties of food
Extensive scientific studies have been carried out to identify the agents or chemicals that are nontoxic but at the same time can delay or halt the onset and/or progression of cancers.
The result of one of the studies done in the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine in Montreal, Canada, showed that some plants naturally contain very large quantities of anti-cancer molecules.
The excerpt of the study is as per table below.
Vegetables with chemo-preventive potential
In a research that was carried out in Canada, the effects of 34 vegetables extracts were applied on 8 different cancer cells (cell lines) to gauge their inhibitory (cancer-stopping) effects. The outcome of the study demonstrates that extracts from vegetables are capable of exhibiting ‘natural chemo properties’ and that different vegetables contain varying degree of chemo-preventive phytochemical that work for different cancers.
Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Curly cabbage, Garlic, Green Onion. Kale, Leek, Spinach
Asparagus, Beetroot, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Fiddlehead fern, Green bean, Radish, Red cabbage, Rutabaga, Yellow onion
Extracted from “Antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of common vegetables: A comparative study” Food Chemistry 112(2208) 374-380
Please note that this study only shows what various vegetable extracts did in terms of inhibition of cancer growth when applied directly to cancer cells. It does not take into account the role of our innate and adaptive immune system that supports the body’s ability to detoxify and heal. The list above is not exhaustive. For example, carrots did not feature in the list but is an excellent source of antioxidants and plays an important role in cancer treatment.
Targeting cancer progression pathways via anticancer food
- Blocking the promotion (proliferation) and progression of tumour cells3
Curcumin, EGCG, Genistein, Resveratrol, Lycopene, Anthocyanins, Quercetin, Ellagic acid, Limonene, Procyanidins, Omega –3 fatty acid4
Source: Green tea, apples, citrus fruits, grapes and berries and the vegetables as listed in table abive.
- Blocking Carcinogen action thereby protecting cell’s DNA3
Sulforaphane, Indole-3-carbinol, Diallyl sulfide, Ellagic acid and Limonene
Source: Apples, citrus fruits, grapes and berries and the vegetables as listed in table above.
- Induce ‘apoptosis’ or cell death 3
Curcumin, EGCG, Vit. D, Resveratrol, Ellagic acid, Anthrocyanins, proanthocyanidins, Luteolin, Lentinan, Beta Glucan
Source: Tumeric, soya 1, cruciferous vegetables, garlic and onions, grapes and berries,
mushroom 2 .
- Interfere with angiogenesis (blood vessel growth)3
Curcumin, EGCG, Vit. D, Resveratrol, Ellagic acid, Anthocyanins
Sources: Green tea, turmeric, soy, grapes and berries, Omega 34
- Boost the immune system3
Curcumin, EGCG, Resveratrol, proanthocyanidins , Lentinan, Beta Glucan, Isoflavones, Limonene
Sources: Tumeric, Green tea, Grapes, Citrus fruits, Omega 34, mushrooms 2 and legumes
- On soya — please refer to section 13 for further readings on the controversies on soya.
- Mushrooms — Reishi, Maitake, shiitake, cordyceps and Tremella varieties
- All the food as listed in A and B from table above are capable of carrying out the functions as listed in I—V.
- Sources of Omega 3 fatty acids—Chia seeds, flax seeds, fishes, walnuts, eggs
Chemotherapy the non-toxic way
This is yet another tool that you can use as means of protecting yourself from cancer as well as interfering with the cancer growth. The strategy here is to fight the development of cancer through diet using the ‘anticancer’ molecules present in certain foods as weapons. This non-toxic version of chemotherapy is harmless to normal cells while at the same time targets and kills cancer cells. Table below shows some of the natural anticancer chemicals found in food
Tumeric — Curcumin
Garlic — Diallyl Sulfide
Brocolli — Sulforaphane
Green tea — Epigallocatechin 3
Citrus — Limonene
Grapes — Resveratrol
Chilli — Capsaicin
Ginger — Gingerol
Spinach — Lutein
Papaya —Beta - cyrptoxanthin
Tomatoes — Lycopene
Strawberries — Ellagic acid
Blueberries — Delphinidin
Cabbage — Indole 3 carbinol
Soybeans — Genistein * (highly controversial
Apple — Quercetin
Basil and Rosemary — Ursolic acid
Marine algae — Fucoxanthins
Shiitake mushrooms — Lentinan
What are anticancer super foods?
These are foods that are found to have ‘anticancer’ properties. Here are a short list of 13 superfoods that you must add to your daily diet to help you in your prevention and treatment of cancer.
- Allium family — include garlic, onion (yellow, green and purple), shallots, leeks, scallions and chives.
- Cruciferous vegetables — include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (white, green and purple), curly cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, turnips, bok choy, arugula, horseradish and watercress.
- Green tea
- Citrus fruits — include Orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, clementines
- Dark chocolate (>70% cocoa)
- Berries — include strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, mulberries and goji berries,
- Mushrooms — Shiitake, Oyster, Reishi, Maitake
- Omega 3 fatty acids— Fish source such as Sardine, mackerel, salmon and anchovies, nuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts
To overcome cancer is simply a conscious decision on your part to carefully modifying your diet to include foods with these anticancer properties. The aim is to create an environment that is hostile to tumors and halts the tumor growth. The regular and continuous consumption of the ‘anti-cancer’ food allows a small amount of the ‘anticancer’ molecules to be absorbed into the bloodstream. It has the effect of gradually reducing the number of cancer cells while at the same time interfering with angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels to the tumor mass). It can also prevent the further development of the miniature tumors that are apparently lying dormant in the body( Cancer Stem Cells )
The eradication of the tumor may take more time than the chemotherapy, but using this diet approach is non-toxic to the normal cells. Using the 'natural properties' of food to overcome has many advantage over using the chemo drugs. Among these are:
- non toxic
- no side effects (unless consumed in extremely large quantities for example excessive consumption of tomatoes and carrots can cause your skin and eyes to become yellow). These effects are cosmetic and does not do any harm.
- by adopting the 'natural chemo' food, you are not only targetting the cancer, you are also helping in various functions of the body such as boosting the immune system, increase in oxygenation and etc. Chemotherapy drugs have only one function and that is to kill the cancer cells.
Our Recommendation on adopting the anti-cancer compound in food
Adopting a diet high in anti-cancer compounds occurring naturally in food is both preventive and therapeutic at the same time. By recognizing the healthful benefits of food ingredients and incorporating these everyday superfoods such as garlic, cabbage, berries and green teas helps you to fight cancer at the very source of the disease thereby increasing your chance of preventing and defeating cancer.
Even if there are occasions where conventional therapies are necessary, integrating these with nutritional therapy may also help to reduce side effects as well as improve efficacy of the treatment.