January 21, 2017

Anticancer Eating: Nature’s Best Foods

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“Everything causes cancer! You’ve heard the phrase.  It usually comes out of the mouth of someone who is so frustrated hearing how everything they eat, drink and come into contact with causes cancer.

  • Sunscreen, once touted for its ability to prevent skin cancer, is said to be a cause of cancer from the chemicals in the lotion itself.
  • Grilling meat, which was thought to be a healthy method of preparation that adds natural flavor, is now discouraged because the charred marks are carcinogens that can cause cancer.
  • And the list goes on.

It’s no wonder people throw their hands in the air and quit trying. They feel like no matter what they choose, it’s going bad for them, so why try? I am here to plea with you that it does, in fact, matter. Yes, I understand the frustration and apprehension you may have when being healthy seems like an impossible task. But it really isn’t as difficult as you may believe. Using common sense and a healthy bit of skepticism is a good thing.  You aren’t expected to live in the forest, breathing perfectly clean air, drinking pure water, and surviving on only organic natural foods. However, making the best of what you have in the world you live can literally add years to your life and prevent a lot of pain and discomfort.

Artificial Foods and Cancer

Over the years, as changes and so-called advances in manufacturing have occurred, man-made chemicals have replaced our once naturally grown foods. For example, an ear of corn isn’t what it was 50 years ago. It has now been modified so much that its genetic makeup is totally different from it’s once all-natural design. Scientists have spliced and diced genes, crossing them with other species, bacteria, and viruses in an attempt to “improve” our foods. But, that isn’t all! These foods are then sprayed with chemical pesticides to keep away bugs.

As our lives have become busier and faster paced, processed and packaged foods have replaced home cooked made from scratch meals. So much of the food we eat isn’t even food anymore, and our body knows the difference. We weren’t designed to get our nutrition from artificial means. Many times our body doesn’t know how to cope with these counterfeit foods and it responds as if these foods are invaders. If these artificial foods are eaten regularly, a chronic immune response occurs which leads to inflammation. This inflammation can result in:

  • Digestive Issues
  • Joint Pain
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Cancer

Artificial food can cause cancer in other ways, as well. The lab-created foods can also cause mutations in healthy cells throughout the body. These mutated cells can grow and reproduce leading to cancer. Avoiding these foods is not an impossible task. With a little practice it will become second nature. If you think about it, it is truly going back to the basics: cooking from scratch and eating the real all-natural foods that our ancestors ate. It isn’t rocket science and it definitely isn’t as inconvenient as you may think. It truly boils down to priorities.top 5 gmo offenders Do you care more about the speed and convenience of the food you eat, or the nourishment and health benefits it provides your body? Below is a simplified list of what to avoid in the foods you eat in order to avoid their potential cancer causing side-effects. Write this list down and take it with you to the grocery store until it becomes second nature. Read the ingredient lists on everything you purchase and keep your eyes peeled for the following ingredients:

  • Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The top 5 include –
    • Corn
    • Soybeans
    • Zucchini
    • Canola
    • Sugar beets

Unless these specify Non-GMO, buy the organic version or skip it all together.

  • Artificial Colors: These are easy to spot. Any color listed with a # number behind it is artificial. There are natural colors and those are okay, but they will specify natural.
  • Artificial Flavors: My rule of thumb is if you cannot pronounce it, then don’t eat it. Most natural flavor enhancers are nearly impossible to pronounce and the most common is monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • rBST: This is a hormone given to cows to increase milk production. It will not be listed on the label if it’s used, so look for a label on dairy that says no rBST or organic and buy it instead.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Nearly every “diet” or low-calorie product contains some sort of chemical based sweetener. The most common are aspartame and sucralose. Use safe sweeteners instead like stevia or xylitol.

Sugar and Cancer

There is a lot of debate about whether or not sugar feeds cancer. It is true that cancer cells, like all our body’s cells, need sugar (glucose in our blood) to grow and survive. However, I believe the debate is really around the wrong issue. The focus has been on whether when we eat sugar it feeds cancer like gasoline fuels a fire. Whether or not this is exactly true, what can be agreed upon, and what has been proven in scientific studies, is that chronically elevated blood glucose can both increase your risk of getting cancer and also speed cancer’s growth. For instance, those with diabetes are up to twice as likely to get either pancreatic or colon cancer![1]

There is also a link between high blood sugar levels with cancers of the breast, liver and many others. Plainly said, although eating a cupcake after a healthy dinner may not directly cause cancer to grow, eating sugar and starches high on the glycemic index on a regular basis can. When battling or preventing cancer, the importance of staying away from sugar is to ultimately keep your blood glucose levels normal.  Having chronically high levels of glucose in the blood provides the perfect pH and a nearly unlimited source of glucose for cancer growth. Therefore, cutting high starch and high sugar foods out of your diet would be a very wise choice.

Like I mentioned earlier, artificial sweeteners are not a suitable substitute. Instead, I recommend trying stevia, a safe herbal-based sweetener that will not affect your blood glucose levels. It is great to sweeten your tea or coffee and there is even a version for using in your favorite baked goods!

Foods for Cancer Prevention

foods for cancer preventionEverything doesn’t cause cancer. In fact, there are many foods that prevent it! Thankfully, there are foods packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and cancer fighting chemicals in everyday foods!  I mentioned earlier what you should avoid in the foods you eat. Now I’m going to tell you what foods you should be eating to both prevent cancer and fight cancer. Eating real foods cooked from scratch is going to be the best way to change your diet for the better. Instead of snacking on crackers, chips, and other boxed foods, grab an apple or some precut veggies. Avoid fast food chains and instead come home to a meal you have cooking in your crockpot. It will definitely be a lifestyle change for many of you, but the outcome from this change is literally life enhancing! Some fantastic foods for cancer include:

  • Green Tea: Green tea contains chemicals called polyphenols, which can slow the growth of cancer and increase survival rates.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli contains an anticancer chemical called sulforaphane. It also is high in antioxidants, which help prevent cancer and fight cancer.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a wonderful immune boosting food. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and has shown in studies to reduce the incidences of lung, colon, and breast cancer.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene, which can stop the growth of cancer cells in the body. Be wary of canned tomatoes though as the cans are lined with toxic BPA, which leaches into the tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are best!
  • Colorful fruits and veggies: The brighter the color, the more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and cancer fighting substances the vegetable or fruit is likely to have. For example, grab mixed greens instead of iceberg lettuce and a sweet potato instead of a russet potato. Always pick the most colorful and you can’t go wrong!

gazpacho anticancer soupAnticancer Recipes

Vegetables are such an important part in cancer prevention and treatment. Unfortunately, I often find it hard to get in my daily dose of fruits and vegetables. I have found that soup is an easy way to incorporate a lot of vegetables into one dish! With spring upon us, we are coming out of soup season. However, this gazpacho is a cold soup designed to be eaten in the warmer months. It is packed full of anticancer nutrients and is delicious, refreshing, and a cinch to make!

Gazpacho Soup[2]

Ingredients:

  • 8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s)
  • 2 1/2 Tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup filtered water
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients except water together.
  2. Process in batches in a food processor or blender until not quite smooth.
  3. Thin to desired consistency with water.
  4. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  5. Serve well chilled.

Matcha Green Tea powder is one of the best forms of green tea you can put into your body. It’s bright green color boasts it’s high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants. You can purchase matcha powder here. You can make hot green tea or incorporate it into a smoothie or latte like the recipes below!

Green Tea Matcha Latte

  • green tea matcha latte1 cup almond/coconut milk blend (unsweetened)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 Tsp matcha
  • 2 Tsp coconut sugar or 5-10 drops liquid stevia
  • Put in a blender and blend to combine well.  Serve over ice.

You can also drink this hot. Just whisk all the ingredients together over medium heat until combined and then use an immersion blender to make it frothy.

Green Tea Raspberry Smoothie

  • 4 oz. frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 packets of stevia (Nu Naturals)
  • 1 Tsp matcha
  • 3 large ice cubes (use more for a thicker smoothie)
  • Blend until smooth and enjoy. Feel free to try different fruit combinations as well.

Though the world around us has changed and cancer-causing substances seem more abundant than ever, this is not a death sentence. Please, don’t throw your hands in the air in dismay and give up!  Taking the time to simplify your life and incorporate natural foods into your diet will not only will help battle existing cancer, but will help prevent its occurrence.

Take charge of your life and your body and watch your health and well-being improve. Don’t be a slave to societies artificial food revolution. Putting God-designed natural foods into our God-designed bodies is a wise and fruitful choice. Go back to the basics of eating and start cooking from scratch, eat your fruits and veggies, and watch their vibrant colors and nutrients bring energy and nourishment to your life.

Amanda BoxAmanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

[2] Adapted from http://thenourishingcook.com

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