Cancer, according to the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, is "...the second leading cause of death in the United States." The same text went on to state that "...diet has been suspected as a cause of cancer since the disease was recognized in the 1st century." No, that is not a misprint. For at least 2,000 years we have known that diet plays a significant role in cancer.
Since an official war on cancer was declared by our government in the early 1970s, there has been no significant lessening of the body count nor any significant improvement in treatment. Why do we persist in pouring billions of taxpayers' dollars into the National Cancer Institute for research that continues to look for answers to the wrong questions in the wrong places?
Cancer is not a disease. It is a symptom, or group of symptoms, of an inefficient immune system. The Report on Nutrition and Health, mentioned in the first paragraph above, defines cancer as "...a group of conditions of uncontrolled growth of cells originating from almost any tissue of the body." What causes this uncontrolled growth of cells can be almost anything in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the water we drink, or in the environment in which we live.
There are, presently, more than 7 million chemical compounds made by man. Each WEEK our chemists create another 10,000. That is about half a million new chemicals added to our environment each year. There are over 2,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Many are known to cause cancer. How many of the 7 million plus chemicals that we have created are, or will be found to be, carcinogenic?
How do you completely avoid over 7 million unnatural chemicals? You don't. Are we all doomed to have cancer? NO! But, if cancer develops, the cure will be found in rebuilding and supporting our immune systems so they can do their jobs with a minimum of interference. However, the best answer is PREVENTION.
Prevention involves developing and maintaining an optimally functioning immune system. This is accomplished by avoiding as many known cancer-promoting things as you can. If you smoke, quit. Avoid smoke-filled rooms as much as possible. Do not hesitate to request that family members, visitors, or coworkers who smoke, do so outside your home or office.
For drinking, cooking, and making beverages, use water without chlorine or fluorine added to it. If necessary, install a filter that will remove such chemicals from your water. Drink plenty of the purest water you can find every day.
Oxygenation of all cells is essential. Exercise regularly. Get at least thirty minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, swimming, rebounding or biking, into your schedule two or three times a week.
Read everything you can about the subject. One of the best books is The Cancer Answer by Albert Earl Carter. This is one of the easiest to read, as well as one of the most informative books you will find on the topic. Mr. Carter also wrote the definitive book on using mini-trampolines for rebound exercising entitled The Miracles of Rebound Exercise.
Your diet should include as many naturally grown, raw foods as possible. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Avoid irradiated produce. Read labels. Reduce the polyunsaturated fats in your diet. Follow your blood type diet as closely as you can. Get plenty of protective dietary fiber.
Some of the best anti-cancer foods include apricot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, radish, rutabaga, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomato, and turnip. The darker green the leafy vegetable and the deeper orange the fruit or vegetable, the better.
Other cancer prevention foods include garlic, onions, kelp, extra virgin olive oil, tea (especially green tea), seeds, nuts, rice and other grains, as well as legumes, such as beans and peas. More specific suggestions about foods and their relationship to cancer come from Jean Carper's The Food Pharmacy. Some examples are:
- An extra half cup of broccoli a day may help protect against several cancers, notably colon and lung cancer.
- Eating cabbage raw, cooked, or as sauerkraut only once a week may cut your chances of colon cancer by sixty-six percent!
- A single carrot or a half cup of carrots once a day appears to cut the risk of lung cancer at least in half, even among former heavy smokers.
- Two and a half raw medium-size carrots a day have lowered blood cholesterol an average eleven percent.
- Eating citrus foods every day may help guard against certain cancers, notably stomach and pancreatic.
- An extra half cup of kale a day may help prevent cancer. Former smokers, especially, should load up on kale. It may boost your resistance to developing smoking-related cancers down the line.
- Eating only a half cup of spinach a day, according to population surveys, may cut the risk of cancer, especially of the lung, nearly in half.
- An extra half cup of squash or pumpkin a day may lower the risk of lung cancer by half.
- Eating an extra half a cup a day of yams (sweet potatoes) can slash chances of developing lung cancer by about half, even long after you have stopped smoking."
An excellent book to read about diet is John Robbins Diet for a New America. His follow-up book, which includes hundreds of great recipes, is May All Be Fed.
Dietary supplements that help prevent cancer are finally receiving the research support and publicity which they have so rightly deserved for so long. The vitamins include A, especially in the form of beta carotene, C, E, and several of the B vitamins, particularly B6. A few protective minerals are selenium, zinc, and germanium. Some of the many herbs which have been shown to be very helpful for the immune system include echinacea, goldenseal, and astragalus. A couple of the amino acids which improve immune function are arginine and cysteine. Proteolytic and other types of enzymes as well as anti-oxidants have also shown benefit in cancer prevention. One other food supplement for improving immune function is omega-3-fatty acids. This type of fatty acid is found naturally in fish.
Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of a positive mental attitude. Laughter is truly the best medicine. Visualize yourself as healthy and happy. Be healthy and happy. Avoid stress. Find ways to relieve stress and to relax. Build or rebuild your immune system with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Protect and support your immune system. It will support and protect you.