Thursday, July 08, 2010

Surprising foods to prevent cancer....

Today's Post: Thursday, 7-8-2010

Most people know that eating broccoli helps to prevent cancer. Many people have heard that most of the foods in the cruciferous vegetable group broccoli is in prevent cancer.

Some of you have read in our previous posts that eating raw broccoli once or more every week was found to cut the incidence of the really dangerous kind of prostate cancer that kills people by more than half.

But, if you read those posts, you may remember that eating raw cauliflower also did that well or even a touch better at preventing aggressive prostate cancer cutting its incidence a bit more than half.

Needless to say, cancer is something most of us want to completely avoid; but we can use all the help we can get.

For example, in my family there is a history of prostate cancer though not the aggressive kind as far as I know.

Also before I knew better and even as a kid when few people knew better I’ve been exposed to tobacco smoke a good bit even though that is no longer true.

And, I am exposed to many of the chemicals now run amok in our lives that are not that safe.

So, clearly it would pay me and most of us to eat as many cancer preventing foods as possible.

The really nice thing about the other foods I’ve found that prevent cancer is they almost all are low in calories and high in nutrition and fiber, so they make staying or getting free of excess fat easy.

The more of them you eat, the less fat you will wear and the better cancer protection you’ll have.

I’ve been reading the book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by David Servan-Schreiber. (It’s available on Amazon & is current so may also be at your local bookstore. I found it recently at Keplers in Menlo Park.)

If you want to prevent or get rid of cancer, the book is a gold mine. He has researched almost everything you can do besides medical treatment that actually has real evidence it works.

He found, for example, that the same eating changes that prevent heart disease also prevent cancer:

Completely avoiding omega 6 oils, hydrogenated oils, and refined grains; only eating whole grains moderately or less; either only eating meat from animals fed only grass or pasture fed OR eating the grain fed stuff sparingly and trimming as much of the fat as possible --- ALL cut back on the massively excessive intake of omega 6 oils that have jumped into the modern diet in the last 100 years. Such massive doses of these in our bodies which are NOT evolved to handle them, cause inflammation which in turn causes heart disease AND the author found tends to cause or worsen cancers. They also lower your HDL cholesterol which adds to your heart disease risk.

You can also ingest more of the foods that counterbalance the omega 6 oils, the omega 3 oils by eating wild caught fish (farmed is toxic) and which are low in mercury &/or you can take purified fish oil omega 3 supplements.

Third, you can use extra virgin olive oil to replace the omega 6 oils. Olive oil tends to lower LDL, increase HDL – both heart protective and is an oil that’s close to free of omega 6.

This post is about all the foods you can do IN ADDITION to those three steps.

In his book, in the “action” section in the middle, he lists a large number of vegetables that tend to help prevent colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.

Yes, broccoli and cauliflower DO rank high. But in his list, several foods including some you might have never guessed would be there actually ranked higher!

The best one of the cruciferous vegetables listed was Brussels sprouts! They were close to the number one food –NOT broccoli. Green cabbage was also very high. Savoy cabbage and kale were also very high.

Red cabbage was listed; but it was not quite as strong a cancer fighter as the others.

Also, four foods you may never have dreamed would be on his list ranked up with Brussels sprouts:

garlic, onions, scallions – aka green onions, and leeks!

These foods also help protect your heart and are a very effective way to spice up food that does not use salt. And, you can also take de-odorized garlic as a supplement if you want the health benefit without the effects on your breath. (Kyolic is the brand most health food stores carry.)

I do some of each myself.

In a separate place in the book, he also lists eating mushrooms and notes that the inexpensive button mushrooms work. He lists green tea, particularly Japanese green tea.

One study he quotes even found that in women who ate mushrooms and drank green tea every day had an 89% lower chance of getting breast cancer than women who did neither.

Here again, you can buy mushroom supplements. But those are a bit pricey. Adding button mushrooms to your salad or casserole dish a few times a week is likely close to as good for you, gives you a super low cal food to eat, and is a LOT cheaper.

Whole Foods Markets sells the Choice line of organic, Japanese green tea. And, NOW supplements makes an inexpensive green tea extract supplement. I use both. They wake you up without overdoing it as coffee can and have an even better track record for protecting your heart than their cancer preventing one.

Though his book doesn’t stress it as much, it is known that cooked tomatoes eaten with extra virgin olive oil deliver a LOT of the carotenoid, lycopene that helps prevent prostate cancer and may help prevent other cancers. So, tomato sauces that contain cooked or pureed tomatoes, garlic (&/or onion), and extra virgin olive oil are unusually protective. (You can also take 30 mg a day of lycopene as a supplement.)

He does say that eating curried foods that combine turmeric in the curry, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil makes the cancer preventing turmeric as much as 50 times more bioavailable as taking curcumin supplements does.

Eating such curried foods is known to not only prevent many cancers, it also is one of the best ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Eating a Mediterranean diet* and emphasizing these foods is already known to help prevent cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Eat many of these kinds of foods every week, and you’ll be in better health and live far longer than those who do not.

*(Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, cooked tomato dishes, lots of vegetables, and hardly any grain fed meat and no junk food are the key aspects of a Mediterranean diet. The other part, drinking red wine with meals in moderation, is more of a stress reliever and heart attack preventer.)

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