Many people have lost a family member, loved one, or friend to cancer. I know I have…4 people to be exact. It is devastating, to say the least, and leaves you feeling helpless -- but are we really?
No. There are numerous scientific studies that document the protective anti-cancer benefits of nutrient-dense plant foods (Fuhrman 7). Cancer is often unpredictable, but there have been a number of recoveries in patients who were told they didn’t have much time left to live (Fuhrman 31).
Yet many of us were never taught about our body’s nutritional needs. The standard american diet (SAD) consists of a high amount of animal products and processed foods, and a low amount of fruits and vegetables, leaving our bodies nutrient-deprived and calorie laden. This leads to cravings and eating more food more often.
The foundation for most diseases that afflict us today (including cancer) is based on milk, cheese, meat, pasta, fried foods, and sugary drinks and desserts (Fuhrman 3). Plant-derived phytochemicals are necessary to help our cells function to their fullest potential for repair, maintenance, detoxification, and free radical control. Preventing cancer is much easier than trying to cure it. It is up to each individual to improve the quality of his/her diet if we are going to win the war against cancer. But, how can we do that? Let’s take a look at some positive things we can do to assist our bodies and build a strong immune system.
- Vegetables should make up the largest part of your diet (not fruit), including raw salads and lightly steamed vegetables. Cooked mushrooms (especially shitake, maitake, morels, trumpet, porcini, enoki, oyster, and chantelelles) are a great addition to your diet, as they contain phytochemicals that have been linked to decreasing the occurrence of cancer (Fuhrman 33). Cooking green vegetables with tomatoes, garlic, scallions, and mushrooms also offers anti-cancer benefits (Fuhrman 33).
- Sprouts, especially broccoli, are concentrated sources of phytochemicals and micronutrients. Broccoli sprouts contain a very powerful isothiocyanate called sulforaphane, (learn how to grow your own sprouts here) and are a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches, and veggie roll-ups.
- Consume large amounts of leafy greens in your salads or as a base for chili or bean soups. Choose from spinach, romaine, kale, collards, arugula, watercress, chard, red cabbage, bok choy, and Chinese cabbage. Leafy greens and sprouts, eaten with a light nut or seed-based dressing, can increase the absorption of the micronutrients from your salad.You can also put some greens and fruit in a blender to make a green smoothie.
- Drink freshly made vegetable juice 1-2 times daily. Make it with organic carrots, beets, tomatoes, and greens such as collards, kale, cabbage, or wheat grass.
- Eat beans (especially darker, reddish colored ones) which contain resistant starch. This starch gets degraded by bacteria and forms short chain fatty acids that offer prevention against colon cancer.
- Eat fruit as your only sweet food. If you are eating the whole fruit with the skin, buy organic.
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, red and black grapes, cherries, red apples, and pomegranates have high free radical-absorptive capacity. Enjoy fruit for breakfast by adding it to a green smoothie, whipping up a sorbet (in a high powered blender), or grabbing a handful of blueberries and raspberries.
- Eat raw nuts, seeds, and avocado as your only type of fat. If you are trying to lose weight, consume 1-2 ounces of nuts/seeds and one half of an avocado per day. Nuts and seeds contain fiber, sterols, and antioxidants. Plant sterols have been found to have powerful anti-cancer effects.
A nutrient-dense diet contains many delicious foods that will keep your body satiated and healthy. The earlier you start a plant-based diet, the better, as the benefits can increase as you age. Let's get started....why wait?
Dr. Fuhrman's Group Start Program, Preventing Cancer with Diet, Chapter 11