Ways You Can Decrease Your Risk of Cancer

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on June 20th, 2012

Hello All!

I just finished my course in nutrition as a healing modality to prevent cancer! The first paragraph gets a little sciencey, so if you’re not up to it-basically, antioxidants are the main thing that will encourage your body to run more smoothly. At the bottom, I include foods high in antioxidants and foods that will lower inflammation-another contributing factor to cancer.

Inflammation, glycemic dysregulation (blood sugar issues), detoxification (when this normal function in the body goes haywire) and oxidative stress all contribute in creating an environment in your body that will welcome cancer cells to multiply and thrive. Basically, a key player in preventing cancer is minimizing oxidative stress on the body. Oxidative stress, by definition, is used to describe oxidative damage in a cell tissue or organ caused by free radicals. Oxidative is describing oxygen, which is also known as O2 in the chemical world. That “2” denotes the 2 unpaired electrons (parts of the oxygen molecule that want to pair up-or bond with other molecules). These free electrons are called free radicals. They are boundless entities that can disrupt your cell’s normal functioning and damage cells and tissues. They do this by pairing up with random cells in your body that then have trouble carrying out their specific tasks or communicating with the appropriate cells. The way to counter oxidative stress is to have plenty of antioxidants (found in fruits and veggies!). The antioxidants bond with the oxidants to neutralize them, so they can be carried out with the rest of the waste. We will focus on oxidative stress today.

Oxidative stress can be created by these factors:

~Excessive exercise (this does not mean exercise is bad-it means to always counter balance it with enough antioxidants)
~Physiologic stress (chronic mental stress, insomnia)
~Antioxidant depletion (Alcohol, drugs (both recreational and prescription), caffeine, smoking)
~Cofactor deficiency (usually enzymes that are “helper molecules” that assist in biochemical transformations)
~Processed foods high in sugar
~Cooking methods: deep fried foods, charcoal grilling (or anytime your food is blackened)
~Energy production: anytime the body needs extra energy-pushing through the day
~Eating past the point of being satiated (high caloric meals)

European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is the largest study to date, that looked at the direct effects nutrition has on disease prevention. There were over 500,000 participants, men and women, from ten European countries. They were diagnosed with low-risk cancer and opted out of treatment. Instead they volunteered to be a part of this study. There were just four variables:


~No smoking

~Basal Metabolic Rate (BMI) of less than 30 (slightly overweight, but not obese)

~Exercise 3.5 hours a week

~Consuming high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and very little meat


The results:


~78% lower risk of chronic disease

~93% lower risk of Diabetes Mellitus

~81% lower risk of Myocardial Infarction

~50% lower risk of stroke

~36% lower risk of cancer

This shows that a plant-based diet of 80% or higher can greatly reduce your chances of developing cancer. The rest is stress management, reducing inflammation, getting enough rest etc.

Since last week, I went on a little long, I will try and shorten this by ending with two of Dr. Jeanne Wallace’s top 10 lists.

Top Ten Foods to Modify Gene Expression (fight cancer)

  1. Spices (combinations: curry, chai)
  2. Broccoli sprouts, brassica vegetables
  3. Dark leafy greens (folate)
  4. Garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots
  5. parsley, celery, red pepper (luteolin)
  6. Boiled peanuts, red grapes, wine (resveratrol)
  7. Red onions, capers (quercetin)
  8. Green tea
  9. Fish, eggs, cheese, sunflower seeds (animal products must be free of hormones and additives)
  10. asparagus, almonds (B-vitamins)

Top Ten Foods to Reduce Inflammation

  1. Spices (especially curry, ginger, garlic, parsley)
  2. Wild, cold-water fish
  3. Grass-fed (pastured) meat, dairy, eggs
  4. Hot peppers
  5. Olive oil
  6. Leafy green veggies (spinach, chard, kale)
  7. Cruciferous vegetables
  8. Pumplin, butternut squash, yam, carrot
  9. Dark chocolate (flavanols)
  10. Berries (blueberries, cherries, raspberries)

So we talked about oxidative stress and mentioned inflammation. Getting regular acupuncture will also help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. It also boosts the body’s overall immunity. Try and reduce your shopping down the isles. Eat as many whole foods (unprocessed, straight from the source) as possible. Get plenty of rest, and you should be good to go! The main thing to take away is there are ways we contribute to our health in positive and negative ways. Do all you can on the positive side of things. Life is to be enjoyed. It will be easier to enjoy if we feel well.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Check out a farmer’s market. Till next time, be well.

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