One of the first things I did when I found out I had Melanoma was look at what I could do – personally – to improve my odds. I am not a scientist or medical expert, but it doesn’t take much time on the Internet to see that Diet & Lifestyle can greatly impact upon your ability to fight Cancer.
This information isn’t just specific to Malignant Melanoma – but to all Cancer & to a great degree isn’t a bad health approach to take irrespective of a medical diagnosis.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 1/3 of all American cancer deaths might be diet related.
We all eat too much processed foods, don’t take enough exercise & are surrounded by countless chemicals …..the combination of the above is bound to take a medical toll on our bodies.
Cancer is on the increase – Cancer feeds from and grows in cells that are starved of oxygen and then feed on toxins in our body – change the amount of Oxygen in our cells (exercise) and reduce the quantity of Toxins (diet) and the cells become less “Cancer friendly”.
That’s my theory & I am sticking to it….
I found on an Internet Search various lists of Cancer Fighting Superfoods – this list is not exhaustive – there are other lists available – but this is the list that I work from & I have found this quite easy to bring into my diet in greater quantities.
- Green Tea I have put this at the top of my list because it is so important and such as easy change to make – even The Mr now drinks 3 cups of green tea a day! Green Tea contains polyphenols which prevent and reduce the rate at which cancer cells divide.
- Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower & Sprouts – Broccoli especially contains phytochemical sulforaphane : Sulforaphane induces the production of enzymes that have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.
- Kale contains nitrogen compounds that help to prevent certain lesions turning into Cancerous Cells.
- Sweet Potatoes This is another superfood that contains Beta Carontene and various other nutrients that protect the DNA inside a cell from Cancer properties & toxins outside the cell.
- Carrots contain Beta Carotene which it is suggested can reduce a wide range of Cancers. They also contain Falcarinol – this substance has been proven to reduce the rate at which isolated cancer cells grow, but it ceases to work when cooked.
- Mushrooms – not the supermarket standard or button mushrooms : types such as Shiitake, Maitake and Coriolus Versicolor amongst others appear to help the body fight cancer and are renown for helping the immune system. They can also stimulate the natural production of interferon in the body.
- Seaweed and other Sea Vegetables – such as Samphire have extremely high levels of a wide range of vitamins and nutrients – they are a true Superfood.
- Avocados – There are many different health benefits from avocados – they are a good source of Beta carotene, they contain more potassium than Bananas and they contain an anti oxidant that prevents the body absorbing bad fats.
- Chilli Peppers contain capsaicin that can neutralize cancer creating properties.
- Figs apparently have a derivative of benzaldehyde which is thought to be highly effective at shrinking tumors. Not to mention other health benefits including anti bacterial properties & links to weight loss.
- Grapefruits contain higher concentrations of monoterpenes than the other citrus fruits such as oranges, monoterpenes are believed to help prevent cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the body. * Please note there have been several recent studies to advise against consuming grapefruit whilst on Medication of any find*
- Oranges and lemons contain Iimonene which stimulates lymphocytes that are cancer-killing immune cells.
- Red Grapes contain bioflavonoids which are antioxidants that work as cancer preventives. They also contain Resveratol and Ellagic Acid which both have Cancer fighting benefits.
- Red Wine – obviously if Red Grapes are good for you so must be Red Wine – cue a mini party at my house! Red Wine contains Polyphenols which are very potent antioxidents that actually fight Cancer *important to add that alcohol is a carcinogen so go steady on the quantity of red wine, find a low alchohol version or dilute with ice, soda or lemonade (sounds yucky but is delicious & refreshing!)*
- Papayas reduce the bodies’ absorption of cancer causing chemicals found in the soil and in processed foods.
- Rasberries especially Black Rasberries contact even greater antioxidents and anti cancer properties than Blueberries or Strawberries – but these are also extremely worthwhile including in your anti Cancer diets.
- Tomatoes one of the greatest superfoods out there for everyone – not just those fighting Cancer. These contain Lycopene & Vitamin C which are known to fight Cancer cells. Interestingly the concentration levels of these positive properties are increased not decreased by cooking tomatoes – although recent studies show the digestion & absorption of lycopene needs oil. Watermelons, Carrots & Red Peppers contain these properties in lower levels.
- Flax Seeds High in Omega 3 and Lignans – good for Cancer fighting and heart desiese. Also good for fibre which has other important health benefits – we make our own bread & now add Flax seeds in every batch.
- Nuts any Nut is good but particularly Brazil nuts contain antioxidants and good fats that help prevent cancer cells from forming.*although I don’t think the science people include Salted peanuts in this any nut is good mantra!*
- Garlic studies have shown those who consume raw or cooked Garlic daily have significantly reduced the risks of their getting Cancer. Garlic in supplement form has not been proven to have the same effects – yet. Onions,Leeks & Chives that are also part of the allium family are also found to have immune enhancing compounds.
- Rosemary has detoxification enzymes in it – consumed as seasoning or in a steeped tea (I have tried this & steeped the tea for far too long!)
- Tapioca an interesting one on the list of food- tapioca comes from the Cassava plant & it creates a chemical called linamarine, which in turn releases cyanide (I know!!!) which in turn acts as a retrovirus.
- Tumeric is a member of the ginger family (so to a lesser degree Ginger is also very good for you) – The science bit is that turmeric inhibits inflammation causing chemicals in the body that are known to cause Cancer.
- Soy Products – at this point I have to confess I tried Soya Milk & personally think it is the work of the devil – yuk yuk yuk….but I am happy to have Tofu in stir fries. Soy contains something called genistein which is one of the most potent inhibitors of the growth of cancer – unfortunately so much of the soy & soy products we get now are genetically modified for mass production many of the original properties might be lost in the process – go organic on this one if you can – and don’t eat too much soy as there are other surveys that say eating too much can have an opposite effect .
Exercise – when I am physically able I try to do at least 30 minutes Cardio every day for 5 days a week. The exercise oxygenates the cells – cancer feeds on cells that are starved of oxygen. Exercise & activity also reduce Insulin levels in our blood & high levels of insulin can get the body to tell itself to multiply cells to combat the insulin levels.
Organic Fruit & Vegatables
This comes back to chemicals again – the higher & greater the concentration of chemicals & additives in our food the greater the risk. If you cannot afford to buy organic vegetables, grow your own – if this isn’t an option then at the very least wash everything thoroughly.
Spring or Filtered Water
In my online research I have found that the water we drink & cook with is so loaded with Chemicals that it is potentially harmful – I will cover the water topic in more detail on my blog but in the mean time if funds permit try and drink fresh spring water.
If this isn’t an option then invest in a water filter and pop it in the fridge – it won’t take out everything but it will help to filter & clean the tap water you are about to drink & make it nice and cold at the same time!