Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest blog: Cancer fighting foods by Kate Flaherty

Welcome to Ask Amy's first guest blog post.  Today Kate Flaherty, Outreach and Awareness Coordinator for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, provides us with insight into Cancer fighting foods.  Kate became passionate about cancer education after losing her grandmother to lung cancer four years ago.  She has especially become interested in complementary methods of treatment such as nutrition and yoga and how they can be beneficial when combined in comprehensive treatment.  To learn more about the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance go to www.mesothelioma.com.  Below is an insight into cancer fighting foods.  Are they in your diet?  Be well everyone.


Cancer Fighting Foods
Nutrition plays a tremendous role both in preventative cancer care and for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. After heart disease (also acutely tied to nutrition), cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States. Luckily we’re learning now that we can take steps to keep cancer at bay and lessen our susceptibility to this difficult disease.

It is now common knowledge that what we eat can help prevent cancer. With cases of skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and mesothelioma on the rise, preventative eating habits have never been more important, and for those already diagnosed with this terrible disease, mesothelioma life expectancy can vastly improve with careful attention to the diet.

Flavonoids--Free radicals are unstable particles that careen around the body, causing damage by stealing electrons from healthy cells. A cell that loses an electron to a free radical becomes a new free radical, and it heads out to steal an electron from another cell, creating an ongoing cycle of destruction. Flavonoids are "anti-oxidants"--they neutralize free radicals and are a group of 6,000 substances that give plants their red, yellow, and orange coloration. Nearly all fruits, vegetables, and herbs/spices contain flavonoids, but especially good sources are berries, apples, onions, pears, tomatoes, black beans, and cabbage.

Folate--One of the B vitamins, folate greatly reduces the risk of DNA mutation, and it is easy to find. Peanuts, most cereals, orange juice, asparagus and Brussels sprouts, spinach and romaine, and beans/peas--all have nice amounts of folate.

Vitamin D—The
American Cancer Society indicates that vitamin D curbs the growth of cancer, and increased intake reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to fifty percent. The best way to get some D is by standing outside in the sun--10 minutes of bright sunlight can provide as much as 5,000 IU of vitamin D. Food-wise, milk and eggs are the most common source, as well as seafoods such as salmon, cod, and shrimp.

The Spice Cabinet--While searching for cancer fighting foods, it can be easy to overlook herbs and spices, but this would be a tragedy. As mentioned, most herbs and spices contain flavonoids, but they do plenty more, and some are quite powerful. Black pepper, mint, turmeric, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, cinnamon, and marjoram are all cancer fighting/cancer preventing herbs, and each has plenty of other beneficial qualities, in addition to a myriad of vitamins and minerals.

Garlic--The heavyweight of the healthy kitchen and often considered a miracle food, garlic can be applied as an antiseptic, it fights/prevents infections internally and cranks up the immune system, and it actually helps to destroy cancer cells. It lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke/heart attack, and it lowers blood sugar. Garlic kills herpes on contact, along with internal parasites, viruses, mold, fungus, bacteria, and viruses. Other members of the Allium family--onions, shallots, chives, and leeks--have the same properties, though generally to a lesser extent.

Ginger--Related to turmeric, ginger kills bacteria, is anti-inflammatory, and it inhibits the growth of cancer cells. It is also a terrific anti-oxidant, and it reduces queasiness associated with chemotherapy.


Garlic- the destroyer of cancer cells

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