The word “Cancer” is one of the scariest words in our language, and while it may seem like that word often carries a death sentence with it, many people have overcome some of the deadliest cancers by making drastic diet and lifestyle changes.
How you live and what you choose to put in your body has a direct effect on whether you get cancer and whether you can survive cancer.
Cancer will affect, on average, one out of three us in our lifetime. Keeping this information in mind can be a powerful tool to manage one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
There are many factors that figure into the causes of different types of cancer, and there are many unknowns as well.
But we do know one thing: what a person eats, or doesn’t eat, can dramatically change the outcome and course of this grim disease.
We may not always hear about them, but there are countless stories of end-stage cancer survivors who recovered from cancer by changing their diet. In fact a book called “The Cure is in the Kitchen” details the day-to-day diet and recovery of cancer patients.
Cancer studies show that most cancers are related to dietary deficiencies, so it is safe to assume that a positive change in a cancer patient’s diet can help dramatically in the recovery process. In fact, many patients claim that changing their nutritional habits have played an enormous role in their recovery.
Fighting Cancer with Diet
Getting a diagnosis of cancer can certainly cause one to totally re-evaluate lifestyle choices and diet.
While diet and lifestyle have a direct effect on whether someone will get cancer, what about diet and lifestlye changes after a cancer diagnosis?
Is it too late? No, according to research.
Does a person’s diet after a diagnosis of cancer affect survival? Absolutely.
Oddly enough, there have not been that many studies that show how diet affects cancer survival, after diagnosis, even though this is one of the lifestyle changes that can have the most dramatic effect on whether one lives or dies.
One extensive study examined diet after a breast cancer diagnosis and survival of women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study. In this study, almost 2,000 women who had developed breast cancer were followed for an average of 13 years.
A little more than half (1,200) of these women had breast cancer that had not metastasized (spread to other organs or the lymph nodes). Women in this group who ate the largest amounts of poultry, total protein, and omega-3 fatty acids (from oils found in grass fed meats and fish) had significantly lower risk of death than women who ate the least amounts of these foods and nutrients. Women who ate more fiber, fish, and vegetables also had a lower risk of death than women who ate less of these food and nutrients.
And another important finding: the type of fats these women ate made a big difference. Those who ate processed vegetable seed oils or hydrogenated oils had a higher rate of death.
For the 745 women whose cancer had metastasized, those who ate more protein and calcium had a lower rate of death.
Most importantly, in a study of 3,500 patients with breast cancer or ovarian cancer, the results show that a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates contributed to tumor growth and spread, while a diet of healthy protein, animal products healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber lowers the risk of cancer.
The effect of diet after cancer diagnosis is an area of research that begs for more research. The results of these studies are not all that surprising.
In fact, some foods or nutrients were associated with as much as a 50% decrease in the risk of death! If these results prove to be correct, they are significant, as dietary and lifestyle changes even after a cancer diagnosis if fully within your control.
While cancer rates climb, traditional medical science looks at more expensive, high tech treatments such as gene therapy, and more advanced cancer-killing drugs. But there is no magic cure.
We each need to educate and arm ourselves with the knowledge to treat and heal ourselves without further damaging our bodies. Although it is far easier to prevent cancer than to reverse it once it has taken hold, it can be reversed with diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Think about this: conventional cancer treatments kill cells and weaken the immune system while ignoring the underlying causes. Diet and alternative therapy not only works on strengthening the body and immune promote healing while also addressing underlying causes and deficiencies.
The natural decision, it seems, would be to side with alternative therapies, or at least some (medically-directed) combination of alternative therapy and conventional medical treatment.
A healthy diet is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health. This includes plenty of organic fresh vegetables and fruit, organic grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, and raw dairy products, and eliminating sugars and refined foods entirely.
The following are guidelines, but they are only part of a comprehensive holistic plan that a health care provider should be following.
Most importantly, the highest quality nutrition and pure water are critical. In mine and many others opinion, diet alone can make or break cancer treatment and is the most strategic and important of all therapies. Look at it this way–what you put in your body will either help it, and strengthen it, or make things worse. A knowledge of which foods will feed cancer cells and which ones will starve cancer cells is vital to the healing process.
Avoid Sugar in all Forms
First off, it is important to note that any kind of sugar, or food that raises the blood level of glucose, will feed cancer cells and should be the first dietary ingredient that is eliminated. That includes high glycemic foods such as: sucrose, fructose, and glucose; any grain products such as bread, crackers, cookies, energy bars, pasta, etc., and grains such as corn and popcorn. Cancer cells feed on glucose in the body, and a low-glycemic diet will virtually starve out cancer cells. This is vital!
Sugar substitutes such as Splenda, Nutrasweet and Equal, refined flours, and trans fatty acids also wreak havoc on the body, and numerous studies have linked them to cancers. Even natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup (also sugars) should also be restricted while cancer remains active. However, the herb stevia is a safe sweetener, since it does not raise blood glucose levels or stimulate an insulin response. Stevia can usually be found in the supplement aisle of health food stores.
Get Rid of Processed or Packaged Foods
Any processed foods and packaged foods—even if it came from the natural foods aisle—sweetened carbonated drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, (all high glycemic) will strengthen cancer cells and interfere with the healing process. Pasteurized dairy products should also be avoided, as they can contribute to allergies and asthma, and actually decrease immune function in the process, since the body will be fighting off allergenic substances instead performing its primary job of fighting cancer.
Think of the body fighting off cancer in a similar way that it fights off a bacterial or viral illness. The body’s ability to fight cancer is a function of the immune system, so anything natural that strengthens the immune system will allow it to kill cancer cells more readily.
Healthy Protein is Essential
Some cancer-preventative diets recommend avoidance of meat (usually due to the hormones, toxins and antibiotics in conventional meat). However, depending on the type of cancer, the best choice is to eat organic, grass-fed, naturally raised beef, lamb, rabbit, or goat; as well as naturally raised chicken and wild-caught fish.
These meats are not only high in essential body-building proteins, B vitamins, iron, and zinc, but they also contain high amounts of healing, cancer fighting omega 3 fats, as well as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), known cancer-fighting nutrients.
Commercially raised meats are full of toxic, cancer-promoting substances including omega 6 fatty acids, tumor producing growth hormones, antibiotics, and a host of other poisonous substances.
One of the big concerns in cancer treatment is metastasis, the process by which tumor cells spread from the primary location to distant parts of the body.
Healing Fats vs. Carcinogenic Fats
Metastasis is increased by a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids (i.e., canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, or any other vegetable seed oil), but is inhibited by omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in grass fed meats, fatty fish, and walnuts.
In studies using an immune-deficient mouse implanted with human breast cancer, researchers found that feeding a high omega 3 diet to the mice significantly reduced human breast cancer cell metastasis to the regional lymph nodes and lungs. This indicates the significant beneficial effects of omega 3 oil supplementation in cancer treatment.
Omega 3 supplementation may be of benefit in cancer chemotherapy as well. By using a human breast cancer model, they found that feeding the animals a high omega 3 diet, both slowed the tumor growth, and increased the tumor responsiveness to chemotherapy drugs by altering the drug activating systems. They also found that omega 3’s can significantly protect the host animals against the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs.
Healthy fats are essential. Grass-fed meats as well as wild-caught fatty fishes such as salmon and halibut contain high amounts of omega 3’s, which are vital to healthy cell function and immune function.
Unpasteurized, raw dairy products, rich in saturated fats and containing large amounts of CLA are recommended–but again–avoid commercially raised and pasteurized dairy, which is full of tumor-promoting growth hormones and pesticides, as well as antibiotics, and other toxins.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is one of the most potent cancer-fighting fats. In fact animal studies show as little as 0.5 percent CLA in the diet could reduce tumors by over 50 percent. Along with being a cancer fighter, CLA helps the body to burn its own fat better.
In animal studies, very small amounts of CLA have blocked all three stages of cancer: 1) initiation, 2) promotion, and 3) metastasis. Most anti-cancer agents block only one of these stages. What’s more, CLA has slowed the growth of an unusually wide variety of tumors, including cancers of the skin, breast, prostate, and colon.
Human CLA research is in its infancy, but a few studies have suggested that CLA may have similar benefits in people. A recent survey determined that women with the most CLA in their diets had a 60 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
Where do you get CLA? Many people take a synthetic version that is widely promoted as a diet aid and muscle builder. New research shows that the type of CLA in the pills may have some potentially serious side effects, including promoting insulin resistance, raising glucose levels (bad for cancer), and reducing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Few people realize that CLA is also found in nature, and this natural form does not have any known negative side effects. The most abundant source of natural CLA is the meat and dairy products of grass fed animals.
Research conducted since 1999 shows that grazing animals have about 5 times more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Simply switching from grain fed to grass fed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA.
Powerful Plant Foods
Virtually all plant foods contain vital nutrients and antioxidants that aid in the healing process, as well as helping to eliminate toxins from the body.
However, it is vitally important to eat only organic fresh fruits and vegetables if at all possible. Pesticides and toxins in commercially grown vegetables are poisons that can build up in the body’s tissues and encourage growth of cancer cells, while creating a toxic load that weakens the immune system.
While all plant foods contain nutrients that fight cancer and strengthen the immune system, particular herbs, fruits and vegetables have properties that protect against and inhibit the growth and spread of cancer while strengthening, cleansing, and repairing the body. These include leafy dark greens, such as arugula, spinach, chard, baby greens, mache and romaine lettuce, as well as cilantro, parsley and watercress.
Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, horseradish, mustard, capers, cress, rutabaga, arugula, and turnips, are also high in cancer-fighting phytochemicals, especially the sprouts from these vegetables.
Lab research on cruciferous vegetables shows that they contain a group of sulfurous constituents – called glucosinolates which, when consumed, break down into byproducts fight the growth of cancers in the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver, colon, and cervix.
Other healing and cancer-fighting plant foods include: sea vegetables such as edible seaweeds, berries, including: acai, goji berries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and dark red or purple grapes–with seeds and skins, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and green tea, among many others.
Pancreatic Enzymes Fight Tumors
Dr. Gonzalez, a New York based physician who has had incredible results treating so-called “untreatable cancers” with an alternative approach, and a specialized dietary regimen, also recommends using pancreatic enzymes in cancer treatment.
In a nutshell, his theory is that pancreatic enzymes are the body’s main defense against cancer and are useful as a cancer treatment. Pancreatic enzymes have been shown to have tumor-dissolving abilities.
Dr. Gonzalez, who is trained in immunology, uses special diets, aggressive supplementation with nutrients and enzymes, and detoxification methods, including coffee enemas, “to enhance liver function and aid in the processing and excretion of metabolic wastes.” These, he believes, contribute to the body’s ability to destroy tumors.
It’s best to aim for a cancer-fighting diet that is 80% raw, if at all possible. This will help to insure an alkaline environment as well as an ample supply of live and active enzymes for the healing process.
Effective healing not only requires a healthy, clean diet but also helping the body get rid of accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes. It’s very beneficial to begin your healing regimen with purification and cleanse of the kidneys, liver and colon to remove stored toxins.
The Value of Sleep and Melatonin
Deep, restful sleep is an important part of an effective healing strategy. During sleep our bodies undergo the processes of rebuilding, detoxifying and healing.
The liver works during the deepest level of sleep, the delta level, to break down and eliminate carcinogens. Additionally, sleeping in complete darkness contributes to healthy levels of melatonin, a powerful antioxidant hormone secreted by the pineal gland that promotes restful sleep, strengthens the immune system and aids the body’s other hormones. Melatonin can be taken safely as a supplement. There is highly credible evidence that melatonin mitigates cancer at the initiation, progression and metastasis phases.
Other lifestyle changes include sunlight exposure and daily exercise. Research links lack of sunlight to certain cancers, and vitamin D from sunlight has been shown to shrink tumors. Adequate exposure during the midday hours is the best way to obtain the restorative benefits of sunlight.
However, remember to avoid sunscreens, as many sunscreens actually contain toxic chemicals that are absorbed through the skin. Eating a diet high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids will actually help protect your skin from the inside out.
Regular exercise speeds up the elimination of toxins and is necessary to keep the body oxygenated and to improve lymphatic function while building immunity. These therapeutic benefits can be achieved through moderate exercise at least three times per week and gradually increasing duration and/or intensity as new thresholds are reached.
Developing a positive attitude will reduce psychological stress and profoundly aid the healing process. Studies in cell biology show that a positive attitude actually affects cell function! A cancer survivor can achieve this in part by becoming proactive through researching alternative options. This is an empowering strategy and gives one a better sense of control. There are many good books and websites that outline alternative cancer therapies. One of many extensive sites and a good place to begin research is (www.cancertutor.com) .
Each individual has the power to control their own thoughts and attitudes, thereby creating their reality. A constructive outlook perceives a cancer diagnosis as a necessary life-changing event and an opportunity to transform one’s life. Happiness and optimism are learned traits and can be a part of one’s outlook through conscious practice.
Spirituality is the third aspect of the holistic paradigm and refers to our sense of peace. It doesn’t mean one needs to suddenly join a religion, but instead, it involves settling unresolved conflicts, forgiving and asking forgiveness, liberating toxic emotions such as anger, bitterness, hatred, resentment, regret, and fear, while embracing our capacity for love, compassion and joy. Spiritual cleansing is a process that can be achieved through various means, including meditation, affirmations, visualization and/or prayer.
Preventing and healing cancer requires the following:
1. The Highest Quality Organic and Naturally-Raised Nutrition
2. Pure Water
3. Aiding the body in Detoxification
4. Strengthening the Immune System
5. Adequate sleep, fresh air, sunlight (vitamin D), and exercise
6. A Positive Attitude
8. Spiritual and Emotional Cleansing
These strategies should be embraced by the cancer survivor as permanent lifestyle changes. Occasional diversions happen, but one should try not to lose focus.
Although it may at times be difficult to remain faithful to the holistic protocol, its benefits over conventional treatments are beyond measure.
Furthermore, the regimen becomes increasingly rewarding once healing begins and measurable results are achieved. This holistic protocol creates a physical, emotional and spiritual environment that simply will not support cancer.