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Implications of Diet and Nutrition in Cancer

Implications of Diet and Nutrition in Cancer

Thoughts on diet and nutrition for cancer generally

In dealing with a diagnosis of cancer, it is generally agreed that diet can be a major influence. Perhaps a simple rule is best, albeit difficult, to follow in a daily routine and that is the rule of consuming only whole foods. Whole foods are those made up of only themselves. No combinations such as in cake, biscuits and bread for example. Single, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and unprocessed meats. Foods packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. We have been after all, (probably) used to a diet of eating pretty much what ever we wanted and when we wanted. Is this then, one of the many reasons, that we have arrived at this sorry place?

To get the best nutrient efficiency now, the rules have to change. Some foods are going to be “in” our daily routine, and some will have to, necessarily, be dropped. The things that we eat vary in their capacity to support our immune systems by being nutrient and mineral and vitamin rich, and some foods, including manufactured foods contain no such benefits (or at least so few that it actually costs the immune system, energy to process them). Many foods today are constructed with natural carcinogens, such as smoked or pickled goods that exacerbate colon cancer and bowel cancer in particular. Others have carcinogens called pro-carcinogens such as saccharin or artificial colors, nitrates and nitrites. Some fats and deep fried foods are particularly unhelpful, but the risk can be augmented through supplementation of such vitamin and minerals as vitamin D and calcium.

Naturally, it goes without saying that cigarette smoke should be avoided and yes, unfortunately for some, alcohol and sugary drinks are out as well. There is enough research available today to make us all aware that cigarette smoke is carcinogenic and certainly will not allow us to heal from cancer

Lifestyle changes required

At first the changes asked for, appear to be overwhelming and it is quite natural for people to say such things as “I can’t possibly go with out my smokes and a drink after work. I’d rather be dead.” Well, they probably will be well on their way towards achieving their wishes unless some changes often drastic changes, are made. Of course it is hard! Of course it’s a push! But what is it that we’re striving for here? We’re not trying to gain a glittering prize. We’re not trying to enhance our fortune or buy a new car – we’re trying to live! This is life! We’re throwing ourselves on the mercy of God’s court and asking for life! Extended life maybe. Fore-shortened a few years, maybe, but life with our family, our wives and husbands and partners. Life extended with our children and their children. Surely we can eat vegetables to achieve that? Surely the fruits we eat now, will taste, just that much better in the knowledge it supports our life’s unity? Why wouldn’t we take responsibility for our extended life when it means so much?

There are many causes of cancer and rarely just a single cause of cancer and these occur internally and externally, but primarily, change occurs to the cell’s DNA. Most would agree, no doubt, that it is a multi faceted occurrence, with poor lifestyle choices, including diet as one of those many layers. It makes sense then, to put into practice, those changes we can immediately effect and diet is one such option. No one is saying that one particular type of food is a cause, and no one particular food is a cure, simply that some help and others hinder.

Among the foods that hinder are hormonally treated meat such as in some poultry, pork and beef. Some foods have been irradiated and other sprayed with carcinogenic sprays, ethalyine dibromide being one. Fresh is best, try to obtain locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid bruised or mouldy foods.

Some studies have indicated that high insulin levels may be a factor in poor cancer survival. The growth hormone IGF-1 which is increased due to a high body mass index, lack of exercise or high stress levels and cancer, have been linked in several studies. Most of us recognize those foods that encourage the production of insulin, high starch, high sugar, breads, cakes, biscuits and even potatoes. Yes, even the good old spud in all it’s forms, give it the flick, at least for now.

Diet and supplements

So what can be eaten? In a word, whole foods, but more importantly, foods that are known to active in cancer prevention, such as cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, wheat sprouts lettuce and spinach. Brussels sprouts are particularly good for protection from breast cancer, lung cancer and bowel cancers. Most berries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries are perfect foods. Some fruits, such as green apples and pineapple.

It can be seen from this list, which is in no way exhaustive, that the common denominator is a high nutritional content. Supplementation of vitamins such as A, C, and E and bioflavonoid is recommended in many cases, but also the correct combination of certain foods. Take advice from a nutritionist or naturopath here and be guided by their expert opinion. We included ginger, mint leaf and wheat sprouts in our daily diet regime as well as the dietary changes that I have indicated, most are still in my daily routine. For a time, I increased fibre intake through the consumption of old fashioned grains such as oats. I was guided here by my naturopath and biologist friend, Bill Giles who encouraged a diet free from grains entirely.

“Lectin proteins are the only other major chemical group that occurs in all types of grains, and is involved with immune defence. It is probable that our immune system expends resources to inactivate this protein, and when we are chronically ill, we need all the immune resources we can muster to overcome pathogens and/or disruptive chemicals that may be contributing to our illness.” (Giles 2000)

We added garlic and onion to our diet and supplemented with acidophilus fibre and lactobacillus. Some studies I noted, advise that a supplementation of iodine reduces the risk of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers. To this day, we include, cold pressed, organic flax seed oil in our diet. Make sure that the flax seed oil that you purchase, has been refrigerated and stored out of the sunlight.

I still use the marvelous mixture called Swedish Bitters, foul tasting, but in my opinion, good for everything, especially enhancing the body’s ability to manufacture digestive enzymes.

There is terrific discussion surrounding the use of Soy. I have no advice to offer on the subject except to say that we used it and I still do occasionally and have consumed it now for nearly two decades with no apparent side effects. Ask your nutritionist and be guided by them. Increasing the intake of soy products increases the intake of isoflavones.

Curcumin (in Turmeric) enhances the action of isoflavones. Eat button, shitake, Reishe and Maitake mushrooms, Brussell sprouts, broccoli, green apples, apricots and cherries, Roma tomato, pink grapefruit and watermelon which is rich in lycopene which works against breast and prostate cancers. Supplement with pancreatic enzymes.

Consume 1 Table spoon of flax oil combined well with 2 table spoons of cottage cheese (or quark) per (23 kg or)50lb./body weight /day (Allan 2001) This is an recipe known as the Budwig Diet, used in the traditional and alternate treatment of cancer, developed by Doctor Johana Budwig in the early part of last century. Google it and judge for yourself.

These changes were made to assist Donna (http://www.cancercauseandeffect.com) to manage her Liver cancer, but the type of cancer makes little difference in my opinion and I know people who have breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach and prostate cancer and many other types of immune illnesses including heart disease, who have all benefited from making changes to their lifestyle and eating habits. You have a great deal to lose and a tremendous amount to gain.

I am John Allan, until next time, good luck and may your God watch over you.


Cancer Cause & Effect.. Allan. Ginninderra Press. 2001
No More Chronic Fatigue. Giles. NIBM. 2000.