If you've been reading my blogs, it will come as no surprise to you that food plays a decisive role in preventing cancer. For people who have been diagnosed with cancer, the same foods that will help you to prevent cancer are the same foods that will help your body stop the progression of this disease and many times reverse the damage.
Research teams have studied different populations eating different diets with different cancer rates. For example, breast cancer was rare in Japan, where traditional diets are based on rice, but breast cancer is very common in North America where diets are based on meat and dairy. However, when fast-food chains and meaty diets invaded Japan, cancer rates soared! Obviously, the people's genes did not change, their diet did, and the changes were dramatic.
So, how does food affect cancer risk? Part of the issue is body fat. As meaty, cheesy diets fatten us up, that extra body fat is not just dormant--it's living tissue--one of it's jobs is to build hormones. The more body fat you have, the more your body produces estrogen, the female hormone that's linked to breast cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research summed up the evidence, showing that if foods fatten you up, your cancer risk rises, but not only for breast cancer, but for uterine cancer also. Extra body fat increases our risk of cancer of the colon, rectum, esophagus, pancreas and kidney too. The good new is that the reverse is true--as we slim down, cancer risk falls.
But, body fat is not the only issue. Even women who are not heavy, but whose diets are high in animal products and low in fiber, tend to have more estrogen in their blood. This is probably why Westernization of the diet in Asian countries have had an increase in cancers. The same goes for men--a meaty, low-fiber diet increases testosterone levels which increases the risk of prostate cancer. And we all know that red meat is linked to colorectal cancer as well as other forms of the disease. This is especially true for processed meats--bacon, sausage, ham, bologna, pepperoni, etc.
Grilled chicken contains carcinogens called heterocyclic amines, linked to breast cancer as well as many other forms of the disease. These carcinogens are found in essentially every grilled chicken sandwich or grilled chicken salad. And, as you will recall, dairy products are linked to prostate cancer--milk drinking men appear to have 30-60% higher risk of prostate cancer than men who avoid milk.
But the food news is not all bad. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are CANCER FIGHTERS. Their healthy fiber that fills you up also helps to protect you against cancer. The same is true for the beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color and the lycopene that gives tomatoes and watermelon their bright red color. They are powerful antioxidants.
So, what this all means is by eliminating meat and dairy from your diet and eating loads of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, not only will the pounds drop off, but you are cutting your risk of all kinds of diseases, including cancer, down to nothing. Remember, eating this way will help you to prevent ANY DISEASE from starting.
What are you waiting for?