The Anti-Cancer Kitchen
There are many delicious, satisfying and nutritious foods that help defend the body against the invasion of cancer by reducing inflammation, detoxifying, boosting the immune system, inhibiting tumor growth and/ or promoting the destruction of cancer cells.
TUMERIC is considered the most powerful anti-inflammatory for countering cancer. It also stimulates apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells and inhibits angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels from preexisting blood vessels). It’s imperative that turmeric be mixed with black pepper to be assimilated by the body. A combination of ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1½ teaspoons of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper can be tossed with vegetables, grain dishes or salads of baby kale or spinach.
GINGER is another powerful anti-inflammatory and inhibitor of angiogenesis. A ginger infusion tea helps alleviate nausea from chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
GARLIC is one of the oldest medicinal herbs. Garlic, onions and leeks promote apoptosis and regulate blood sugar levels, reducing insulin secretion and the growth of cancer cells. Garlic is more easily assimilated if crushed and combined with some oil.
CRUCIFORM VEGETABLES such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower contain sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinols, which detoxify, prevent precancerous cells from developing into malignant tumors, promote apoptosis andblock angiogenesis. Light steaming or quick stir frying are recommended to avoid destroying the anti-cancer phytonutrients. Cauliflower can be riced and topped with turmeric-seasoned vegetables.
ORANGE VEGETABLES such as carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin contain vitamin A and lycopene which inhibit the growth of cells in brain gliomas and other cancers. Other phytonutrients in these kinds of vegetables stimulate the growth of immune cells and improve their ability to attack tumor cells.
GREEN JUICE DRINKS are a key component of the wellknown Gerson Therapy nutritional program for cancer patients. This requires a juicer appliance, which will extract the nutrient-rich juice from a blend of leafy greens and fruits. For example, a flavorful juice can be derived from a blend of dandelion greens, spinach, cilantro, celery, cucumber and anti-inflammatory lemon, pineapple and ginger.
BERRIES contain ellagic acid and many other anti-cancer polyphenols. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries can be combined into a fruit salad or served atop hot oatmeal.
PROTEIN is the only category of food that provides nitrogen which is essential to life; therefore, cells require protein to function. If there is a deficiency of protein, cancer cells will steal it from muscle. Wasting muscle accounts for a large part of the weight loss in cancer patients. It is important for cancer patients to consult with a nutritionist or naturopath to determine an adequate amount and type of protein to address the patient’s age, metabolism, body type and type of cancer. Processed meats are best avoided, as they contain nitrates and other chemical preservatives that are tied to colon cancer.
BONE BROTH is a good source of protein, nutrients and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, marrow and collagen, and it supports a healthy immune system. Cancer patients that undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation often experience a range of issues that impact eating. Bone broth is easy to swallow and easily digested. A cup of broth can be very comforting. Broth can be used as a base for soup of cancer-fighting vegetables and enhanced with herbs and spices for flavor.
Making bone broth is a multi-step process that can be time-consuming. Instead, look to locally based Five Way Foods Bone Broth that, unlike a box of broth derived from powders and made to be shelf-stable with additives, is made fresh with real bones to get the beneficial collagen and gelatin along with an important amino acid and mineral blend. The refrigerated item is sold in 16-ounce glass bottles. Pure sea salt keeps sodium content low, and the fresh ingredient list includes locally sourced vegetablesand herbs known to promote healthy digestion. John Hopkins, founder and president of Five Way Foods, suggests, “To restore and nourish the body, consider making bone broth part of your daily diet.”
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES (whole grains, whole fruits and whole vegetables) are preferable to simple carbohydrates (flour products, sugar and juices) when it comes to cancer, because complex carbohydrates take longer to absorb and help stabilize blood sugar. Fresh whole grains, whole fruits and whole vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that promote healthy cell growth and body functioning.
ORGANICALLY RAISED foods are preferred to conventionally produced, be
GREEN TEA is one of the best anti-cancer beverages. Lemon tea made by steeping lemon slices in hot water with a dash of cayenne pepper, and consumed a half hour before each meal, also provides benefits. Herbalists can recommend and provide tea blends to help support the immune, endocrine, adrenal, blood, lymphatic and nervous systems throughout the cancer treatment process.
A basic knowledge of anti-cancer nutrition strategies can empower patients to boost immunity and improve resistance to their disease. Caregivers can combine anticancer ingredients in limitless ways to create meals that can be thoroughly enjoyed. Friends that want to offer help to a family caring for a cancer patient can prepare a healthy soup and a salad, and arrange to deliver the meal at a convenient time.
Wendy Fachon is an experienced caregiver, an environmental educator and founder of Rhode Island Netwalking, which helps facilitate innovative walking programs for youth to improve their health and well-being. Learn more at NetWalking.com.
Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D.
Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, Ph.D., RD, CNS
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS