Super foods assist in cancer fighting

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You can hardly pick up any health magazine or newsletter these days, without reading something about cancer.

Much research has been done on the importance of a healthy diet in fighting disease, but changing ones diet requires a bit of lifestyle change, and so many people would rather just take a pill and forget about it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting folks should forgo medical attention from their physician, or that anyone should refuse needed medical treatment.

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Also, there are so many factors that come into play with regards to the causes of diseases like cancer, but still, much research done in the last decade shows one’s diet can have a profound effect on protection against cancers. This column is going to be one of a two-part series, because of the number of foods recommended.

Here is a list of foods shown to maximize your protection:

1) Pomegranate juice. This juice has been used in Persian medicine for thousands of years. Studies show consumption of pomegranate juice substantially reduces the development of prostate cancers (among others), and drinking it daily slows the spread of established prostate cancers. I recommend drinking at least 8 ounces daily.

2) Turmeric. This spice is found in curry powder, and is one of the most powerful natural “anti-inflammatories” available today. The effects of turmeric can be enhanced by mixing it with black pepper and dissolving in olive or canola oil. Some researchers found that turmeric encouraged cancer cell death, inhibited tumor growth, and even enhanced the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Curry mixes contain only 20 percent turmeric, so it’s best to obtain pure turmeric powder from a spice store. I recommend mixing a teaspoon (a tablespoon if you already have cancer) of turmeric with black pepper and olive or canola oils to use in soups or salad dressings. If this mixture is too bitter, add a few drops of honey.

3) Green tea. Green teas are rich in chemical substances called polyphenols. These include compounds called catechins and particularly “EGCG.” EGCG stands for “Epigallocatechin gallate.” This catechin is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. It also reduces the blood vessels that “feed” tumors. Studies done in the laboratory have even shown it to increase the effect of radiation on cancer cells. I recommend letting green tea steep for at least 10 minutes after brewing to release its “catechins,” then sip two to four cups daily.

4) Fatty fish. Fish like salmon, trout, anchovies, herring, mackerel, tuna and sardines contain anti-inflammatory long chain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help slow cancer cell growth in a large number of tumors, like tumors of the lungs, breasts, colon, prostate and kidneys. Omega- 3 fatty acids can also be obtained from high-quality purified fish oil supplements.

I recommend having fatty fish two to three times a week. Choose smaller fish like sardines, small mackerel or anchovies if possible, because smaller fish have less mercury and other environmental contaminates. Canned sardines are ok if packed in olive oil, instead of sunflower oil, which has too much of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats. Also, try to use fresh fish, rather than frozen, because omega-3 content degrades over time.

5) Berries. Berries contain a larger number of “polyphenols,” which can inhibit tumor growth. Two polyphenols, anthocyanidin and proanthocyanidin, have been shown by some researchers to promote cancer cell death. I recommend darker berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and cranberries.

David Crocker of Landrum has served as strength director Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., strength coach S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer L.H. Fields modeling agency, taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.