NutritionFacts.org

cancer

Cancer is the #2 killer in the United States, and diet is the #1 cause of cancer (see also here, here, & here). Why don’t doctors tend to know this? Because they may have never have learned it.

The balance of evidence suggests that whole food, plant-based diets can prevent, treat, slow, and even reverse cancer. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables with at least 9 daily servings (despite flawed studies to the contrary) may boost detoxifying enzymes, lower inflammation, lower cholesterol, and make for healthier bowel movements (here too), ridding onself of excess estrogen and cholesterol.

See #1 Anticancer Vegetable (and the prequel Veggies vs. Cancer) for a comparison of the cancer-fighting properties of asparagus, beans, beets, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cruciferous vegetables in general, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fennel, fiddlehead ferns, garlic, green beans, green onions, jalapeno peppers, kale, leeks, lettuce, potatoes, radicchio, radish, rutabagas, spinach, squash, tomatoes, and yellow onions.

On the other hand, total meat consumption may increase the risk of cancer (especially processed meats (here & here)—something of which the meat industry is aware), increase risk of death, and decrease cancer survival (here & here). Even inhaling the vapors from cooking meat (such as bacon) or coming in contact with farm animals may pose a risk.

Poultry may significantly increase one’s risk for a variety of blood cancers, perhaps due to the dioxins, drugs, or viruses in chicken meat. There is also arsenic and carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (especially when grilled). Poultry may increase the risk of penis cancer and cause warts if handled raw. Cows’ milk contains hormones (especially skim) that may promote cancer (see also here). Both meat and dairy may also contribute to melatonin suppression, which can increase cancer risk.

Animal protein intake may increase the risk of premature puberty, which may put children at higher risk, and animal fat may also play a role. Just cutting down on saturated animal fat may improve cancer survival.

On the other hand, soy foods contain protective phytoestrogens, which may prevent premature puberty and both help prevent breast cancer and improve breast cancer survival. Green tea and many herbal varieties may also be protective. Among fruits, berries may be the best for cancer prevention, since they may block cell-DNA damage. Organic berries may work better than conventional.

Other foods that have been associated with anti-cancer properties are broccoli (here, here, here, here, and here), Indian gooseberries (against cancer cell growth and invasion), dragon’s blood, chili peppers, nuts, coffee, cocoa, red rice, black beans, fiber in general, black pepper, mushrooms (especially white button), flax seeds (especially with regards to for prostate cancer and breast cancer), Ceylon cinnamon, apples, turmeric in moderation, tomatoes, and small amounts of licorice. Also make sure to get an hour of exercise every day, sleep 7-hours every night, and reduce one’s exposure to tanning beds and cell-phone radiation.

Vitamin C pills, folic acid, multivitamins and some other supplements including iron and lutein, homeopathy, and Ayurvedic supplements may be useless or worse. Exposures thought to increase cancer risk include alcohol, marijuana, acrylamide in crispy carbs, betel nuts, fungal toxins sometimes found in apple juice, kimchi, and yerba mate.

Dr. Greger covers cancer in his full-length presentation, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, where he explores the role diet may play in preventing, treating, and even reversing our top 15 killers.

See also the related blog posts: Poultry and Penis Cancer, Amla: Indian gooseberries vs. cancer, diabetes, and cholesterol

Topic summary contributed by Eitan.
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Watch videos about cancer

  • Melatonin & Breast Cancer
    There are components of our diet that may increase cancer risk by mimicking the role of light pollution in melatonin suppression.
  • Convergence of Evidence
    Convergence of Evidence
    Profile of an editorial published by Dr. Dean Ornish in the American Journal of Cardiology describing the optimal diet and how simple choices can be as powerful as drugs and surgery.
  • Mitochondrial Theory of Aging
    Mitochondrial Theory of Aging
    The role of the detoxifying enzyme superoxide dismutase in staving off aging, cancer, and dementia and what we can do to boost its activity.
  • Vitamin D Pills vs. Tanning Beds
    Vitamin D Pills vs. Tanning Beds
    A reclassification of tanning beds as a category 1 carcinogen underscores the importance of vitamin D supplementation for those at risk for deficiency.
  • Is Peanut Butter Good for You?
    Is Peanut Butter Good for You?
    An update on the healthfulness of nut consumption and whether the cardiovascular benefits extend to peanut butter.
  • Is Licorice Good For You?
    Is Licorice Good For You?
    The safe upper limit of licorice consumption and why pregnant women may be at particularly high risk.
  • Is Kimchi Good For You?
    Is Kimchi Good For You?
    Epidemiological evidence that kim chi consumption may significantly increase cancer risk.
  • Are Chili Peppers Good For You?
    Are Chili Peppers Good For You?
    Do chili peppers promote or protect against stomach inflammation?
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