Plant-Based Prevention

Plant-Based Prevention
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Phytonutrients may, in part, account for the benefits of whole plant foods in cancer prevention.

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The skin cancer we die of at 50 may have been because of a teenage sunburn. And those who eat dairy—milk, cheese, or yogurt—may have two and a half times the risk of certain bad skin cancers.  These researchers did, however, find something so incredibly powerful that it cut skin cancer risk by about 50%—greens. Eating dark green leafy vegetables cuts our risk in half.  Yes, but how many greens did these people have to eat?

Well, here’s the data. These are the people who ate the most greens, and had half the cancer risk—compared to these, who ate the least, averaging only six grams of greens a day. That’s the weight of six paper clips. They must have accidentally eaten the garnish—some sprig of parley next to their steak!

What about the highest tier of greens intake, cutting their squamous cell skin cancer risk in half? Just 31 grams of greens a day; 31 paper clips. That’s the equivalent of just three leaves of spinach. One, two, three leaves a day. Half the risk of this cancer. That’s how powerful greens are. My motto is, eat your greens, every day of your life, until you die. 

Last year, there was even a greens review in American history. General George Washington, in 1777, gave the general order for American troops to go out and pick the wild greens growing around their camps to protect them from “all putrid disorders.” Smart man. 

Just as eating meat increases our risk of cancer, eating plants decreases that risk. This study found that eating a lot of plant foods could cut our risk of getting breast cancer in half—thanks to dietary fiber. Remember, fiber is found only in plant foods. Animals have bones to hold them up; plants have fiber to hold them up. But only whole plant foods are good sources of fiber. Refined foods like white flour, white bread, white rice, and white pasta have much of the fiber and other nutrients stripped from them. Same with endometrial cancer. Lots of animal protein and animal fat, we get nearly twice the risk; lots of plant protein and plant fat, nearly half the risk.

97,000 women studied. Ovarian cancer, another really horrific cancer. Lots of isoflavones cut our risk in half. What’s the top source of isoflavones? Soy foods. Though soy-based meat alternatives often lack the fiber of whole plant foods, compare plant to animal bacon. Same serving size, but Babe over here has four times the calories, 50 times the fat, 40 times the saturated fat, infinitely more cholesterol, and only a quarter of the protein—and increases our cancer risk, while the soy-based bacon may decrease that risk.

It’s simple, right? High fruit, low meat, less tumors. I’m not just being selective with these studies. I have for years challenged anyone to produce a single study showing more cancer on a plant-based diet. Frankly, no such study exists.

Another huge study: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. More plants; less cancer. Why? Dietary lignan intake. Lignans are one class of thousands of compounds called phytonutrients. Phyto- means plant. These are special plant nutrients. Best source of lignans on the planet? Flax seeds.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Ted Major via Flickr.

The skin cancer we die of at 50 may have been because of a teenage sunburn. And those who eat dairy—milk, cheese, or yogurt—may have two and a half times the risk of certain bad skin cancers.  These researchers did, however, find something so incredibly powerful that it cut skin cancer risk by about 50%—greens. Eating dark green leafy vegetables cuts our risk in half.  Yes, but how many greens did these people have to eat?

Well, here’s the data. These are the people who ate the most greens, and had half the cancer risk—compared to these, who ate the least, averaging only six grams of greens a day. That’s the weight of six paper clips. They must have accidentally eaten the garnish—some sprig of parley next to their steak!

What about the highest tier of greens intake, cutting their squamous cell skin cancer risk in half? Just 31 grams of greens a day; 31 paper clips. That’s the equivalent of just three leaves of spinach. One, two, three leaves a day. Half the risk of this cancer. That’s how powerful greens are. My motto is, eat your greens, every day of your life, until you die. 

Last year, there was even a greens review in American history. General George Washington, in 1777, gave the general order for American troops to go out and pick the wild greens growing around their camps to protect them from “all putrid disorders.” Smart man. 

Just as eating meat increases our risk of cancer, eating plants decreases that risk. This study found that eating a lot of plant foods could cut our risk of getting breast cancer in half—thanks to dietary fiber. Remember, fiber is found only in plant foods. Animals have bones to hold them up; plants have fiber to hold them up. But only whole plant foods are good sources of fiber. Refined foods like white flour, white bread, white rice, and white pasta have much of the fiber and other nutrients stripped from them. Same with endometrial cancer. Lots of animal protein and animal fat, we get nearly twice the risk; lots of plant protein and plant fat, nearly half the risk.

97,000 women studied. Ovarian cancer, another really horrific cancer. Lots of isoflavones cut our risk in half. What’s the top source of isoflavones? Soy foods. Though soy-based meat alternatives often lack the fiber of whole plant foods, compare plant to animal bacon. Same serving size, but Babe over here has four times the calories, 50 times the fat, 40 times the saturated fat, infinitely more cholesterol, and only a quarter of the protein—and increases our cancer risk, while the soy-based bacon may decrease that risk.

It’s simple, right? High fruit, low meat, less tumors. I’m not just being selective with these studies. I have for years challenged anyone to produce a single study showing more cancer on a plant-based diet. Frankly, no such study exists.

Another huge study: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. More plants; less cancer. Why? Dietary lignan intake. Lignans are one class of thousands of compounds called phytonutrients. Phyto- means plant. These are special plant nutrients. Best source of lignans on the planet? Flax seeds.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Ted Major via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

Learn more about the cancer-fighting power of phytonutrients:

For more on phytonutrients and melanoma:

Soy isoflavones are a particularly powerful phytonutrient. Learn more about their breast cancer-fighting possibilities:

And for more on lignans and cancer:

And see my other videos on cancer.

Also check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk and Breast Cancer and Diet.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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