Cancer Free Diet

Scientists now believe that at least one third of all cancers are related to what we eat. Some think as many as 40 percent of Men’s cancers and 60% of women’s cancers are linked to diet. That is enough to take a second look at what is on your plate!

Lot of effort is required to adjust your diet to conform to the National Institutes of Health Food Guidelines. You have to consider and learn about many components like fats, calories, vitamins, minerals, fiber and naturally occurring chemicals that make up your diet. You may have to change habits developed over many years. You will need to change your long held antagonism to vegetarianism.

If you want to prevent cancer and stay healthy consider the following:

1) Lower your dietary fat intake to no more than 20 percent of your total daily calories.

2) Increase your dietary fiber intake at least 25 g per day.

3) Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

4) Cut down on foods such as hotdogs, ham and bacon.

5) Try to maintain your ideal body weight by avoiding overeating and incorporating physical activity into your daily life.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet is the most unhealthy diet, e.g., most of the Americans get 40% of their calories from fat. If you want to be healthy, limit fat to 20% or less and use vegetable oils instead of animal fat. A high fat diet raises the cholesterol levels and leads to coronary heart diseases, the number one killer in the affluent societies like America.

There are several theories and mechanisms to explain the fat assisted tumor growth.

1)During the processing of the fats in the body free radicals are produced that damage DNA and cause deadly cancer. 2) During the digestion of fats, liver secretes bile acids into the intestines. These bile acids then can be converted to carcinogenic compounds in the colon leading to colon cancer. 3) Fats may interfere in the body signals that tell cells not to divide, causing uninterrupted proliferation leading to the development of tumors. 4) Fats can interfere with the immune system that destroys the cancer cells.

Being overweight increases the risk of cancers of breast, kidney, colorectum, gallbladder, cervix, uterus, ovaries, and prostate. Excess body fat increases a woman’s risk of breast, uterine, ovarian cancer because it metabolizes the hormone estrogen, stimulating cell growth in those organs. In 1940’s scientists found lab animals fed with calorie restricted diets were less likely to get cancer. Scientist found the same fact that high calorie consumption coincides with high cancer incidence in humans, thirty years later.

A study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health in 1990 revealed compelling evidence of the connection between animal fat and colon cancer. The study included the diets of 88,000 US nurses and scientists. The more beef, lamb or pork meat consumed, the higher the risk of colon cancer. Those who ate red meat everyday were found two or three times more likely to get cancer than those who ate it less than once in a month. Vegetable oils and fat from dairy did not appear to increase the risk.

In the mid-seventies scientists compared diet of African villagers, who rarely developed colon cancer, with that of the people at an English school in Africa who exhibited higher rates of colon cancer. What was the difference? The fiber! Africans ate a lot of fiber, where as the English ate very little fiber and a lot of meat. Researchers at Cornell Medical Center discovered in 1989 that adding fiber to the diet could shrink the precancerous colon polyps that had already begun to develop, indicating for the first time the simple food like a cereal rich in bran could reverse the cancer. Fiber is very important in your diet, so eat everyday at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. They have insoluble fiber that provides greatest protection against colon cancer. Another kind of fiber, called soluble fiber, found in oat bran, rice bran, fruit pectin, barley etc., is noted for its ability to reduce the cholesterol levels in blood.

By showing kindness to animals and abstaining from eating them, you save yourself from a lot of trouble. Be Kind and Healthy.

Source: ‘Cancer Free, the Comprehensive Cancer Prevention Program," Sidney J. Winawer, MD and Moshe Shike, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, 07/31/99

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