Kick Breast Cancer the Veggie Way

Next time you hear someone say something like this, “Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them.” Show them this post fro m The Cancer Blog, Plant-Based Diets Key in breast Cancer Survival? Here's a bit:
A senior nutritionist with The Cancer Project even stated that "Women coping with breast cancer deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular exercise can spell the difference between life and death." If that's not a stark reminder of the importance of a plant-based diet for breast cancer patients, I am not sure what is.
When you talk nutrition with Dr. Fuhrman, one of the first things he brings up is cancer-prevention. He insists that if you want to avoid many of our nation’s chronic maladies? A vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the answer. Need proof? Here’s some stuff about veggies and cancer-prevention. From Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer:
Cruciferous Vegetables
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.


These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.4
As far as nutrient density goes, green vegetables are heavy-hitters. Check out the Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables.

(Oh, and the insane veggie-hating quote was from this post, Will America Ever Eat Better? Continue Reading...

Brown Sugar Good?

Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times investigates the claim that brown sugar is better for us than plain-old white sugar. Guess what? Its not! Here’s more:
So the two varieties of sugar are similar nutritionally. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, brown sugar contains about 17 kilocalories per teaspoon, compared with 16 kilocalories per teaspoon for white sugar.


Because of its molasses content, brown sugar does contain certain minerals, most notably calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium (white sugar contains none of these). But since these minerals are present in only minuscule amounts, there is no real health benefit to using brown sugar. The real differences between the two are taste and the effects on baked goods.
Dr. Fuhrman isn’t fooled by it either. In Eat to Live he lumps brown sugar with other junk foods. From the book:
Refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrates. Even the bottled and boxed fruit juices that many children drink are poor food; with no significant nutrient density, they lead to obesity and disease.1
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Watch Out for Cancer Lefties

The Cancer Blog relays some information claiming left-handed women are more likely to develop breast cancer than their right-handed counterparts—really weird. Take a look:
This left-handed conclusion, published in the journal Epidemiology, comes from the study of 12,000 women in the Netherlands whose medical histories were followed for 13 years. Discounting all other factors -- lifestyle, environment, and other disease -- left-handers came up with a risk of breast cancer 1.39 times that of right-handers. For pre-menopausal women, the figure climbed to 2.41.


When considering all sorts of illness, left-handed women had a 70 percent higher chance of contracting any cancer and a 30 percent higher chance of a fatal disease of the circulatory system. It's not just breast cancer -- it's any number of health conditions that may be linked to regular use of the left hand.

Scientific reactions on this topic are mixed.
Okay, so what happens if you’re ambidextrous?

Cancer: Vitamin D Power

According to the Associated Press, a new study has revealed that Vitamin D can cut cancer risk. Timberly Ross and Jeff Donn report:
The new research strengthens some specialists' argument that vitamin D may be a powerful cancer preventative and that most people should get more of it. Experts remain split, though, on how much to take.


"The findings ... are a breakthrough of great medical and public-health importance," said Cedric Garland, a prominent vitamin D researcher at the University of California, San Diego. "No other method to prevent cancer has been identified that has such a powerful impact."

Although the study seemed the most reliable yet, it does have drawbacks. It was designed mainly to monitor how calcium and vitamin D improve bone health, and the number of cancer cases overall was small, showing up in just 50 patients.

"It's a very small study," said Dr. Edward Giovannucci, who researches nutrition and cancer at the Harvard School of Public Health. "I don't think it's the last word."

In either case, the study takes an important step in extending several decades of research that began with observations that cancer rates among similar groups of people were lower in southern latitudes than in northern ones. Scientists reasoned that had to do with more direct sunlight in southern regions.
There’s no doubt, Vitamin D is strong medicine. In a previous post Dr. Fuhrman talks about Vitamin D’s anti-cancer properties. From Vitamin D and Cancer:
Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers. The inverse relationship between higher vitamin D levels in blood and lower cancer risk in humans shows a significantly lower risk among those with the highest vitamin D intake.


In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.3
Now, Vitamin D might be a good thing, but, you know what they say about too much of a good thing. In this post Dr. Fuhrman discusses the dangers of too much Vitamin D. Check out What are the Health Risks of Too Much Vitamin D:
Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, confusion, and weight loss. Sun exposure does not result in vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D toxicity is only a possibility from high intakes of vitamin D from supplements. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended upper intake level to 50g (2,000 IU) for children, adults, and pregnant and lactating women. Vitamin D is one of those vitamins where the right amount is essential—not too much and not too little.
Still curious about Vitamin D? Take a look at these posts:

Cancer: No Shark for You!

Shark cartilage is being used to treat cancer? Who prescribes that, a witch doctor? “Take two eye of newt and a shark fin and call me in da’ mornin’ mon.” But unfortunately for witch doctors and shaman, a new study shows shark cartilage is no help against lung cancer. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
Shark cartilage products have been marketed for years as "alternative" products by several firms, and one Canadian company, Aeterna Zentaris Inc., had been developing one such product as a licensed pharmaceutical.


But the large study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, showed definitively that the product did not work, experts told a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago…

… The study fits in with several others that have been published in recent years showing that various shark cartilage products do not help cancer patients live any longer, or help ease their symptoms.

"I would like to hope, I would like to pray, that this would put this sort of therapy out of business," Dr. Nancy Davidson, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who is about to become president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said in an interview.
Don’t worry. You won’t find Dr. Fuhrman consulting the stones and bones for magic remedies. He’s doesn’t believe the hype surrounding shark cartilage on bit. From Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Shark Cartilage:
This is a perfect example of how a good story can sprout a billion dollar industry. After the book Sharks Don't Get Cancer aired on television, showing cancer patients using shark cartilage apparently doing well, millions of cancer sufferers took (expensive) shark cartilage for years, until the first well-designed study followed cancer patients over time and found the shark cartilage had no discernible effect. Since then, manufacturers have stopped claiming that shark cartilage has any beneficial anti-cancer properties.
Why do I hear the Jaws theme song all of a sudden? Ah!

Healthy Eating, What If?

What if this country stopped shelling out billions of dollars to invent new drugs to treat disease, and instead, we put some of that money towards educating people how to eat healthier? Vicki Blankenship of The Cancer Blog is in a huff about this very same idea. Check it out:
What if only a part of the millions and millions of dollars poured into research on medicines, was put to use in educating the public on the right choices of foods and nutrition to put into our bodies to keep them healthy and to learn how to relax and quit putting so many demands on ourselves. What if more funding went into organic farming instead of mass, quick produced, with fertilizers and steroids for faster turn around on the products. Personally I have had so many chemicals blasted into my body from chemo and radiation, and medicines for this and medicines for that, I am about to think that all of that is only hurting my body more. Are we brain washed to believe that we have to have a pill for everything…


…But the one thing that I want to emphasize in this blog right now, is to STOP EATING processed and canned foods. It may be quicker to heat up a can of food or something already processed and pre-made for us, but it is not healthier. Eating fresh organic vegetables and home made prepared foods without chemical preservatives and other additives is the way to go to start getting some of those toxins out of our bodies. If you can't find fresh in something, because seasons play a big part in our fresh vegetable selections, purchase frozen. Also purchase dried beans or other dried items and cook them instead of buying canned ones. They are healthier than canned. Eating raw vegetables or slightly steamed vegetables is more healthy because the vitamins and nutrients do not cook out of the food.

A Message from The PCRM

Our friends over at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have got a message for us. Fruits and veggies prevent cancer. Check out this public service announcement:


For more on the good stuff the PCRM is doing, check out this post: Dairy Ousted for Weight-Loss.
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Healthy Lifestyle Strikes Again

Hah! Who would have thought? Healthy diet and exercise can keep cancer away. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
One study found that individuals with stage III colon cancer who had undergone surgery and chemotherapy had higher odds of relapsing or dying if they followed a predominantly "Western" diet of red meat, fat, refined grains and dessert…


…A second study found that previously sedentary breast cancer survivors who exercised reduced the amount of insulin in their blood. It was unclear, however, what effect this might have on cancer recurrence, but the suggestion is that insulin levels may explain why physical activity has been associated with better outcomes.
Not exactly earth-shattering news here, Dr. Fuhrman has been screaming about the cancer-protective effects of a healthy diet for years. Vegetable-based nutrient-dense nutrition is key. From Eat to Live:
There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.


Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.
Also, here’s a recent study talking about exercise and cancer: More Good News for Exercise.
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