Have you noticed how in recent times, ordinary foods have been re-invented and labelled as awesome super-foods. The awesome super-food brings with it a promise of health, vitality, longevity and prevention of every illness under the sun – especially cancer. And….it’s all natural! Well is it? First of all, vegetables and fruits we eat today are different from the foods our ancestors were eating. They have been altered in their genetic material since the late 1800’s. Scientists and farmers have been genetically modifying food crops through a process known as hybridization or selective plant breeding for a long time. This was the pre-biotechnology method of introducing genetic materials from one individual plant to another. The humble carrot was manipulated long before that!
A knowledge of history often helps to put things into perspective. Did you know that the Carrot we know of today was already tampered with in the 1700’s. They were bred orange in The Netherlands during the 17th century from the older white and purple stock (that are now back in fashion as “heritage” varieties) to show support for the Orange-Nassau dynasty. So provocative were orange carrots seen to be in the early modern period that, at various points, they were banned from sale in Dutch markets as the fortunes of the dynasty waxed and waned politically! Even in the the 1700’s vegetables were used to promote a cause! ( source The Conversation)
But – back to the 21st Century. In today’s hype for health there is one thing missing in many of the self stylized Health Gurus – knowledge!
Food science is fascinating and complex and as technology increases- our understanding and knowledge builds.
Unfortunately promoters of the current “healing super-foods” are not qualified in the science; nor are they qualified in botanical medicine. On today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze , I look at just one of the super-food groups – Cruciferous vegetables. The phyto-chemicals contained in cruciferous vegetables, as well as macro and micro-nutrient content have caused a stir in cancer circles.
Based on my more than 3 decades of experience, research & qualifications with plant medicines & nutrition to help cancer patients; I would like to share with you some critical aspects for any cancer patient to know when using plant based medicines or super-foods for health; both during treatment and outside of treatment. Click here to listen to audio streaming Voice America
Many studies have highlighted reduction of cancer risk by consuming macro-nutrients-carbs, proteins, fats, fibre and proteins. There are also specific nutrients contained in foods called micro-nutrients-what we know as vitamins, minerals & trace elements. However, plants contain many chemical substances other than micro-nutrients that may help prevent cancer; some are effective adjuncts in treating cancer- these are called phyto-chemicals.
There is a saying – “It’s not what you eat – but what you do with what you eat”. Almost every patient who visits my practice has already made lifestyle and dietary changes according to what they have read on Dr Google or in books obtained through Dr Google. Some have sought naturopathic advice. Most finish up on vegan diets with copious juices whilst taking plant nutrients in capsules or powders by the bucket load. This is not natural! A few more helpful sayings: ” Less is more” and….. there is no one size fits all in healing- we are all different.”
One of the biggest digestive enemies of the cancer patient are the foods that do not breakdown well and create excess gas & pain and….often these foods don’t absorb well. You can be taking in lots of nutrient dense foods and supplements – but be malnourished. I see this in my practice constantly. Excessive gas and inflammation from ingesting large quantities of raw greens along with a compromised digestive system can lead to many more health issues. Remember Cancer is disease that begins with inflammation that becomes chronic. Ideally we want to make life easier for our digestive systems – not more difficult. I highly recommend you visit the following website: http://www.puristat.com/bloating/anti-flatulence-diet-plan.aspx
Did you know that by overdoing ingestion of the cruciferious family by taking excessive green powders and juicing raw vegetables that absorb better if cooked – can lead to genotoxicity? This is the term which describes the property of chemical agents that damage genetic information within a cell causing mutations, which may lead to cancer. Excess raw greens can also affect thyroid hormones and create Goiter. The principle applies – Less is more!
So often in my practice I find that by changing the “healthy regimens” that patients are taking in order to recover, and replacing it with a well structured, personalized dietary regimen with steamed and cooked foods; that bloating, due to excessive gas and inflammation, decreases or disappears. As does the debilitating pain that accompanies foods that don’t suit our metabolism. Patients with gastro- intestinal cancers can therefore reduce pain medication due to a sensible dietary change.
Another excellent resource for learning about Gut issues is the following website: http://www.gutsense.org/
In tomorrow’s blog more resources and information about cruciferous vegetables and nutrition for cancer patients. See you then …