Foods That Heal
Eating nutritious whole foods and staying active is anyones best guarantee to a long healthy life. Maintaining a well-balanced nutritious diet will provide the body with the nutrients it needs in maintaining a strong immune system and preventing chronic disease.
Some foods have specific nutrients with health benefits that can help in fighting different diseases. In this section we explore a variety of serious chronic health conditions and look at the specific beneficial foods that can offer support in healing
Healing Foods for Cancer
Cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women in Canada according to Health Canada statistics. Many things have been found to contribute to the development of cancer; such as smoking, radiation, chemicals, hormones, viruses, chronic inflammation, obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. The good news is that many of these contributors we have control of and are preventable.
Keeping an active healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet is anyones best fight against cancer. A strong immune system will help fight off viruses and diseases, extending the length and quality of our lives.
Long throughout history man has used food and herbs for healing. Some foods are still recognized and used today to have powerful healing properties. In fighting cancer, certain foods have been found to be beneficial in the fight. Some of these healing foods include: cruciferous vegetables, folate -rich vegetables, turmeric root, ginger, cinnamon and green tea.
Cruciferous vegetables provide strong cancer fighting properties because they are rich in vitamins and nutrients, as well serve as a good fibre source. Cruciferous vegetables also contain a substances known as glucosinolates which have been found to inhibit the development of many types of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables include: arugula, cabbage, bok choy, kale, turnip, mixed salad greens, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, radish, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, horseradish and wasabi.
Folate -rich foods have been the subject of several studies around the world through different cancer institutes. This research has found that diets high in folate -rich foods reduced the risk of pancreatic and colorectal cancers. Recent research has found that synthetic supplements of folate like folic acid actually increased the risk of these cancers and accelerated the process opposed to reducing them. It is advised to increase folate intake through folate food sources and not through supplements. Folate -rich foods include: lentils, kidney beans, broccoli, iceberg lettuce, beets, lima beans, sunflower seeds, spinach, brussels sprouts, asparagus, green peas, cabbage, avocados, romain lettuce, strawberries, oranges, eggs and bananas.
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian cooking and one of the main components of curry powder. A study conducted by India’s Alagapaa University, published in the Wiley science journal, Microscopy Research & Technique in 2012; found curcumin in turmeric had anti-cancer properties, especially when taken in combination with catechins, a major active ingredient found in green tea. Another study through the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany in 2012 showed that curcumin can inhibit the formation of metastases in both prostate and breast cancer. Many studies have been conducted around the world that all suggest curcumin has strong anti-cancer properties.
Green Tea has long been known for its detoxing abilities. According to a study conducted by The Alagapaa University in India in 2012, when catechins (a major active ingredient in green tea) are combined with curcumin (turmeric), it boosted its anti-cancer effects.
Ginger is a zesty root often used as a spice popular in Indian cooking. Ginger can also be steeped and enjoyed as a tea. Ginger is known for easing gastrointestinal distress and for its anti-inflammatory effects. Cancer research conducted by the Minnesota’s Hormel Institute in 2003 found that ginger can inhibit colorectal cancer growth. In other research, the University of Michigan presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer, that through a recent study ginger was found to kill ovarian cancer cells.
A compound found in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde has been found to inhibit cancer tumour growth, causes cancerous cells to self-destruct and protects DNA from damage. Studies have shown an especially significant improvement to colon cancer and is currently being investigated as a natural anti-cancer agent.
Vitamin D (best absorbed through sunlight) helps fight against skin cancer. The controversy of whether sun exposure causes cancer can be explained. Over-exposure to the sun causing severe sunburns in conjunction with excess omega-6 in a person’s system, is believed to put a person at risk of melanoma later in life. The sun itself is not dangerous, instead it is very healing; just learn to limit your sun exposure. Health experts agree that a person should spend between 10-30 minutes in the sun every day; with arms and legs exposed. Be wary of sunscreens also as many contain toxic ingredients that have been actually (ironically) linked to cancer.
Other food considerations include choosing natural organic foods instead of foods with artificial ingredients added and foods grown using pesticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. These chemicals are toxic and not just for insects. Scientific studies have linked several artificial ingredients added to foods as carcinogenic. GMO (genetically modified organism) corn has also been linked to cancer and has been banned by several different countries in the world. Pesticide-contaminated foods have actually been the cause of death to several groups of people in different parts of the world. As well, different pesticides have been linked to different types of cancers.
Baking Soda is a naturally occurring substance that traditionally was used as a treatment for colds, the flu and other diseases. Recent studies suggest baking soda can be used in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Cancer is a fungus and can be caused by fungus, as well thrive in an acidic environment; according to research by the Mayo Clinic. Baking soda on the other-hand has strong anti-fungal properties, as well alkalizes the body when consumed. Caution must be advised in taking baking soda regularly as it can deplete the body of vital vitamins and minerals; as well can cause hypertension and fluid retention.
Maintaining a PH of 7.4 has also been recognized to greatly reduce a person’s chances of getting cancer, as well will help in the fight against it. Cancer thrives in acidic environments, but cannot survive in an alkaline one. A person can have a blood analysis done, or have other bodily fluids tested to determine their acidity/alkalinity. Many people today do have acidic bodies as many people today live in acidic environments and consume acidic foods and drinks. Acidic foods include: meats, grains, and sugars. Alkaline foods include: fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Drinking plenty of water with lemon juice added will also help alkalize the body.
Oxygen has also shown to destroy cancer cells; so be sure to get outside regularly for some fresh air and stay active to keep your heart pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body.
Let an active lifestyle and healing foods be your medicine and may you live a long life.
Written by: J. Marshall
Visit our Article Archive page to learn more about nutrition, essential nutrients and how to maintain a well-balanced diet.
Visit our Foods that Heal category to learn more about other benefiting foods in the treatment and maintenance of other serious chronic diseases and conditions.
Try our Ginger Vegetable Stir-fry recipe! Ginger root and vegetables are excellent healing food sources for fighting cancer.
Try our Broccoli Pesto Pasta recipe! Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli are excellent healing food sources for fighting cancer.
*Visit our Recipe Archive page for more recipes deisigned with your health in mind!
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