Following the burnt toast post on our Fitter Food Facebook page (our response to the Food Standard Agencies ‘Going for Gold’ campaign) we’ve received some messages about cancer and nutritional guidelines, supplements or lifestyle changes that may prevent or help to support your body in the fight against this disease. It’s a difficult, controversial subject to discuss.
Both of us have lost loved ones to cancer and supported people battling this disease. We’ve sat in waiting rooms dreading test results and answers to life changing questions.
From the reading, research and trusted sources we’ve approached on the subject it seems eventually different types of cancer may be identified and therefore more targeted medical treatments will be available.
Nutritionally speaking, we’re all looking to point the finger – is it the dairy or the meat intake. Is it coffee or burnt foods?
Yet there seem to be some promising case studies on fasting, ketogenic and vegan diets and all sorts of different nutritional interventions for certain cancers.
You will likely know of someone who ate an incredibly healthy diet yet developed cancer.
You will also likely know of someone who smoked and drank all their life, didn’t get cancer.
As with many diseases it’s never one thing. Cancer seems to have a genetic, metabolic and a carcinogen component. It’s difficult to predict and advise on something so complex.
As the medical treatments and research move forward we still think people are not really being encouraged to undertake some key lifestyle habits that have the potential to decrease your risk of cancer and increase your chances of survival should you be diagnosed.
There are some things you can do right now that offer your body and immune system the vital nutrients it needs to fight any disease.
You CAN look after your gut health. When a large proportion of the immune system (estimated to be 80-90%) is located in the digestive tract it’s obvious nutrition will play an influential role. You can feed and fuel your gut bacteria with live, fermented foods, broths, oily fish, organ meats and fibre from vegetables and starches like potatoes and root veg. This little army interacts directly with your immune system.
You CAN support healthy immune function. When you consider our immune system is founded on protein and requires many micronutrients including vitamins A, B, C, D and E along with minerals like magnesium and zinc. It’s wise to ensure you daily meals contain plenty of these and your lifestyle has a healthy dose of sunlight.
You CAN eat antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory foods including vegetables, rosemary, coriander, turmeric, olive oil, cinnamon, berries, teas, ginger, cocoa and garlic which can all help decrease DNA damage and combat inflammation.
You CAN support your natural detoxification system with foods like eggs, seafood, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, kale, coriander and a mixture of animal and plant based proteins.
You CAN fuel your natural energy systems by getting outside in daylight, walking in nature, going barefoot, sea swimming and turning your mobile phone to airplane mode when you carry it on your body.
You CAN detox your home with natural cleaning products, house plants and natural personal skin care.
You CAN find ways to relax, switch off and lower stress hormones with yoga, mindful activities and adequate sleep to restore and repair the body from daily stresses.
You CAN reduce your consumption of refined carbohydrates, chronically elevated insulin is implicated in a number of diseases including most cancers – limit added sugars, liquid calories, flour based foods or anything deep fried…or burnt!
You CAN fast for 12 hours overnight and let the immune system have a spring clean, it’s easy when you’re sleep for most of it 🙂
You CAN eat a rainbow a day:
– Add berries to your porridge or peppers, spinach and avocado with your omlette
– Smash a salad or vegetable soup daily
– Get creative with your vegetable dishes: ratatouille, veghetti, coleslaw, Greek salad, roasted vegetables or curries.
You CAN walk daily and find some exercise you love doing regularly, dance, lift, run, stretch or play a sport.
You CAN prioritise the things that make you happy and spend time with those you love the most. Also boost your sense of purpose and in doing so your wellbeing by volunteering or donating your time and skills to the greater good.
You CAN cut back on or ditch the alcohol and definitely the smoking. Get external support with this if you need.
The scaremonging by the media on cancer will continue but you CAN ignore it and feel confident that you’re doing everything you possible to empower your body to fight cancer.
Here’s some resources we recommend if you wish to know more:
The Cancer Revolution – Integrative Medicine – the Future of Cancer Care: Your Guide to Integrating Complementary and Conventional Medicine by Patricia Peat
Anti Cancer Book