We know that a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables - widely known as a Mediterranean diet - will keep us as healthy as possible, energise us and give our bodies the best chance of fighting illness and infection.
It won’t surprise you to know that I’m passionate about the healing power of plant-based food. Some in-depth research in this area has led me recently to the scientific articles of Michael S Donaldson. Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet starts off by summarising his findings, having reviewed 238 published articles on the topic. He concludes that between 30 and 40% of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and diet.
We know that there are factors which increase our likelihood of getting cancer:
- Nutrient-depleted foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that lead to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes)
- Low fibre intake
- Eating processed meat
- Imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats
We also know there are factors which lower our cancer risk:
- Flax seed, especially its lignan fraction
- High volume of fresh fruits and vegetables (particularly green vegetables, high in chlorophyll)
- Allium vegetables (onions and garlic) and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli) are especially helpful.
We should ensure these elements are present in our diet for added protection:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Antioxidants such as carotenoids
- Digestive enzymes and probiotics
Donaldson’s research concludes that such a diet would be conducive to preventing cancer and would positively help recovery from cancer too. He concludes that it is likely that there could be at least a 60–70% decrease in breast, colorectal and prostate cancers, and a 40–50% decrease in lung cancer, along with similar reductions in cancers in other places, by strict adherence to a diet that included all the elements above.
It’s encouraging to know that we can take positive steps in the fight against cancer and should empower us to superboost our diets, starting today.
Of course, it’s not just cancer that such a diet helps protect against. Donaldson argues that the most powerful message is that this same diet also protects against many other diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In particular, a raw vegetable diet was found to have a protective effect in 85% of studies.
How to adapt your own diet to be a cancer-fighting one
- Consume adequate, but not excessive, calories
- Forget five a day - have 10 or more servings of vegetables a day, including onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage (the good news is that vegetable juices could meet part of this goal). Vegetables are very rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- Include 4 or more servings of fruit a day
- Eat a high-fiber diet
- Cut out refined sugar
- Cut out refined flour
- Low in total fat, but containing necessary essential fatty acids
- Cut out red meat
- Consume a balanced ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fats and to include DHA
- Include flax seed as a source of phytoestrogens
- Take a supplement of ~200μg/day selenium
- Take a supplement of 1,000μg/day B-12 (methylcobalamin)
- Eat dark green vegetables, rich in folic acid and chlorophyll
- Get adequate sunshine for vitamin D or use 1,000IU/day supplement
- Fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals including α-carotene, β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin
- Supplement with beneficial probiotics
- Supplement with oral enzymes
It’s normal to look at this list and be put off. But there are easy ways we can incorporate elements into our daily diets.
The first is to make wheatgrass a central part of your new regime. Just look at the nutritional benefits:
- 1oz of wheatgrass juice contains as much vitamin E as 700g of broccoli
- 100g contains, gram for gram, 270% more vitamin A than broccoli
- 100g contains 1600% RDA of B12
- 100g contains 17 times more vitamin B5 than bananas
- 100g contains 7.5 times the amount of green chlorophyll than broccoli
If you’re interested and want to read more, Donaldson’s complete article can be found here
You can also read more about findings from scientific articles on the www.wheatgrassevidence.org page here
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To start you off, have a go at our strengthening and revitalising Green Goodness recipe:
1 broccoli stalk
2 to 4 frozen wheatgrass juice cups
A handful of spinach
Juice all the fresh ingredients. Either defrost the wheatgrass juice and add to the freshly extracted juice or simply transfer the ready juice to a blender and then add the frozen wheatgrass juice and whizz for 10 seconds until smooth.