Fruits are rich in flavonoids that can enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy. Flavonoids are not only potent antioxidants, but are also anti-inflammatory.
It's easy to pack your diet with flavonoids—go for color! Good sources include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranates, tart cherries, apples and apple skins, and Concord grapes.
When selecting fruit, choose organic whenever you can. If organic is not available, domestically grown fruit is often safer than imported fruit because there are fewer restrictions on chemical use in some other countries.
Remember, fruit does contain natural sugar, so try not to overdo your intake.
Read on for a flavonoid-rich recipe...
In the last in our series on the “terrain,” we’ll take a look at Blood Circulation.
When you are healthy, your blood is neither too thin nor too thick. If it becomes too viscous, it is in a state of hypercoagulation. This can happen when you have cancer: tumors cause clot-forming platelets to become overactive, and they stimulate production of a protein called fibrin, which kits blood cells together and thus makes the blood “sticky.” If your blood becomes too fluid or “thin,” on the other hand, it is in a state of hypocoagulation. This can happen from a loss of platelets, impairment in liver function, or use of anticoagulants, either pharmaceutical or nutritional. Too few platelets or their loss of “stickiness” can lead to capillary leakage or a full-blown hemorrhage. Both hypercoagulation and hypocoagulation are problematic. The first raises the risk of thrombi and embolisms and can promote tumor progression and metastasis. The second can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. These conditions are especially dangerous for cancer patients, because they have an impact on several aspects of your disease.
Carotenoids are red, yellow, and orange plant pigments such as those in carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash. Carotenoids have important anti-cancer properties. For instance, lycopene, which makes tomatoes red, has the ability to inhibit the cancer-promoting growth factor IGF-1. Scientific studies show that lycopene helps prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.
In addition to eating whole foods containing carotenoids, the Block Center recommends the freeze-dried juice of the carotenoid vegetables, which gives you the equivalent of several servings in one glass.
Recipe for Lentil Salad with Tomato & Dill (after the jump)
As an excellent source of vitamins C, E, K, beta-carotene and the mineral manganese, and a good source of the mineral zinc, Swiss Chard offers an outstanding variety of conventional antioxidants. Dark leafy greens also contain calcium to support bone health.*
What to do with Swiss Chard:
Or, try one of these recipes (after the break).
Tumors are gluttons for glucose. They consume this blood sugar at a rate ten to fifty times higher than normal tissues. PET scans, which detect glucose consumption, have shown that the higher the rate of glucose accumulation in cancer cells, the more aggressive the tumor – that is, the more invasive and likely to metastasize it is.
In addition, having high levels of blood glucose – as diabetics do – can make you more susceptible to several different cancers and lead to a worse outcome if you do develop cancer. However, even without diabetes, small elevations in glucose or insulin can wreak havoc on your health and fuel malignancy. Patients who have what’s called pre-diabetes (blood sugar levels that are high but not high enough to be diabetes) or metabolic syndrome (a precursor to type 2 diabetes) have abnormally high blood sugar. They also tend to have elevated levels of insulin because of what is called “insulin resistance.” Insulin is the molecule that transports glucose into muscle, brain and other tissue. In insulin resistance, cells block the entry of glucose. When this happens, blood levels of both insulin and glucose increase in a futile attempt to overcome that resistance.
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day this weekend? Be festive AND healthy with these delicious and simple recipes!
Kale is loaded with calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is rich in the all-important phytochemical sulforaphane, which research suggests may protect against cancer. Sulforaphane is formed when cruciferous vegetables like kale are chopped or chewed. This somehow triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals —which we all are exposed to on a daily basis.
1 bunch kale, torn into 2-inch pieces
High-heat canola oil spray (try Spectrum Naturals)
Nutritional yeast (try Kal brand)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Tear kale into pieces, avoiding the tough inner stalk. Rinse well in water and dry as best you can either in a spinner or on a tea towel.
3. Spray baking sheet with canola oil. Place kale on sheet in a single layer and spray tops with canola oil. Sprinkle lightly with nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper.
4. Place in oven and bake about 10-15 minutes, or until the kale is crisp. Will keep in airtight container for up to a week.
More recipes after the jump...
Cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, are rich in glucosinolates, a veritable treasure trove of anti-cancer compounds. They support the body's natural detox system, contain antioxidant properties, and are anti-inflammatory.
Among the glucosinolates are indole-3-carbinol, which increases the activity of enzymes that make estrogen less effective, thereby blocking the growth and progression of hormone-responsive cancers of the breast and endometrium. The sulforaphane in broccoli also targets breast cancer: at least six studies have demonstrated that women with breast cancer who have consumed high amounts of sulforaphane-containing vegetables have significantly better survival rates, lower recurrence rates, or both.
Since cooking glucosinolates breaks them down, Dr. Block recommends eating them raw whenever possible or, even easier, taking them in powerfood extracts. By taking extracts that concentrate the phytochemicals of cruciferous vegetables, you can get the equivalent of several servings in one drink.
This cauliflower recipe packs an anti-cancer punch. Enjoy with tomato for added cardiac benefits from lycopene.
Cauliflower Steak with Tomato & Olive
1 cauliflower: 4 servings
Though there are a few intriguing experimental research approaches, an all-natural immune-based cure for cancer is for now still more dream than reality. However, this is not to say that you can’t enlist your immune system in your battle against cancer. In Life Over Cancer, Dr. Block details his recommendations for an “immune support program.” At the foundation of this self-care program is, of course, the Life Over Cancer diet. Here are a few additional recommendations that can help support immune function: