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7 Foods That Fight Cancer (And How to Support Patients)

admin October 8, 2013

Last week I wrote a post called “Why I’m Not Going Pink This Month.”  Most of the people who replied agreed…and most of the ones who didn’t, were respectful (thank you!).  Some of these commenters pointed out another major issue that I hadn’t brought up:

What about all those other cancers and ‘awareness’ projects that don’t get support?

That’s a very valid point.  I want to talk about that today, as well as highlighting some healthy, non-toxic ways to possibly prevent (or even help reverse) cancer, and finally, a few ways to help those who are dealing with cancer.

What About Everyone Else?

While all the pink can bring support and hope to breast cancer survivors, or to families of survivors or unfortunate losses…what about everyone else?  Breast cancer is a very survivable cancer, with over 90% of people living in relative health after treatment.  There are many other cancers — and many other circumstances in general — that don’t get nearly this much attention.  Are they unworthy of support?

We should think about:

  • Women with breast cancer who don’t get mainstream treatment (the foundations don’t help them)
  • Men with breast cancer (yes, it happens)
  • Men and women with other cancers (stomach, pancreatic, brain…)
  • Children with cancer (one reader said that September is ‘gold’ for pediatric cancer…how many of you even knew that?  I didn’t)
  • Domestic violence (October is also ‘purple’ for domestic violence awareness)
  • Vaccine injury (and October is also ‘black’ for vaccine injury awareness)
  • Pregnancy and infant loss (October is also pregnancy and infant loss awareness)

Do these all not deserve the same recognition and support?

It’s not that I think we should take support away from breast cancer.  It’s that I think we should stop shaming people who prefer to support a different cause.

Somehow, if you don’t want to go pink, that’s bad.  You aren’t supporting your fellow women.  There’s something wrong with you, because pink is the way to go.  But I don’t believe that at all.  If you want to support pink, then support pink (whether that’s in the more traditional sense, or by helping women directly).  If you want to support a different cause, these are no less important and you should absolutely do that.

One person’s cause is not everyone’s cause, and “everyone’s” cause is not one person’s cause.

Foods That Fight Cancer

I can’t actually say “will prevent” or “cures” cancer.  Some research shows that these foods may be helpful against cancer, either preemptively, or if you already have it.  It’s up to you to choose if you want to try any of them, or seek the care of a holistic doctor who may advise you which to use.

Ginger

Ginger is known for being anti-inflammatory, and it has many everyday uses.  It’s beneficial for nausea (may relieve nausea in chemo patients), sinus infections or colds, and may relieve pain.  Studies show it may help prostate cancer, and may help those with lung cancer as well.  Not a lot is known, but ginger is thought to contain a number of anti-cancer properties and ginger extract from fresh ginger may be very beneficial.  It’s also extremely safe, with no toxicity reported and it can be used in babies, pregnant and nursing women, and other fragile people.

Turmeric

The turmeric root has been shown recently to be anti-inflammatory and potentially anti-cancer.  The active component is curcumin.  Combined with fish oil, it may be beneficial against breast cancer.  It may slow or stop the growth of colon or gastric cancers (it inhibits the h. pylori bacteria, which is also responsible for ulcers).  It may help skin cancer (2).

Pineapple

Surprised?  While the first two are used as spices or supplements, this one’s commonly eaten as a sweet treat.  But fresh pineapple (not canned) contains a potent substance: bromelain.  It’s been shown to actually kill breast cancer cells, and colon cancer cells.  It may also prevent cancer from metastasizing (spreading).  Juice from fresh pineapples, especially the core, is the most concentrated commercially available source.

Pomegranate

This little fruit’s gotten a lot of attention in recent years.  And for good reason — new research shows it can kill cancer cells.  Pomegranate seed oil may prevent skin cancer.  It may slow the growth of prostate cancer.  Researchers suspect it may prevent metastasis of other cancers as well.

Cod Liver Oil

Yes, it’s so healthy, it may play a role in cancer prevention, too!  Research suggests that cod liver oil is associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer (for current patients).  CLO is better than vitamin D alone because the synergistic vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids improve health outcomes.  Adequate vitamin D may protect against cancer, or lead to better outcomes.  This is, of course, not a “food” in the sense that you eat it for fun, but it is food!

Broccoli

Many of you have probably already heard about how broccoli can be anti-cancer!  Studies show it may prevent bladder cancer, protect against colon cancer, and may prevent or even help heal breast cancer.  It’s definitely something to include in your diet regularly — but make sure you steam it instead of consuming it raw.

Walnuts

Many nuts are actually cancer-busters, including Brazil nuts (high in selenium) and almonds, but walnuts are awesome.  Maybe because I’m partial to them in general. 🙂  They have been shown to fight breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.  They’re a power food!

This is just seven of the many, many healthy, cancer-fighting foods out there!  Focusing on nuts, fruits and vegetables will keep you healthy because of the high levels of nutrients and antioxidants.  Humanely raised animal products are also needed for health, though, because of their high levels of preformed vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, and more.

Alternative Cancer Support

I had intended for this section to be a short list of alternative charities.  However, I found very few.  The vast majority I found supported only conventional research into cancer.  While I can appreciate that need, and that some of the foundations really did donate almost all their money towards research (instead of “administration”), I wouldn’t donate my money to such an organization.  There are enough people supporting mainstream research right now.

Instead, my personal choice would be to donate to families directly.  Offer to pay for their groceries, child care costs, bring them a meal, or do whatever they need.  Families who are going through “less popular” cancers will not get the type of financial support that someone with breast cancer might.  And women who choose not to accept chemo will not get it, either, even if they have breast cancer.

Be a friend when someone is in need.  Help someone directly this month, or whenever it is needed.

Have you faced a cancer diagnosis, or has someone you love?  How did you treat it? Did you use any foods that fight cancer?

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  1. September was Polycystic-ovarian Syndrome awareness month. It is estimated that nearly 5 million women in the US deal with PCOS, but I didn’t know that there was an “awareness” month for it until I had been diagnosed with it for five years.

    Reply

  2. Look into who started the “pink campaign” and which company has gotten filthy rich from it – the same company that produces the most widely prescribed drug in the world for breast cancer treatment. Imagine that.

    Reply

  3. My 74 year old mother has stage 2 breast cancer. She has started 6 weeks of Radiation and then she will take this pill for 5 years.

    Reply

  4. October is also blue and yellow for Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

    Reply

  5. […] Turmeric is getting lots of attention these days because of its potential health benefits. Not only has the curcumin component of turmeric been shown to have anti inflammatory benefits, it has been associated with the inhibition of colon, gastric, breast and skin cancers. For more, see Modern Alternative Mama’s  7 Foods That Fight Cancer. […]

    Reply

  6. Bone broth and fermented foods/beverages would be good to add to this list. They are nourishing and protecting for everyone, but chemo patients in particular sustain damage to the lining of their mucous membranes from their mouth all the way through their digestive tract. Bone broth and the probiotics in ferments are both critical at that point to protect and rebuild those membranes. Some cancer patients actually take supplemental glutamine powder (an amino acid in bone broth) and high potency probiotic supplements for extra protection of their mouth and G.I. tract during treatment. Also, bone broth contains easily absorbed nutrition, which is also important when the digestive tract and body is under stress.

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  7. I appreciate your viewpoint on awareness of organizations for October – there are so many! The list of foods/spices are a great reference point for those that want to add preventative or nutritional support through their chosen care. I practice acupuncture and Chinese herbs and focus on palliative care for those that decide to have chemo/radiation/or any conventional care. I’m incredibly passionate about it. Herbs are also a great way to support the immune system and get them through their treatments as well. There are so many complementary therapies out there and non-profit organizations – thank you for pointing that out and giving it more voice.

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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