Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn’t need them. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. There are many different kinds of cancers. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue. Alarming statistics now suggest that more than half of all cancers in American adults may be caused by poor diet. What these numbers mean is that much of the death and misery caused by cancer can be prevented. Fortunately, scientific evidence has now established that cruciferous vegetables contain vital cancer-fighting components that offer powerful protection against many carcinogens. Broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale, brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables contain many health promoting phytonutrients that have been shown to help prevent the onset and halt the progression of colon, breast, prostate, thyroid, cervical, and other cancers. Only a small percentage of Americans consume the five to seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables that the government recommends for good health. (We should really be eating 10-12 serving of fruits and vegetables a day!) Even more concerning, the typical American diet is especially deficient in cruciferous vegetables, which are some of the most potent cancer-fighting foods available. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which contribute to their healthful effects. Scientists have identified other bio-active compounds (phytonutrients) in these vegetables that are important to their cancer-preventive effects. These compounds, which are called glucosinolates, are transformed to indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane in the body. Methods of preparation and cooking affect the availability of these phytonutients. Cruciferous vegetables need to be well chewed, chopped or blended to get maximal effect. Some benefit may be lost with boiling or steaming. (Do not over steam! Try to under-cook a bit so they are not mushy.) The maximal benefit comes from eating these vegetables raw. Amazing as it may seem, vegetables that are readily found in any supermarket produce aisle contain some of the most potent cancer fighting compounds found in all of nature. Cruciferous vegetables are not only the most powerful anticancer foods in existence, they are also the most nutrient dense of all vegetables. Try to eat 1-2 serving of cruciferous vegetables a day.
There is a big difference between early detection and prevention. This is an important concept to understand. Many women think getting a mammogram is prevention. It is not prevention. A mammogram will pick up a cancer that has already formed, but will not prevent it. Mammograms are important for detecting breast cancer at an early stage. Once a mammogram detects a cancer, it has actually been growing for a while. It takes years to grow to a detectable size. Furthermore, colonoscopies are also important for picking up cancer at an early stage. Just like mammograms, they will not prevent colon cancer. Early detection, including mammograms and colonoscopies, is clearly important, as most cancers are much more treatable the earlier they are detected. On the other hand, it is obviously better to prevent cancer or heart disease in the first place. There are many ways to help prevent many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. First of all, diet is a critical component of prevention. A diet low in saturated fat and filled with various complex carbs can help prevent many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber and phytonutrients to help ward off these diseases. The more colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables the better. Good examples include broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, and kale just to name a few. Exercise is also important to preventing many chronic diseases. Regular aerobic exercise can help prevent both heart disease and cancer. All it takes is at least 20-30 minutes every other day. Walking, swimming, jogging, rowing, and playing tennis are all great aerobic activities. Get moving! Finally, obesity is a major cause of many chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. Obesity is felt to be one of the largest causes of breast cancer in women. You must know your BMI (body mass index). Your initial goal should be less than 30. Your long term goal should be 25. Most chronic diseases are now preventable! Do not wait for bad news. It is much better to prevent heart disease and cancer to begin with, versus dealing with them once they occur. Take control of your health and live a long and healthy life.
I have received a lot of feedback on the topic of causes versus symptoms. This concept is critical to understand. If you have high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, or elevated inflammation levels (C – reactive protein) then you have warning signs that things are not right in your body. These are all signs/symptoms of underlying issues. Th situation is analogous to a fire alarm going off. If you take the batteries out of the alarm, the alarm may stop but you have done nothing to put out the fire. The fire will continue to do damage, although you will no longer hear the alarm. You need to treat the underlying cause (you put water on the fire). Taking medication is similar to taking the batteries out of the alarm. The underlying problems are still there and can continue to do damage. The causes of the problem are still there. The fire is still burning. Until you cure these underlying issues, the symptoms will not go away and may get worse – over time you may require more medication and higher doses of medication. Remember, all medication can have side effects. Your long-term goal should be to eliminate the underlying causes. This can be accomplished through many natural methods including weight loss, better nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and adequate sleep. Always look for the underlying causes of your issues and attack these. You will live longer, look better, feel better, and require less medication. (Never stop your medication without talking to your personal doctor first!) Never give up and stay healthy.
It is very important to understand the difference between causes and symptoms of disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are all symptoms. They are symptoms of underlying serious health issues. For example, high blood pressure is a symptom of obesity, poor nutrition, unhealthy arteries, stress, ect. On the other hand obesity, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and stress are all causes of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. To truly become healthy you need to treat the underlying causes and not just the symptoms of disease. Medications tend to treat the symptoms, but not the underlying causes. Taking high blood pressure medication will lower your blood pressure (which is important) but will not cure it. Statin medications will lower your cholesterol, but it goes back up once you stop them. In essence, medication covers up the real underlying issues. The ways to cure high blood pressure include losing weight, improving nutrition, and exercise. Ways to cure high cholesterol include weight loss, eating less saturated fat, eating more fiber, and exercise. Your goal should be a cure. By improving your overall health, less medication becomes necessary. Diabetics can naturally lower blood sugars through weight loss, improved diet and exercise. By lowering blood sugars naturally, less medication is required. Taking medications is very important, but should be thought of as a short term solution (if possible). Discuss curing yourself of your diseases with your personal physician. Never stop or decrease any medication without first discussing with your personal physician. You do not want to increase your risk of a serious event. Have long term goals. Be patient. By slowly improving your lifestyle, you will become healthier as will your arteries, heart and brain. The goal should be a long term “cure”!