Fight Cancer With A Plant-Based Diet
If you look at different diets, there is a huge imbalance in the consistency and quality of nutrients and not every food group is a good multi mineral and vitamin source. Many studies have proven that a vegan diet is much higher in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins than an omnivorous, keto or even vegetarian diet. The human body has a tremendous ability to heal itself, but it needs all of these essential nutrients to be able to function correctly and fight bacteria, viruses, as well as cancerous cells. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 30-50% of cancers such as breast, lung or prostate cancer can be prevented by lifestyle factors such as a plant-based diet (1).
A vegan diet is also beneficial in preventing some cancers due to the exclusion of meat, dairy and eggs – which are high in cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat. Fat and cholesterol both cause inflammation which can harm and weaken the body. A diet high in animal products and processed foods also lacks adequate fibre, which is good for gut health as it both feeds good gut bacteria, as well as pushes food onwards through the gut, preventing constipation. A decrease in bowel movements may lead to a toxic environment in the bowels, and not having regular and healthy bowel movements may also lead to colon cancer such as colorectal cancer. Therefore, maintaining a healthy bowel by eating high-fibre foods such as legumes daily, can minimise the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. By also consuming a variety of different fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, you can lower the risk of death by cancer by 15%. But more specifically note that diet may be linked to as many as 70% of cases of colorectal and prostate cancer.
It has been proven that consuming dairy increases the risk of breast cancer (2). This is due to the high amount of estrogen and other hormones as well as saturated fat present in dairy products. Cutting out cow’s milk and cheese is already very beneficial for cancer prevention. But introducing soy (soya milk, tofu, tempeh) into the diet gives the body the chance to prevent different types of cancer even more. Soya has phytochemicals which reduce inflammation and inhibit activation of specific proteins that promote cell growth.
Another risk factor when it comes to cancer is processed meat, smoked meat as well as meat that is cooked at a very high temperature. This is due to the following chemicals that can be found naturally in meat, or are added while cooking:
- haem (a red pigment found mostly in red meat),
- nitrates and nitrites (used to keep processed meat fresher for longer),
- heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines (produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures).
These three components can damage cells in the bowel, which may lead to bowel cancer (3). Plants on the other hand, do not contain any of these chemicals, but instead contain plenty of cancer-fighting nutrients which can fight mutated cells and degrade cancer cells.
Meat and dairy consumption also raises the hormone IGF-1, which plays an essential role in cell proliferation and cell death. Uncontrolled cell proliferation is a defining characteristic of cancer. That's why IGF-1 is a key factor in causing or preventing tumour growth. The body permanently fights damaged or mutated cells which can start growing uncontrolled and become cancerous if not destroyed. It is very important to keep the bio-marker IGF-1 low, as it inhibits cell death and promotes cell growth. However, people who consume animal products have permanently higher levels of IGF-1 (4). Areas with very low to no meat and dairy intake have a very low cancer risk, in comparison to the Western world and its high meat/dairy consumption, where cancer is the second most common cause of death after heart disease.
If you are keen to prevent or reverse cancer, it is highly recommended to change your lifestyle by eating an only plant-based diet. Very beneficial for cancer prevention is also meditation, breath-work and yoga, to go outside (the best into nature), and to give the body the chance to heal itself.
Sonja from SOS Free.