Cancer has touched so many lives. Most of us either know someone personally who has experienced cancer or have had cancer ourselves. It’s become so common that I’m regularly asked about a cancer preventative diet or what to eat while healing from cancer. It’s a very popular question.
Google “cancer” and “diet” and you’ll get incredibly scary, confusing, and frustratingly inconsistent information. One website will say a food or supplement is supportive and the next will say not to use it. You just can’t win.
But, from my research and my experience working in integrative cancer care, an anti-cancer diet (both for prevention and healing) can be simple, straightforward, and effective. I won’t be talking about any “miracle cures”; instead these are research-proven and effective dietary recommendations. And for many of you, they’re foods you’ll already find in your cupboard.
Enjoy whole foods – these are foods that are ingredients, not ones that have ingredient lists. Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, etc are very healing foods. Processed and packaged foods can contain questionable ingredients, refined sugar, and are usually missing important nutrients.
Healthy Fats – most of us are unknowingly eating a low fat diet, and your immune system needs fat to function properly. Look at your skin, is it dry? If so, you need more fat. Add at least 1 tsp of healthy, unprocessed fat to each meal. Health fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter, and avocado.
Antiangiogenic Foods – these are powerful anti-cancer foods. Many types of tumors will trigger the growth of blood vessels so they can grow quickly. Antiangiogenic foods slow the growth arteries and blood vessels, making it harder for the tumor to grow. These are healthy foods like green tea, turmeric, berries, kale, and citrus. Vincent Li has a great TED talk on this topic.
Relaxation – Okay, this isn’t a food but it’s important. And I know that saying no to stress is easier said than done, but every minute you spend in a relaxed state you give your body and immune system a chance to heal. Every moment of ahhhhh counts.
Supplements – the most important cancer preventative supplements are simple ones like: Vitamin D, Fish oil, Lycopene (esp. if prostate cancer is of concern), and medicinal mushrooms like reishi.
Right now you might be thinking – why didn’t she talk about *insert food or concept here* ???? Yes, you’re right, I could talk about many other things but from my experience this is a great place to start.
And, lastly, stressing about doing everything perfectly is not healing. But enjoying the food you eat and the life you live is. Take a deep breathe, relax, and enjoy some lovely whole foods.