Follow simple yet healthy rules to cheat cancer

Follow simple yet healthy rules to cheat cancer
Human beings are bound to die some day, but in today’s world, lifestyle-related diseases cause people to die before their time. A classic example is the death of Steve Jobs. He died of pancreatic cancer. This cancer was thought to be hereditary, but doctors like S Shrikhande, head of gastro intestinal surgery department at Tata hospital in Mumbai, say that more and more people are falling prey to this type of cancer due to the fatty foods they eat. According to him, over 30 per cent of the cancers in Mumbai were either pancreatic or lung cancer.

How does cancer occur? All of us have cancer cells in our bodies. But these cells will not develop into full blown cancer in all of us because we all have a natural defence systems like our immune system, bodily functions that control inflammation, and foods that reduce the growth of blood vessels needed by tumours.

Inflammation is said to be one of the main factors for the development of cancer in a body. Inflammation can be caused in a body via a wound. Whilst the body of a person with a sound immune system would use its normal mechanism of repairing the wound and thus reducing inflammation around the wound, a person whose immune system is compromised may not be so lucky.

According to Harold Dvorak, professor of pathology in Harvard Medical School, more than one cancer in six is directly linked to a chronic inflammatory state. For example, the formation of cervical cancer is directly linked to the inflammation caused by a chronic infection of papilloma virus. The same applies to cancers of the colon, of the stomach and the liver, to name a few.

Instead of our genes, our lifestyle and environment account for 90-95 per cent of our most chronic illnesses. Only 5-10 per cent of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90-95 per cent have their roots in the environment and lifestyle.

Researchers say that by 2020, the world population is expected to have increased to 7.5 billion. Of this number, approximately 15 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and 12 million cancer patients will die.

An analysis of European population data (the EPIC study) conducted at the Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute concluded that eating more fruits and vegetables has “a protective effect against cancer”. In this population, an increase of 200 grammes a day of fruits and vegetables resulted in a reduction of about three per cent of cancer risk. (Bofetta et al, 2010)

Some lifestyle measures that could be beneficial to leading a healthy lifestyle are simple, and once they become an integral part of one’s life, easy to adhere to. Dr David Servan-Shreiber gives some tips in his book, Anticancer, a new way of life:

n Try to maintain a body mass index (BMI) between 20 and 25 (preferably 21 to 23).

n Avoid sweet drinks and limit your sugar intake.

n Eat less of high calorie food, avoiding those with a high percentage of added sugar or fat content, or low in fibre.

n Increase your consumption of fruits, whole cereals and vegetables.

n Limit your consumption of non-vegetarian food.

n Limit your alcoholic consumption.

n Restrict salted food and products containing added salt, such as crisps and peanuts.

n Vary the vegetables you eat from one meal to the next, or mix them together — broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomato sauce, onions or garlic.

n Choose organic foods whenever possible.

n Add turmeric (with black pepper) when cooking as it is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent.

n Ensure you use a lot of herbs like thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, among others since they help reduce the growth of cancer cells.

n Avoid potatoes since they raise blood sugar, which can feed inflammation and cancer growth.

n Use only unrefined cold pressed oil. Eat organic whole grains. Avoid refined, white flour whenever possible.

n Drink three cups of green tea per day. Regular consumption of green tea has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk for developing cancer.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)

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