Can we fight cancer with nutrition?: Holistic Cancer therapy - Karen Berrios

Can we fight cancer with nutrition?: Holistic Cancer therapy

There was a time when we used to think the stomach (our gut) was just for digestive purposes.

We eat the thing, we digest the thing, the thing comes out in our bowels.

We thought of the gut as so simple, as food as something so simple. Where a calorie was equal to a calorie and that was the only thing to focus on. Hitting your macros exactly right was one of the top things to consider.

Nowadays, we know better. Or rather, we should know better. Preventing and treating cancer should have a huge emphasis on food. And yet, there are still many doctors who treat the food we eat and our guts without much thought- so long as we don’t gain weight. That’s all they really look at.

What we eat matters when it comes to preventing and healing cancer. Because total body health is tied to our gut and our gut is tied to food!

Those who practice holistic health understand that food is medicine. Every bite can promote health or encourage disease.

Our guts are these vast forests of good and bad bacteria that send signals throughout our body to help with many processes and dictate a lot of what we are feeling. We know our gut is tied to our immune system. We know our gut is tied to our mood and outlook on life. Therefore, it can be concluded that our gut controls a lot.

So the question, can we fight cancer with nutrition? My short answer is yes. Because now that we know about gut health and cancer, we know that nutrition is a player in both. So let’s explore exactly which foods are going to fight cancer with nutrition. Consider this one of the first holistic cancer therapies that one should try.

Fighting cancer with nutrition

Eat the richest variety of plants you could possibly consume

One of the best things you can possibly do for yourself on your cancer journey is eat a wide array of plants. Many people either aren’t used to eating many plants at all, or they have their favorites that they gravitate towards again and again.

Maybe they eat one avocado every day. Their salad always contains spinach as the base. The only potato they eat at dinner is a sweet potato and sometimes they will have a side of broccoli or cauliflower. Maybe some mushrooms here and there. Perhaps the fruit on their counter is always simply just bananas, oranges, and apples. Maybe even this sounds like a bigger variety to most people!

But the fact is- you want even more diversity than that. Vegetarians have a reduced cancer risk and it is attributed to the fact that they eat more plants. The study stated, “Vegetarian and vegan diets increase beneficial plant foods and plant constituents, eliminate the intake of red and processed meat, and aid in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The direct and indirect evidence taken together suggests that vegetarian diets are a useful strategy for reducing the risk of cancer.”

Add in a variety, and you are making yourself even more bullet-proof. The Mayo Clinic says this, “Decades of research suggests that the best diet for cancer prevention is all about plants. That means lots of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. An explanation: Plants produce many phytochemicals (literally, plant chemicals) that may protect cells from damage. Phytochemicals have many beneficial effects, including that they are anti-inflammatory”

There are MANY beneficial phytochemicals that someone would want to take advantage of. There are over 4,000 found, although only 150 of them have been studied in depth. (Source) To limit yourself to only ~10 or so different plants a week would be to limit the number of cancer-fighting phytochemicals you could be consuming!

You could eat a head of broccoli every single day. That would be good, but it would be better to eat the same amount in volume between multiple different vegetables than just one.

Personally I aim to get at least 5 different plants in EACH of my meals, every single day. And my days rotate, I am always eating different things! Variety stays top of mind for me.

Start drinking your whole-food raw juice

Raw is best. Mostly vegetables are best. And organic is best. But of course, we do what we can. I firmly believe that juicing is a big healing practice for both preventing and treating cancer, as it allows phytochemicals to go straight into the bloodstream and you can get a wide array of them.

Juicing is also easier on the stomach, and this is important for cancer patients as many of them have digestion upset issues.

Every tip is connected to others. It is holistic, hence embarking on a holistic healing journey. For instance, one reason that drinking juice regularly IS important is because of the variety you can get from it. It’s harder to get ten vegetables on a plate, it is easy to get ten vegetables in a juice. Again, Research shows us that a variety of phytochemicals in our body is important. It helps our gut flora and overall helps us function better in general. Read up on most scientific analysis on the subject, and you will note the importance of varying phytochemicals in our diet, why juicing can help achieve that, and how doing so can even prevent other diseases beyond just cancer.

And many diseases start in the gut! Green juice nourishes the gut.

Phytochemicals fight DNA damage

This is another way that nutrition can fight cancer: it all starts on a cellular level. It all starts with protecting our cells, our DNA. And once the damage is done, being able to repair them! And possibly come back stronger!

When working with a functional medicine doctor, cancer patients are often told to look at their health on a cellular level first- which is where DNA comes into play. Phytochemicals have been shown to prevent DNA damage which thus labels phytochemicals as mechanisms that can help prevent cancer. The more damaged our DNA is, the more likely one is to experience cancer. It is simple biology.

Some studies have gone as far as to say that phytochemicals can modulate epigenetic alterations of DNA methylation. Genetic mutations cannot be reversed, but epigenetic alterations can actually be restored to their normal state.

Sometimes we think in order to make a change in our body we need to do something drastic. Something expensive. Something time-consuming. When really, sometimes it’s something as small as what we are putting in our mouths that really make the biggest difference. And yes, I do think it makes the biggest difference. More than anything else!

If I had to choose between my sauna therapies, my IV therapies, or simply just eating a ton of phytochemicals via plants-- I would choose a heavy plant-based diet.

Finding a doctor who works with you holistically

The thing that is going to be tough for many, is finding Western Medicine Doctors who listen to their patients wants for more holistic healing. To see how they can (or cannot) combine holistic healing with other therapies.

As famed doctor, Dr. Patrick Quillin once stated on his blog:

“There’s a chronic health problem in our country that we have to address head on. That problem is the lack of holistic or ‘whole-body’ understanding throughout the mainstream medical community about how our bodies, our nutrition and our minds work together naturally to heal disease… especially cancer. In fact, nutrition is not even taught in most medical schools! You can become a certified medical doctor today without having an ounce of knowledge about nutrition. It’s NOT their fault, the establishment plays their own set of rules. They need doctors who will keep prescribing pills, surgery, radiation, chemo and more to maintain the status quo.”

We need shift blame but also fight our right to be heard. Alongside your Oncologist you can also work with functional doctors, alternative healers, and holistic nutritionists to get more perspective on your journey and to add even more healing to your life. The latter three will place a big interest on your diet, whereas the first one (Oncologist or Western MD) will not.

Whether you have a team or it is just you and your doctor, remember that you are empowered to change your own life through nutrition. Having help is a bonus, but can certainly be done alone just by learning and seeking other free opinions and education out there.

Final thoughts

You certainly can fight cancer with nutrition. I believe it to be our biggest defense in preventing cancer that we can control. To deny yourself a wide array of phytochemicals on a daily basis would be to deny your body to live at its highest self.

I also believe that once you have cancer, healing it is also multifactorial. So while a plant-based diet may be a huge factor for healing for you, you should also be looking at other therapies to find what is right for you. For me, I did a combination of things: Eat plant-rich, sauna, IV therapies, sonodynamic therapy, immunotherapy, etc.

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