Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention – Food additives, safety, and organic foods
Concern about the possible effects of food additives on health, including cancer, is one reason that many people are now interested in organic foods. Organic foods are often promoted as an alternative to foods grown with conventional methods that use chemical pesticides and herbicides, hormones, or antibiotics. These compounds cannot be used for foods labeled as “organic.” Organic foods, as defined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), also exclude genetically modified foods or foods that have been irradiated.
Dr. Stegall’s Comment: Studies on the long-term effects of food additives, including GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, and pesticides, are very difficult to perform. Common sense tells us that altering food from its natural state is a bad idea, but it will be a long time before research bears this out. The reason for this is because it is nearly impossible to put test subjects on exclusively clean, organic foods for years and compare their health to those who did not eat this way. Nonetheless, this is a situation where I recommend playing it safe by eating organic, non-GMO foods whenever possible.
Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet
It has been estimated that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. Obesity, nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that contribute to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes), low fiber intake, consumption of red meat, and imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats all contribute to excess cancer risk.
The field of investigation of the role of nutrition in the cancer process is very broad. It is becoming clearer as research continues that nutrition plays a major role in cancer.
Dr. Stegall’s Comment: Diet matters a great deal when we are talking about cancer, whether the focus is on preventing cancer or treating active cancer. Research is starting to catch up to what many integrative physicians have been saying for years about nutrition. Eat as close to the earth as possible, meaning that food you eat should be minimally processed. I advise people to purchase most of their foods from the periphery of the supermarket, as this is where the healthiest food tends to be. Because so much of our food is affected by pesticides, GMOs, and other nasty environmental toxins, it is imperative to read labels and know what you are putting into your body.
What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Breast Cancer?
Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health.
If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.
Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.
Dr Stegall’s Comment: This is an outstanding article examining the research on what an anti-cancer diet might look like. Although this was published in 2004, the focus on vegetables, healthy fats, and effective supplementation still applies today. Avoiding refined grains and sugars is also still appropriate. However, in the 12 years since this was written, we have learned a few things which were not reflected in this article, including the health benefits of red meat provided that it is grass-fed. Also, we have since learned that we need far more than 1000 IU of vitamin D supplementation daily.