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Do anti-cancer superfoods really work? From all of the scientific research that is rolling in, the answer is "YES!" They really do. While studies are ongoing, and in many cases experts still don't know exactly how these superfoods work, there's strong evidence that certain fruits and vegetables rich in plant-based nutrients can both prevent tumors from starting and halt their growth. Here are the top foods (certainly not all) to work into the family diet if you'd like to cut cancer risk or help those with cancer recover. 

The rich, dark colors of blueberries, Brazilian acai berries, raspberries and cranberries come from phytochemicals that protect against numerous types of cancer. Most recently, researchers at the University of Florida found that the active ingredient in acai berries destroyed cancer cells when tested in cell cultures. And blueberries and muscadine grapes contain compounds that recent research shows cause cancer cells in the liver to self-destruct. In studies particularly important to women, cranberries have recently been discovered to be an important weapon in the fight against deadly ovarian cancer. Studies reported at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society found that ovarian cancer cells that were becoming resistant to platinum chemotherapy – the standard of care for ovarian cancer – became six times more sensitive when exposed to a compound in cranberries.

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One of the first plant-based chemicals to be studied for its anti-cancer properties, catechins -- the chemicals in green tea -- have been known for some time to prevent and reduce recurrence of breast and other cancers. With this particular chemical, experts even know why: a chemical known as EGCG inhibits breast tumor growth. Just two cups a day is enough to do the trick.


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Numerous studies over the years (more than 30 different studies to date) have documented the anti-cancer properties of garlic. The strongest evidence so far has focused on digestive cancers, but garlic appears to protect against all types of cancer, including breast and prostate. According to the National Cancer Institute, an analysis of seven different large-scale population studies showed that the more raw and cooked garlic a person consumed, the lower his risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. One study found that middle-aged women who regularly consumed garlic had a 50 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer. Scientists have isolated two active ingredients in garlic, allicin and allyl sulfur, and demonstrated that they prevent and fight cancer in both animals and humans; you can take garlic in supplement form but the capsules must be enteric-coated to protect these active ingredients. Add crushed, fresh garlic to your meals whenever possible; some experts also recommend waiting 15 minutes between peeling and chopping the garlic to get the full effects of the active compounds

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.British researchers made headlines last year with a study that showed that men with early signs of developing prostate cancer prevented tumor growth by eating broccoli four times a week. Other studies have shown anti-cancer benefits from eating cabbage, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables. While I am not a huge fan of cabbage and brussel sprouts, I do love broccoli and cauliflower and eat these delicious veggies at least three times a week, raw and cooked.

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Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci reviewed 72 different studies published by the National Cancer Institute, and concluded that lycopene, the active chemical in tomatoes, lowered the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer. 


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The hype about red wine centers on an antioxidant called resveratrol that's present in grapes and grape juice, but is most concentrated in red wine. Numerous studies show that resveratrol possesses powerful anti-cancer activity.  The problem, however, is that higher alcohol intake has been linked to cancer as well, particularly breast and esophageal cancer. The solution? One glass of red wine a day, unless you're at risk for or have one of these types of cancer, or red wine gives you a very painful allergic headache!  Resveratrol supplements are, perhaps, a better choice.



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The orange-yellow spice turmeric, best known for its role in Indian curries and other Asian dishes, fights cancer because of an active ingredient, curcumin, that's a powerful antioxidant. Watch out, though; according to the American Cancer Society, turmeric made certain anti-cancer drugs less effective when studied in animals and test tubes. Cancer patients shouldn't add a lot of turmeric to their diets or take curcumin supplements without talking to their doctors first.


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The active ingredient in soy is genistein, which is a phytoestrogen that protects against hormone-dependent cancers. It's also a powerful inhibitor of several proteins that are implicated in the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. To get the anti-cancer benefits of soy, you need to consume about 25-75 grams per day of the whole food, such as raw fresh soybeans, known as edamame, dry roasted soybeans, or tofu. The research to date shows that supplements containing isoflavones don't work with the same action as soybeans themselves and in fact can be bad for you rather than good.

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According to researchers in Ireland, who released studies in the past two years showing that eating watercress everyday can prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – but conducted in Ulster where people are more comfortable eating watercress -- found that antioxidants in the nutrient-rich greens prevented free radicals from damaging healthy cells. Spinach, which we're all more familiar with, is also a cancer-fighter; research conducted by the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas showed spinach to protect against bladder cancer. The chemical that gives spinach its dark green color, chlorophyllin, proved to reduce the risk of liver cancer in research by the National Academy of Sciences. Who cares about muscles? Well, I do, but here's a much more important reason to eat your greens.

When undergoing chemotherapy treatments, I supplemented my diet with these super foods as well as some Chinese herbs and some other nutritional supplements that I won't mention in this blog, but I promise I will talk about in upcoming discussions.

It's important to remember that an anti-cancer diet or nutritional supplements should not be used in place of doctor-recommended treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The experts in this field strongly recommend that those who've already been diagnosed with cancer use anti-cancer nutrients to bolster traditional medical cancer treatment, not to replace it.  

Break time...off to eat a snack of delicious grapes!  Blessings and Health to all of you!

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Cancer is a very personal disease. Your cancer is as individual as you are (there are over 200 different kinds of cancer) and treating it cannot be formulaic. Some people believe their faith was as important as the chemotherapy; some people believe their doctor cured them, others went nowhere near an orthodox therapy, and some used a combination of faith, western medicine and alternative medicine.
 
Whatever long term survivors people did, whatever they took, whatever they believed, all of them are living proof that you can beat cancer.  When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and then ovarian cancer in 2006, I was determined to do everything I could do to survive.  Am I still here because I "did" those things? As I've said many times before, I haven't a clue, but after reading success stories from all round the world - stories of people who have used a variety of Programs to overcome different types of cancer, I have come to believe that our odds for survival can definitely be increased.

There does seem to be a common thread that runs throughout the survival community...these patients related to cancer as a frightening, unpleasant intrusion or challenge who came to wake them up to how severely their lives had become toxic and out of balance.  Not only did they begin to cherish their bodies by providing nourishing food each and every day, but they placed their whole being under a psychic microscope to dial in to every aspect of their live-style choices.  This infers that those diagnosed with cancer can quite possibly regain control by making the changes to their diet and lifestyle to complement their conventional medical treatment and help them to overcome cancer. 

Most programs include these three key elements: 1) Dietary changes = eliminating cancer-causing foods and drinks from your diet,   2) Add in the most powerful cancer-preventing foods and drinks, 3) Cut your exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in your home and environment, 4) Decrease stress through exercise, meditation, increased self-awareness, and 5) Decreasing toxic people, increasing loving support.

Naturally, I began to ask myself where in my life had I become out of balance. I recall often waking up with a dark cloud of depression hanging over me. It was as if I was feeling the sun setting on my world and I wasn't ready to leave.  One morning, I reached for an old journal of mine and was brought up short by the following words from May Sarton, who was was known for inviting impeccable integrity into one's life. "To be honest is to expose wounds, and also to wound —withdrawal, censorship, the wish to keep the surfaces smooth because any eruption spells danger and must therefore be prevented, is costly also. Censorship simply drives conflict deeper inside. What is never discussed does not for that reason cease to exist. On the contrary, it may fester and finally become a killing poison."  I had read these words before and, obviously, they resonated with me. I had written them down!  I realized that my default position in life was to swallow my feelings, especially anger and shame, say nothing, and remain pleasant. Woody Allen once said,  "I don't get angry, I grow tumors instead."  Yep.

When May Sarton spoke of exposing wounds, and also to wound, I began to see that this truth had as much to do with exposing and admitting to myself my imbalances and vulnerabilities, not necessarily having the need to point out those weaknesses of someone else.That's easy...isn't it?  To criticize others with the one finger pointing out and three fingers pointing back at 'yours truly'? I discovered three big "gotta look ats" (there were more than three but hey, baby steps!). These were the super-glued tendencies I had where I felt I needed to heal;  1) Martyrdom  2) Being always pleasant and nice  and 3)  Self-defensiveness (how nicely I thought it hid my imperfections). I didn't have to grovel around in the dirt to discover my "stuff."  It all oozed up to the surface fairly quickly once I was determined to make changes, life-giving changes. Once I recognized those sneaky little devils who had been running my life, and more importantly, my SHAME around them, they began to retreat from my daily behaviors bit-by-bit. My life was beginning to feel lighter and more in balance when I discovered I had nothing to hide!  More to come... As Magnus Molliner so eloquently said, "Create yourself a great loving day!"

Please note: As you read my story, realize it is MY story, MY opinions. I am not advocating any of you adhere to the thoughts, ideas, or principles I ascribe to.  We each must walk this journey with a keen eye turned inward to what feels right for us individually.  Find out what feels right for YOU!  Isn't that what our journey is really all about!
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