Tag Archives: cancer

Boost Your Health with Asparagus

The name Asparagus comes from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and its name in English evolved from “sperage” to “sparrow grass”, and then back to its original name. The slim green rods with its “braised” tips give you a great health boost.

Asparagus contain compounds that can help fight birth defects, heart disease, cancer, support a healthy skin and strengthen your immune system.

Charged with Folate
One of the most important medical discoveries of the 20th century was that the incidence of brain and spiral cord birth defects (called neural tube defects), could be cut in half if women who were of childbearing age, got 400 micro grams of folate a day.

Asparagus are charged up with folate, a B vitamin that is essential to regenerate cells.Five asparagus spears contain 110 micro grams of folate, about 28% of the essential daily value. (DV)  If you’re pregnant, you may want to enjoy a double serving of those green spears.

Pregnant women need 600 micro grams daily, and women who are breastfeeding need 500 micro grams, according to the national Institutes of Health.

Apart from the health benefits for pregnant women, folate also fight heart disease in anyone. Folate may act as a flood gate, controlling the amount of homocycteine, that’s in the bloodstream. Homocycteine is an amino acid that appears to damage the linings of the arteries.) When your folate levels drop, your homocysteine levels rise, which can cause damage to the arteries, supplying blood to your heart and brain.

Research is showing possible connections between folate intake, homocycteine, and the risk of cognitive problems, particularly signs Alzheimer’s disease.

One study on a large group of people found that their risk of Alzheimer’s was
doubled if they had elevated homocysteine levels.

The amount of folate in your diet is also associated with a lower risk of cancer. Studies have shown that people with the most amount of folate in their blood were the ones least likely to develop colon cancer. Asparagus offer powerful protection against cancer.
It contains a number of compounds that essentially double-team cancer-causing substances before they do harm.

Another protective compound in asparagus is glutathione, one of the antioxidants, which is most powerful. It helps to neutralize free radicals, responsible for the development of cancer.
In an analysis of 38 vegetables, freshly cooked asparagus ranked first for its glutathione content.

What is Breast Cancer?

To answer the question “What is breast cancer?”, we have to start with the fundamentals, the smallest parts our bodies are made up with: the human cells.

When we talk about aging, getting sick and getting disease, usually we don’t realize that we don’t, but actually our cells do. The health of our body depends on how healthy our cells are. The human body is made up of about 80 trillion cells.
Those cells continually replicate themselves.
Consequently, to slow down our aging process and limit our change of getting sick we have to protect and feed our cells properly.

Our cells are made up of atoms. If these cells are healthy, they consist of paired electrons. Healthy cells replicate and keep our body young and disease free. But if atoms are missing electrons, they destroy surrounding atoms by “stealing” their electrons. Atoms that are missing an electron are called “free radicals”. Free radicals alter or  destroy cells and
are the cause of premature aging, sickness and disease, like cancer, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and many others.

Every day, the DNA in each cell in your body faces about 10,000 attacks from
cell-damaging free radicals.
Free radicals are naturally produced as your body turns fuel to energy, but you also get them from pollution in air and water, stress, smoking and radiation from the sun.

These volatile molecules cruise around your body trying to stabilize themselves
by stealing electrons from other molecules. When they succeed, they create
still more free radicals, causing a sort of snowballing procession of damage.

Free radicals don’t just occasionally pop up here and there. Up to 5% of the
oxygen that each cell uses is converted into free radicals.

Free radical damage is thought to play a role in the accumulation of low-density
lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the lining of your artery walls.
This can lead to a narrowing of the arteries called atherosclerosis, which
contributes to heart disease. And when free radicals damage DNA inside the cells,
it can replicate a damaged cell.The results can be cell mutations that lead to cancer.

Pollution in our environment, pesticides and insecticides used on our land, water treated with chlorine and smoking are sources of free radicals.

So what’s the solution? Fortunately, there are antioxidants who have extra electrons to give away to free radicals, which eliminates their harmful effect and are our body’s defense against the harmful effect of free radicals, causing aging, sickness and disease like cancer.

Cabbage contains an abundance of vitamins, C, E, and carotene and two compounds that studies show can help prevent cancer.
Researchers reviewed almost 100 studies that evaluated the relationship between cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and cancer. They found that in 70% of the studies, cabbage consumption was associated with a lower risk of cancer. Cabbage is particularly effective in preventing breast-, lung-, and prostate cancer.

However, only 2% of these vitamins are present in the average American diet.
Most Americans today don’t eat their cabbage or any other vegetable.The average intake is less than one serving per day of either fruit or vegetables.

The first of these compounds, indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, is especially effective against
breast cancer. The compound acts as an antiestrogen, which means that it sweeps up harmful estrogens that have been linked to breast cancer.

Most breast cancer is linked to deficit in estrogen metabolism.
The under-nourished female body can’t deactivate its estrogen properly. It uses what is called the estradiol 16-alpha hydroxylation pathway, which leaves the hormone still active enough to cause cell transformation in the breast (and reproductive organs).
Over years these cells gradually transform to cancer.The properly nourished female body, however, uses what is called the estradiol 2-alpha hydroxilation pathway, which neutralizes the hormone completely and never leads to breast cancer.

The other compound found in cabbage, called sulforaphane, has been shown to inhibit carcionogens and aid in DNA repair.

Women in Poland eat three times as much cabbage,especially raw cabbage,
as women in the US.
Researchers studied hundreds of Polish women living in the US and found that women who ate four or more servings of cabbage per week while preteens were 72% less likely to develop breast cancer as adults than the women who ate one serving or less of cabbage a week while preteens. Eating lots of cabbage as adults also provided significant cancer protection.

Dr. Donald Malins, a biochemist from Seatle, reported a new method fot identifying structural changes in the DNA of breast tissues. By using an instrument that bounces  infrared radiation off the DNA and by analyzing the signals via a sophisticated computer, he was able to follow the structual damage to the DNA caused by free radicals.

Researchers agree with Malins that the development of cancer is a multistage process that usually takes decades to develop. In adults, cancer may take twenty or even thirty years to develop from the initial mutation of the DNA to its full-blown manifestation. In children, this process may develop more quickly because of their more rapid cell turnover.


Malins noted significant changes within the structure of the DNA as he followed it from normal breast tissue to metastatic breast cancer in all its developmental stages.

Dr Malin believed oxidative stress was the cause of this predictable damage to
the DNA, which eventually led to the formation of breast cancer.
He further argued that cancer was not so much the result of disfunctional genes as it was the result of genetic damage that highly reactive free radicals caused.

For the past forty years, researchers have believed that abnormal genes are the driving force behind all cancers. But now researchers are beginning to believe instead that individuals with certain genes are simply more vulnerable to oxidative stress than others. This may explain the familial patterns of many types of cancer.

Nutritional science offers us the greatest hope in our fight against cancer and
several other degenerative diseases.
They not only help to prevent cancer but may actually enhance the traditional chemo- and radiation therapy.
How can the process of building up the body’s natural defence be bad?
Shouldn’t physicians want their patients to be as healthy as possible,since cancer treatments are going to put patients under the greatest stress they have had to endure in their lives?

Natural antioxidants and their supporting nutrients are the ideal chemo-preventive agents for many reasons.

* They limit and even prevent the free-radical damage to the DNA nucleus of
the cell.
* They provide the proper nutrients needed for the body to repear any damage that has been done already.
* They are save and may be taken over a lifetime. (Pharmaceutical drugs do not share this advantage. Tamoxifen, which has been shown to decrease the risk
of breast cancer, has very serious side effects.)
* They are relatively inexpensive.
* They provide the best defense against further advancement of cancer.
* They protect the body against oxidative stress that chemotherapy and radiation create.
* They support the cancer-fighting ability of chemotherapy and radiation.
* They inhibit the replication and growth of the cancer.
* They have been shown to cause tumor regression in some cases.

We can’t deny that the effectiveness of traditional cancer treatments has reached a plateau. Oncologists and radiation therapists must become more open-minded about antioxidant use in their patients. As researchers seriously consider the use of multiple antioxidants at optimal levels, cancer prevention and treatment may well be revolutionized. In the meantime, the research that is presently available supports the use of antioxidants in all stages of chemo- prevention and cancer therapy.

The CSIRO has given practical guidelines to minimize free-radical damage.
You can read them in my article: How to protect against cancer.

Phytonutrients: compounds from the Garden for good Health

Within plant foods are thousands of compounds that are taking the diet-disease connection to an exciting new level.Science call these compounds phytochemicals or phytonutrients, that means chemicals or nutrients found in plants.

They are there to help our garden survive and strive.
Potent sulfur compounds in garlic and unions, for instance, act as bug repellents to keep
the vegetables healthy. Other compounds protect plants from bacteria, viruses, and other
natural enemies. When we eat plant foods, these compounds protect us, too – not from
bugs but from the forces that wreak havoc in our bodies.

We have known for many years that we need vitamins and minerals from our food
to maintain good health, and to prevent malnutrition and diseases such as rickets and scurvy. But research revealed that the essential nutrients we all know, such as vitamin A and E, are just the beginning. See also my page: health-and-fitness

Most likely some of these previously unknown compounds will fight not only deficiency-type diseases such as anemia, but also age-related illnesses such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

And the research has only begun. Scientists are discovering more phytochemicals all
the time and also ways in which theses compounds fight disease.

Neutralizing Free Radicals

Each member of the large family of phytonutrients work indifferent ways.
However, their most common weapons against disease appear to be their antioxidant
abilities.

Every day your body is under attack by harmful substances known as free radicals.
These are oxygen molecules who have lost an electron, due to pollution, sunlight,
stress, smoking, physical activity, and sunlight. As they attempt to regain there
missing electrons, they travel through your body and stealing electrons from your
body cells and sometimes from your DNA wherever they can.

Unless this chain reaction is stopped, the result is huge numbers of damaged
molecules and, over time, damage and disease.

For example, cholesterol is a useful and helpful substance. But when cholesterol
molecules are damaged by free radicals, they start to stick to the lining of
artery walls, causing hardened arteries and heart disease.

Another example: When free radicals attack molecules in the DNA of your body cells,
the genetic blueprint that tells your cells how to function, is damaged.
This can spark dangerous cell changes that lead to cancer and other diseases.
Even the aging process itself, scientists believe,is caused by free-radical damage.
The powerful antioxidants of phytonutrients in plants can literally save your life.

Essentially, they step between the free radicals and your body’s cells, offering up
their own electrons. When free radicals grab these “free” electrons, they become
stable again and do no further damage. Most phytonutrients are potent antioxidants.

Eliminating Toxic Wastes

Another way phytonutrients keep us healthy is by neutrolizing and flushing
toxic chemicals from our bodies before they make us sick. They do this by
manipulating enzymes known as phase-1 and phase-2 enzymes, explains Gary Stoner, PhD, professor and cancer researcher at Ohio State University in Columbus.
Phase-1 enzymes are like double agents. They are created by your body and are

important for normal cell function. But they also have the ability to work
against you. When cancer-causing toxins enter your system, phase-1 enzymes
help make them active. Phase-2 enzymes, on the other hand, are real good guys.
They seek out carcinogens and detoxify them before they can do damage.

When you eat broccoli or other vegetables, some of the phytoneutrients begin
stomping out the enemy phase-1 enzymes while increasing the production of
helper phase-2 enzymes. This process helps neutralize various cancer-causing
toxins that naturally accumulate in your body.

Regulating Hormones

A third way in which phytoneutrients fend off disease is by keeping certain
hormones – most notably the female sex hormone estrogen – at healthy levels.
Estrogen is “good news” and “bad news” kind of hormone. When it’s produced at
normal levels, it helps control everything, from menstruation to childbirth.
At the same time, it helps keep artery-clogging cholesterol in check, thus
preventing heart disease. When estrogen levels rise, however, they can fuel
hormone-stimulated cancers like breast cancer and cancer of the ovaries,
according to researchers.

There are several ways in which phytoneutrients keep estrogen at proper levels.
For example, a class of phytonutrients called isoflavones is extremely similar

to natural estrogen. When we eat foods containing isoflavones, these faux
hormones bind to the body’s estrogen receptors, leaving the real hormone with
nowhere to go but out.

Although estrogen is often referred to as if it were one hormone, in fact
there are different forms. One kind of estrogen, called 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone,
has been linked to breast cancer. Another form, 2-hydroxyestrone, appears to
be harmless. Certain phytonutrients are able to increase levels of the harmless form of estrogen, while decreasing levels of the dangerous kind.

Eating Your Medicine

From the previously mentioned facts it shows that phytonutrients bring in a diversity of
powerful defences. As a matter of fact, their potential is staggering.
Scientists forecast that in the near future these compounds will be used for treating disease in the hospital and for prevention at home, as was the case with vitamins and minerals.


Till then, scientists emphases that the only way to get the phytonutrients your body needs
is to eat them as Mother Nature brings them. That means eating fruits and vegetables at 
least nine servings per day for good health.
Scientists learn new things every day about this huge class of compounds that the glass
of orange juice contains that you have for breakfast in the morning and in the site salad
at lunchtime.

If you like to know more about plant-based nutrition, visit: http://nutritionstudies.org/

Vitamin C Essential for Good Health

The benefits of Vitamin C go beyond the generally known relieve of colds and flu.
It also helps the body to make collagen, a tough, fibrous protein that helps to build
connective tissue, skin, bones, and teeth, and it also plays a role in wound healing.

There is also some evidence that foods high in vitamin C and other antioxidants can
reduce the inflammation from asthma and return the airways to normal.
I refer to Nutrition Facts.org and my page: nutrition

Osteoarthritis
Doctors believed for many years that osteoarthritis was a “natural” result of wear an tear
on the joints. Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine studied the eating
habits of people with osteoarthritis of the knee. They found that those getting the most
vitamin C – more than 200 milligrams per day – were three times less likely to have the
disease get worse than those who got the least.

Cancer
Vitamin C also has been shown to help prevent cancer-causing compounds from forming
in the digestive tract. Gladys Block PhD, professor of epidemiology and public health
nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed dozens of studies that looked
at the relationship between vitamin C and cancer. From the 44 studies she examined, 33
showed that people who consumed the most of this vitamin  had the lowest risk of cancer.

Diabetes
If you have diabetes, fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and E may be your ticket to healthier eyes, nerves, and blood vessels.These vitamins are known as antioxidants.
They help protect your body’s cells against free radicals, naturally occur  cell-damaging
molecules that may pose particular risks to people with diabetes.

Rheumatism
People who are suffering from rheumatism also need Vitamin C
This vitamin strengthens the connective tissue which hold the cells together.
Connective tissue forms the sinews, ligaments, and cartilage of the body.
When this vitamin is lacking, the connective tissue loses its tone and loses its defense
against harmful bacteria and viruses.
Strong connective tissue protect the cells against infection.

Capillaries
Vitamin C also strengthens the blood vessel walls and it is the capillaries
that are affected most by a vitamin C deficiency.
When this happens, the capillaries break down and blood leaks from them
into the tissues. These tiny haemorrhages occur also in the joints, and
causes rheumatic pain. (When capillaries break near the surface of the skin,
the escaping blood discolors the skin and results in a bruise.
The capillaries exist in such an abundance in the human body, that if the
capillaries of one man were stretched out in a single line, they would reach
two and a half times around the earth!

With every type of disease the capillaries will be harmed and conversely,
by strengthening them, every diseased state will be helped.
The capillaries supply food, oxygen, and hormones to every cell in the body.
They also remove waste products from metabolism and disease.
When the capillaries are strong, the risk of infection is greatly reduced and
infections are quickly thrown off.

Male Infertility
If men don’t get enough vitamin C,  sperm lose some of their forward momentum.
They get sticky and start clumping together, a  problem doctors call agglutination.
Once men start getting more vitamin C, however, sperm increase in number   and
quickly pick up speed.

Smokers
Getting more vitamin C is particularly important for men who smoke.
Studies have shown that smokers who get extra vitamin C in their diets  will have
healthier, more active sperm than those who don’t.

Vitamin C is also essential for healthy bone formation and people suffering
from hay fever may also benefit.

Sources of Vitamin C are broccoli  , a half cup contains 58 milligrams,
a half cup cantaloupe contains 34 milligrams and a medium-size navel orange
has 80 milligrams , which is 133% of the Daily Allowance .

 

Cancer-causing Chemicals

Many natural and unnatural chemicals are toxic and capable of causing cancer.
As a result, there is currently a great emphasis on minimizing our exposure to
polluting chemicals and pesticides. Although researchers at the University of
California claim that the latter are not a significant problem.

They say that 99.99% of the pesticides we eat are produced by the plant itself and
are natural. The remaining 0.01% are man-made agricultural pesticides.

Nevertheless, as much as half of these natural pesticides that have been tested
caused cancer in rodents. This is attributed tot the fact that the chemicals are tested
at the maximum tolerated dose, an extremely high level, but this does not mean
that they are carcinogenic at the trace levels consumed by humans.
Rather this is a worst case risk assessment.

Although many synthetic pesticides have been linked to cancer – 16 organochlorines
to breast cancer alone – we simply don’t know exactly what danger they pose.

According to a CSIRO researcher, the danger of all man-made pesticides is considerable
because:
The adverse effects of some of these chemicals at high intakes have been clearly shown.
Some accumulate in our body to dangerously toxic levels.
All toxic chemicals are increasing the burden of gene-damaging agents that are
already challenging our health.

A good example of gross danger is from diocin, a by-product of pesticide manufacturing,
which is linked to cancers at a stunningly low concentration of 2.1 parts per quintillion
( one quintillion = one million million million).

In 1989 the US Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC) alleged that some 5,500 – 6,200
children may develop cancer later in life from exposure to just eight pesticides during
their preschool years.

One of the most carcinogenic natural chemicals is aflatoxin, which is sometimes found in
mouldy peanuts. Because it is so strongly carcinogenic, government food inspectors test
peanuts for it regularly.

Much milder is the carcinogenic tendency with cured meats. Ham, bacon, corned beef,
red frankfurter sausages, hot dogs, salami, etc., are cured with sodium nitrite, some
of which converts in the stomach to carcinogenic nitrosamines.

The chlorine added to town water supplies for disinfection has its problems.
Traces convert to chloroform which is carcinogenic. Long hot showers also produce traces
of chloroform. The solution is simple: Drink purified water, fit a shower filter and
keep the bathroom windows wide open during showering, with exhaust fan on if available.

Some medical drugs have turned out to be carcinogenic One of the best known is
diethylstilboestrol (DES), a synthetic oestrogen. In the 1970s, six Australian girls
developed vaginal cancer as a result of their mothers taking this drug, and numerous
cases resulted in the US. The cancer took 10 – 20 years to develop.

The household pollution that results from an unflued heater burning oil, gas or coal
can double the risk of cancer of the voice box, according to a German cancer expert.