Monthly Archives: October 2013

Lung cancer metasteses and broccoli (1 min. 48 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger briefly talks about a study done on cruciferous vegetable phytonutrients (in this case from broccoli) and their potential to decrease the potential of lung cancer to spread and grow. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women in the world.

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October 30, 2013 · 11:19 am

How to eat to avoid 15 of the top 16 causes of death in the world—cancer is no. 2 (55 min. 50 sec. video)

Would you like to invest less than an hour and learn to eat so you and your loved ones could lessen your risk of dying from 15 of the 16 top killers in the world? Diseases including heart disease, cancer, lung diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and cirrhosis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, hypertension and seven more.

Dr. Michael Greger produces and releases a new mini video on nutritional topics (based on his scouring of recent nutritional studies) every weekday through his organization, Nutrition Facts (nutritionfacts.org).

This video is his effort to tie together the knowledge in all his videos released through 2012 – 2013 with the goal of equipping people with the knowledge to avoid 15 of the top 16 causes of death in the world.

He has released videos on over 1,700 topics to date and this was his most popular one for 2012 – 2013 (over 863,000 views to date).

It’s longer than most of his other mini videos (over 55 minutes) but if you’re interested in learning how you or your loved ones can eat to avoid 15 of the top 16 causes of death in the world (cancer is number 2) it’s fascinating viewing and will go fast for most people. Lots of moving graphics to jazz things up and some occasional humour thrown in to make the knowledge go down easier. 

NOTE: I’m not a vegan or vegetarian and am not trying to promote such diets. (Although we have cut out use of red meats and pork.)  But I believe that knowing the science behind the diets that best prevent cancer or fight existing cancer helps us to make better choices and reduce our risk and strengthen our bodies to better fight cancer and recover from conventional cancer treatments (chemo, radiation and surgery).

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October 28, 2013 · 10:53 pm

How to eat to cut off tumor supply lines (4 min. 24 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger briefly discusses scientific evidence on eating foods which (as shown by lab tests) suppress a cancer tumor’s ability to grow microscopic blood vessels which it needs to survive.

NOTE: Please also see the fascinating TED Talk by Dr. William Li this month entitled,”Can we eat to starve cancer” also posted this month. 

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October 28, 2013 · 3:41 pm

Scientific evidence for the possibility of reversing cancer using diet (3 min. 46 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger briefly discusses the scientific evidence for reversal of cancer using diet (as a complementary tool to conventional care).

NOTE: I don’t advocate diet as a sole means to deal with any cancer, much less late stage cancer. I look at scientifically validated anticancer diet and lifestyle measures (as advocated by Dr. Keith Block) as a valuable tool to complement the best conventional care that you have available in order to strengthen the body to battle cancer and recover from the trauma of surgery, radiation and chemo and to make the body’s biochemistry as inhospitable as possible to cancer cell proliferation. All of this with the goal of getting the maximum lifespan and best quality of life possible, whatever that may be.

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October 27, 2013 · 11:11 pm

Keith Block, MD on dietary strategies for surviving breast cancer

Photo by Aine D. (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

Photo by Aine D. (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

To commemorate breast cancer awareness Dr. Keith Block posted the following tips for surviving breast cancer on his blog this month.

Dr. Block is the co-founder of The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, a pioneer in (and to many the Father of) integrative cancer treatment. He has dealt with virtually all types and stages of cancer for over thirty years. He is the author of Life Over Cancer, which I credit with being instrumental in helping to reverse my wife’s downward decline from stage 4 breast cancer in 2012.    

NOTE: I have made the second paragraph in bold lettering because I think it’s so important.

 

We are often asked if there are specific foods that can boost cancer survival. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we thought we’d address this question as it relates to breast cancer.

Existing research doesn’t support the notion that specific foods that can increase survival. However, there is considerable evidence that dietary patterns can make a significant difference for women fighting breast cancer. Let’s take a look at some of these dietary patterns.

Dietary Fat Intake

In the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS), R.T. Chlebowski and colleagues demonstrated that when women reduced their fat intake to 20% or less, they reduced their risk of breast cancer recurrence by an average of 24% (http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/98/24/1767.long).

One currently popular diet hyped as being good for all of us is a diet rich in animal proteins and low in carbohydrates, because the assumption is that all carbohydrates are unhealthy. However—and, contrary to popular opinion—these diets are not good for any of us and, in fact, can be the recipe for a bad outcome for breast cancer patients! Why? Because all carbohydrates are NOT created equal. Simple and refined carbs can lead to glycemia and insulinemia, both of which can drive cancer growth! On the other hand, complex carbs do not raise blood glucose and insulin. In fact, the research demonstrates that controlling glycemia and insulin levels through the use of complex carbohydrates not only reduces the risk of recurrence, but also reduces mortality. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11773152).

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are fundamental to any healthy diet, and are part of healthy dietary recommendations for the prevention of cancer as well as other diseases. As it relates to breast cancer, Cheryl Rock and colleagues assessed carotenoid levels of patients in a breast cancer diet trial and found that those in the top 2/3 of carotenoid levels over the course of the study were 33% less likely to have a breast cancer recurrence or new breast cancer. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19190138). Carotenoids are found in both vegetables and fruits; yellow and orange fruits and vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables are particularly good sources. Dark green vegetables, which also contain lutein, include kale, collards, spinach and Swiss chard. Other high carotenoid vegetables and fruits include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. As far as fruit juices, while it’s OK to occasionally enjoy some of these fruits as juices, we generally recommend eating them as whole fruits. However, if you choose to drink juices, you might consider diluting them with water by 25%-50% in order to reduce the sugar load. Eating whole fruit provides extra fiber and helps control calories as well as excess fructose consumption. A high fiber intake is associated with lower overall mortality in breast cancer patients (including both breast cancer deaths and deaths from other causes). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=fiber+breast+cancer+belle; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17044767. Foods high in fiber include raspberries, pears, barley, whole wheat spaghetti, brown rice (as opposed to white rice), beans (all types, e.g. split peas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans), green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and turnip greens.

Dairy

A recent study found that high-fat dairy intake was significantly related to higher breast cancer mortality as well as mortality from other diseases. Low fat dairy did not demonstrate a direct correlation to breast cancer mortality. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=kroenke+dairy+breast+cancer. So, if you’re going to use dairy products, choose low-fat varieties of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Or, better still—and what we recommend to our patients at the Block Center—consider some of the dairy alternatives available today, including soy milk, almond milk (available in low-fat and unsweetened), and rice or oat milk.

Fish and Fish Oil

High intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish in the diet has been correlated with reduced breast cancer events (recurrences, new breast cancers) and reduced overall deaths from breast cancer and other causes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=patterson+epa+breast+cancer)

Fish that are high in omega-3 fats include salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, cod, haddock, Atlantic mackerel, halibut, and other fish from northern oceans. We recommend reducing or avoiding tropical fish, like tilapia, or farmed catfish, which are not high in omega-3s.

Soy

Back in the 80s and 90s there was controversy as to whether an estrogen-sensitive breast cancer patient might worsen their disease by consuming soy products. In fact, there were a few leading breast cancer specialists that railed against the consumption of soy, raising worries of its safety. At the same time, breast cancer research at the Block Center demonstrated enhanced outcomes among patients consuming increased levels of soy. And now, emerging science from both the laboratory and from large scale epidemiological studies have confirmed what our early data suggested. Bottom line, soy is not harmful for breast cancer patients, and may, in fact, be quite helpful. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20426596).

A particularly interesting 2013 study pooled the results from three large American studies and one Chinese study of the diets of breast cancer patients after diagnosis. This combined study found that soy foods turned out to be associated with better survival with an impressive 15% reduction in risk of death for all breast cancer patients regardless of menopausal status or presence of estrogen receptors. They also found that soy foods were associated with lower recurrence rates in postmenopausal women whose tumors lacked estrogen receptors, as well as those who had both estrogen and progesterone receptors. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=chi+post-diagnosis+soy).

When you add soy foods to your diet, emphasize the relatively un-processed types of soy, such as tofu, edamame, miso and tempeh. These are healthier and less caloric than highly processed soy meat substitutes. Additionally, when used as a substitute for meat, soy may be helpful in controlling weight, since it’s lower in calories.

Insulin Levels

A 2002 study found that breast cancer patients with high insulin levels, which are correlated with high body mass index, had elevated risks of breast cancer mortality and recurrence.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11773152). Several studies since then have implicated elevated insulin, and elevated blood glucose and related variables to breast cancer. To reduce elevated insulin and blood glucose, we suggest consuming low-glycemic index foods, which have been found to only minimally raise blood glucose levels. Avoiding refined flours, refined sugar and related products (white and brown sugar, molasses, honey, cane juice, and others), and eating nuts such as almonds or walnuts can help. In one study, almonds reduced C-peptide, a marker for insulin production, more effectively than whole-wheat muffins: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=jenkins+almonds+whole+wheat+c-peptide). Alternatives to refined sugars include sweeteners such as stevia and limited quantities of other natural sweeteners such as agave or brown rice syrup. And, a sweet piece of nutritious fruit can make a delicious dessert!

Our general dietary recommendations

At the Block Center, we recommend a diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber, plant-based sources of protein, cold water fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, fruits and berries rich in antioxidants, and nuts, seeds and cruciferous vegetables, foods containing other substances such as allium compounds, dithiolthiones, flavonoids, glucosinolates, indoles, isothiocyanates, phenols, and d-limonene. This nutritional strategy is intended to do several things, including:

Help curtail inflammation, which is essential for combating recurrence and progression. In fact, elevated inflammatory markers increase risk and mortality by 2 to 3 fold, whereas countering this can be the difference in proliferation and dissemination of breast cancer cells, or never seeing the cancer again!
Reduce free-radical damage.
Minimize platelet activation (which can lead to dangerous blood clotting).
Manage blood sugar surges.
Reduce serum levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1 (which stimulates cell multiplication and inhibits cell death).
Evidence shows that reducing glycemia, insulinemia, inflammation, and oxidation makes a huge difference in every challenge a breast cancer patient faces, including improving the biological integrity needed to counter growth and reducing the risk of recurrence.

For more information on The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, call (847) 230-9107 or visit BlockMD.com.

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October 27, 2013 · 1:32 am

Cranberries take on cancer (3 min. 44 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger briefly discusses the results of research pitting cranberries against cancer.

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October 26, 2013 · 12:57 pm

How studies have linked eating raw broccoli and improved bladder cancer survival rates (1 min. 58 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger briefly talks about a study that links consumption of raw broccoli and survival of bladder cancer. How a single serving of raw broccoli a month influenced survival rates.

Also a study that linked consumption of fruits and greens to longer survival rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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October 26, 2013 · 12:17 pm