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Excerpt
The following is an excerpt from the book Definitive Guide to Cancer
by Lise Alschuler, ND and Karolyn A. Gazella
Published by Celestial Arts; June 2007;$39.95US; 978-1-58761-280-0
Copyright © 2007 DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CANCER: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH FOR TREATMENT AND HEALING by Lisa Alschuler and Karolyn A. Gazella, published by Celestial Arts; www.tenspeed.com.

The Power of Food


As a nation, we are obsessed with food. Fast-food restaurants and their billboards clutter our city streets. Volumes have been written on the topic of food. Newsstands are littered with magazines about it, and there is even an entire television network devoted just to food. We savor it, discuss it, and even plan our lives around it. And we consume a lot of it. In the process, we've also managed to supersize our health risks dramatically over the past few decades.

The kind of food eaten has nearly as big an impact on health as the amount -- and sometimes more. In fact, much of the malnutrition in the world can be attributed to unhealthy food or consumption of "empty calories" (highly processed foods lacking important vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients). Though it may seem surprising, many obese individuals are actually significantly malnourished.

But foods have both the power to harm and the power to heal. Understanding both sides of the equation is important. Rather than allowing food to have power over you, you can create a winning partnership with it. Proactive cancer prevention shifts the energy, placing emphasis on healthful fresh and whole foods packed with essential nutrients, turning calories into cancer-fighting fuel.

Utilizing foods as powerful tools for cancer prevention requires that you look beyond one of your most basic senses -- taste. You need to evaluate food not just on its quick-fix satisfaction factor, but on its nutrient value as well. And as you get accustomed to healthier foods, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you come to appreciate their flavors more than old, unhealthy standbys -- and not just because you know they're good for you!

Sometimes what we ingest has clear ramifications. If you drink coffee daily, think back to a time when you tried to give it up or had to do without. Remember the headache? Have you ever experienced heartburn after too many pieces of pepperoni pizza or constipation after eating too much cheese? The good news is that this dynamic works both ways. You can prevent ill effects by avoiding certain foods, and even better, you can enhance your health by making certain food choices.

Some foods contain significant nutrients that help keep your body healthy and operating at peak capacity. Eating a healthy diet will give you the fuel you need to maintain an active pace and prevent illnesses, including cancer. While it is true that different people have different dietary needs and that what is healthy for one person may not work as well for another, there are some common denominators. Here are just a few examples of cancer-fighting foods:

  • Tomatoes contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which supports a strong immune system.
  • Whole grains contain lignans that positively influence hormonal activity. 
  • Citrus fruits contain flavonoids that enhance immunity.
  • Soy contains certain sterols that can reduce the development of some cancer cells.
  • Broccoli contains sulforaphane and other compounds that stimulate detoxification and immunity.
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, contain indole-3-carbinol, which has been shown to have anticancer properties.
  • The peel of an apple contains phenolic compounds that help prevent unhealthy cells from dividing and spreading.
  • Kale is high in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, which are all perfect nutrients to help prevent cancer.
  • Garlic contains several key compounds that inhibit the activity of cancer cells and help with detoxification.
Many of these foods share a common characteristic: they are colorful. At mealtime, look closely at your plate. If it is primarily white or beige, you need to add some color. Fruits and vegetables will add that color, as well as a healthy dose of potent anticancer nutrients.

DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CANCER: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH FOR TREATMENT AND HEALING by Lisa Alschuler and Karolyn A. Gazella, published by Celestial Arts; www.tenspeed.com.