By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
October 11, 2013
- When an “ounce of prevention” really counts
- Defend against prostate, colon, breast and lung cancer
- Easy ways to add these cancer-fighting vegetables to your meals
When I was a kid, my mom wouldn’t let me leave the dinner table until I ate all of my vegetables.
It wasn’t always that I didn’t like them. There was just other food on the plate that was more tempting. So by the time it came around to eating the veggies, I was already pretty full. This, of course, made the vegetables even less appealing.
Not so strange, I find this same type of behavior has followed many of my patients into adulthood.
It’s not that they have anything against vegetables.
However, they readily admit they don’t eat enough of them. Instead, they fill up on their favorite foods and the veggies are left in the fridge to spoil.
But what if you learned eating a serving of certain vegetables every day could drastically cut your risk of cancer? Would that make you change your mind?
Now this is a huge concept. Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the U.S. And believe it or not, about 1,600 people die each day from this disease.
Unfortunately, the medical community does very little when it comes to prevention of this killer disease. In fact, unless you are a smoker or sun-lover, your doctor probably doesn’t talk about cancer much at all – until you’re the one facing this deadly disease. Then the race to “cure” it suddenly kicks into high gear.
As the old saying goes… An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And that’s never been truer than when it comes to cancer.
In fact, just a few ounces of veggies each day can defend your body from this deadly disease…
You see, there’s a group of vegetables referred to as “cruciferous” or “brassica” vegetables. These include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips and watercress.
And they contain powerful phytonutrients called sulfuraphane and indoles that have anti-cancer properties.
Together, these compounds work together to…
- Protect cells from DNA damage.
- Inactivate carcinogens.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Induce cell death (apoptosis).
- Inhibit tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis).
Now all of that sounds great, but the real question is this: Do they actually work to prevent cancer in humans?
The answer is a resounding yes!
Human research shows people who eat greater amounts of cruciferous vegetables have lower risk of developing all sorts of cancers.
- Just three or more servings a week can shrink the risk of prostate cancer by about 41%.
- Higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer in both men and women.
- Women who get plenty of these veggies have lower instances of breast cancer.
- People who eat the most cruciferous vegetables may be able to decrease their chance of lung cancer by up to 22%.
Getting more of these vegetables in your diet doesn’t have to be hard. Let’s look at a few ways you can add them to your meals…
I have a pretty busy practice. And when I get home from the clinic I don’t always want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So I love the simplicity of a vegetable stir-fry. It’s quick, easy, and I can add as many veggies as I want.
I usually start with a little olive oil in a skillet on medium high. Then I wash and chop up organic broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, scallions and red or green peppers and add them to the skillet.
Just toss them around for two or three minutes. When they’re cooked almost to your liking, add a clove of minced garlic and cook for about a minute longer to distribute the flavor.
If you want to add a protein to your stir-fry, cook it up first and set it aside. Then, toss it back into the skillet at the same time you add the garlic to quickly heat it up again.
I often add a little grass-fed beef, free-range chicken or wild-caught fish or shrimp into the mix. Just make sure the veggies are the focus and the protein is the “side-note.”
This is just one way to get more of these cancer-fighting vegetables in your diet.
You can also…
- Make a rutabaga and potato mash. Chop your rutabaga into squares and boil it for about 45 minutes. The potatoes should be cooked separately, as they only take about 20 or 25 minutes to cook. When both are done, whip them up into a delicious twist on mashed potatoes.
- Add kale, arugula, radishes and watercress to your green salads.
- Do what my Southern friends do and cook up a big pot of “greens.” You can use collard, mustard or turnip greens – or a mix of all three. Down in the south they use ham-hocks or pork-salt for seasoning. But you can cut down the grease and salt by using organic, pasture-raised pork instead.
Get creative and in no time at all you’ll find ways to make these cancer-fighting veggies the centerpiece of your dinner plate.
Cancer Facts and Figures 2013. American Cancer Society.
Cohen JH, Kristal AR, Stanford JL. Fruit and vegetable intakes and prostate cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Jan 5;92(1):61-8.
Voorrips LE, Goldbohm RA, van Poppel G, et al. Vegetable and fruit consumption and risks of colon and rectal cancer in a prospective cohort study: The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000;152(11):1081-1092.
Terry P, Wolk A, Persson I, Magnusson C. Brassica vegetables and breast cancer risk. JAMA 2001;285(23):2975-2977.
Lam TK, Gallicchio L, Lindsley K, et al. Cruciferous vegetable consumption and lung cancer risk: a systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jan;18(1):184-95.