At this point, cancer has most likely touched each of our hearts and has taken a loved one from us far too soon. The National Cancer Institute reports each day in the US, 1500 people die from cancer and 3400 get diagnosed. These numbers are outrageous and it absolutely makes me sick to my stomach to think of how all these families are affected when their spouse, mother, sister or grandfather succumb to such a predominantly man made and unnecessary illness. 33% of cancer deaths are related to high body fat, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, all things for which we have a lot of control over but often give very little attention to. Next to tobacco use, obesity is the main avoidable cause of cancer.(1,2)
With today’s food industry being compromised by depleted soils, big business, government propaganda, food tribes (vegan, paleo, high fat/low carb, low fat/high carb etc) and to take a page from Documentary film maker, Joe Cross, it is no wonder we are all Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Our body constantly fights to be in a state of homeostasis and it is this balance that allows our body to thrive and when out of whack, an environment conducive for disease is born. Over two trillion dollars from governmental funding and charitable groups has been spent on cancer research all dedicated to finding a “cure.” However, the cure for most newly diagnosed and early stage cancers has always been right in front of us; it is what we put in our mouth, the lifestyle we live, the thoughts we entertain, obtaining sufficient sleep and exercise, stress management; all of which being much more powerful than a chemical agent running through our veins disrupting everything in its path. The allopathic approach consisting of chemotherapy and radiation has its place, but the vast majority of people in the beginning stages of cancer have the ability to turn things around without it. Obesity, inactivity and poor nutrition are all intertwined, and quite easily avoidable.
1. HIGH BODY FAT and OBESITY
The following list of factors leading to high body fat percentages and obesity are all well within your control.
- Insulin resistant- Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Becoming insulin resistant saturates the blood with glucose leading to type 2 diabetes and obesity. Balance the release of insulin through nutrition, stress management and adequate sleep.
- Leptin resistant- A hormone that regulates the storage of body fat. If the brain becomes leptin resistant, the blood is saturated with leptin, in addition to insulin causing inflammation. Manage insulin, exercise and get adequate sleep
- Chronic inflammation- Is a low grade immune response that causes inflammation. Eliminate food sensitivities, environmental toxins and heal the gut.
- Poor stress management- Improve the response to stress by incorporating deep breathing, exercise, yoga, meditation, “me” time and adequate sleep.
- Compromised digestion – Roughly 70-85% of the body’s immune system is located in and around the gut and why many in the alternative health profession believe that all disease starts in the gut. Visit the top right corner of my website and download your free Digestion Report and start eliminating your chance of disease.
- Sleep Deprived – Disrupted circadian rhythms from going to bed later than 10-10:30pm, blue light exposure (see Is Blue Light Creating The Zombie Apocalypse?), poor nutrition, excessive stress, large meals before bed, stimulants like caffeine and chocolate all lead to inadequate sleep and depleted immunity. Melatonin, our sleep hormone that is released naturally by our body in the evenings, plays a large role in cancer prevention by boosting immune function.
2. POOR NUTRITION
Best to avoid the following,
- High heat cooking as it produces carcinogens.(3,4)
- Eliminate refined carbohydrates from processed foods and refined sugar. *As mentioned above, further elimination of high sugar foods from healthier food options may still need to be implemented. Cancer cells have ten times more insulin receptors than normal cells.(5-7)
- Eliminate casein, a protein found in cows milk products
- Eliminate ALL artificial sweeteners. Stick with stevia and use dates, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar sparingly.
- Eliminate all hydrogenated and man made trans fats found in processed foods, margarine and other impersonations of butter. Just a word of warning in that these oils are in all restaurant foods because they are cost effective. Nothing to really worry about unless you eat out 3-4 times per week.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, excessive caffeine consumption. If prevention is the goal, then occasional alcohol and caffeine is okay.
- Environmental toxins- Not really a nutrition factor, but switching out highly toxic household cleaning agents and cosmetics with more natural alternatives will go a long way in maintaining a strong immune system.
Best to consume the following,
- At every meal, 2/3 plate of your plate should consist of vegetables, leafy greens and fruit. Organic and local when ever possible. Organic produce won’t have the harmful cancer fueling pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and so on that are found in conventional produce. A while back there was a big hub bub about “organic produce being no more nutritious than conventional produce,” even Dr. Oz was on board. Whether this is true or not (not), what is more important, is what the produce does not contain, aka pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. If cost of organic is a factor, please download this years Dirt Dozen and Clean 15 foods. There are also organic grocery delivery services that may help reduce the costs when choosing the “local box” option. If you are in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) then check out Organics Live.
- Animal products must be organic, free range and grass fed. Not only will you benefit from not consuming additional hormones and toxins but grass fed animals contain a proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3’s while their conventional counterpart does not and grass fed animals also contain higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to combat obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and many cancers.(8) I know they are expensive, but until more people are buying organic the prices won’t budge. To save some money and boost nutrition, purchase organ meats like liver and heart. *Remember, don’t cook meats using high temperature and avoid charring your meat. Only use highly stable cooking fats like virgin coconut oil and grass fed ghee, lard and butter.
- Consume EPA and DHA which are a type of long chain polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, sources include cold water fish like mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines along with sea algae’s like chlorella and spirulina. While we are talking about fats, it is best to limit polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids like corn, canola, sunflower, safflower and soy oils despite these oils being claimed as the “heart healthy” oils by organizations like the American Heart Association. These are the fats that actually create inflammation in the body as they are very unstable oils becoming rancid and highly toxic when exposed to oxygen, light and high heat cooking. For more information on fats, see 7 Heart Healthy Tips
- Consume antioxidant rich foods that help to neutralize free radicals in the body. Berries are amazing and here are a few others.
- Hydration from clean water is important as tap water contains fluoride, chlorine and other harmful toxins. It may be time to invest in reverse osmosis water filtration system like The Berkey System. Unlike many other RO systems, the Berkey System does not eliminate healthy minerals but if you have an RO system already a pinch of sea salt will replenish any minerals lost. Since our skin is our largest organ and one that is always exposed to our environment, a shower filter may also be of use.
- Vitamin D, preferably from UV 3 or higher sunshine twenty minutes per day, otherwise a vitamin D3 supplement is necessary for immune health. Vitamin D can also be found in organic free range eggs and cod liver oil.(9)
3. LACK OF ACTIVITY
Our body is meant to move and move pain free at that. Unfortunately, sitting at a desk all day creates a dysfunctional body and increases obesity. Many of us suffer from weak glutes, tight hip flexors, sore lower backs, aching upper backs and protruding necks. Exercise,
- Helps to avoid insulin and leptin resistance
- Improves posture
- Helps to relieve stress
- Stimulates digestion
- Improves sleep
- Boosts mood
- Strengthens muscles, joints and improves bone health.
For those who are serious about their health and would like to include strength training into their weekly routine, I have a few packages available at the The Dempster Clinic combining strength training with nutrition and/or Naturopathy. Call The Dempster Clinic here in Toronto (416.551.9577) to schedule your FREE 15 minute consultation and for those of you who live outside the city, I also have online coaching packages available through the Coaching section of my website.
1. Key TJ, et al. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of cancer. Public Health Nutr 2004;7:187-200
2. Ligibel JA, Strickler HD. Obesity and its impact on breast cancer: tumor incidence, recurrence, survival, and possible interventions. Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2013:52-9. doi:10.1200/EdBook_AM. 2013.33.52.
3. Zheng W, Gustafson DR, Sinha R, Cerhan JR, Moore D, Hong CP, Anderson KE, Sellers TA, Folsom AR. Well done meat intake and the risk of breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Nov 18;90(22):1724-9.
4. Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K, Nakagama H, Nagao M. Heterocyclic amines: Mutagens/carcinogens produced during cooking of meat and fish. Cancer Sci. 2004 Apr;95(4):290-9. *Minus the recommendation to use microwaves
5. Michels KB, et al. Type 2 diabetes and subsequent incidence of breast cancer in the Nurses’ Health Study. Diabetes Care 2003;26:1752-1758.
6. Lawlor DA, et al. Hyperinsulinemia and increased risk of breast cancer: findings from British Women’s Heart and Health study. Cancer Causes Control 2004;15:267-275.
7. Muti P, et al. Fasting glucose is a risk factor for breast cancer. a prospective study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002;11:1361-1368.
8. Bialek A, Tokarz A. Conjugated linoleic acid as a potential protective factor in prevention of breast cancer. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2003 Jan 11;67:6-14.
9. Marshall TG. Vitamin D discovery outpaces FDA decision making. Bioessays 2008;30:173-182.
Nathane L. Jackson, CSCS, RHN Nathane Jackson Fitness Inc.
Website Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google+
Nathane Jackson is a veteran health and wellness authority, specializing in holistic living. He has a decade worth of knowledge as a personal trainer, strength & conditioning coach and holistic nutritionist and is dedicated to improving all aspects of health starting at the cellular level by combining nutrition, functional exercise, and restorative practices to help his clients strengthen their mind, body and spirit.