Cancer is a life altering experience for the person involved, as well as their close family and friends. However, it doesn’t occur over night. In reality, cancer is the manifestation of chronic disease that has been developing over time, with many factors contributing to its onset and progression. The good news is that there is a multitude of supportive and preventative measures available that can help you transform fear into understanding and empowerment, leading to a happier, healthier state of wellbeing.
The Seed and Soil of Cancer
As far back as 1889, an English surgeon, Stephen Paget proposed the ‘seed and soil’ concept – that the spread of cancer depends on cancer cells, “the seeds”, and the environment i n the body, which he called “the soil”. It can take the body many years to produce the “soil” or environment that is just right for cancer to flourish. Cancer may develop when changes occur inside the cell and when coupled with the appropriate internal environment, the cancer cell can proliferate in an uncontrolled manner. More than 100 years later, the “seed and soil” concept still holds true; it is both the health of individual cells and the environment in the body that may determine whether a cancer may develop or not. By taking active steps to improve our health, we have the potential to alter the environment in our bodies, reducing the risk of chronic disease and maintaining long-term health.
Prevention is Best Practice
You may be surprised to hear that genetics accounts for only 5-10% of cancers.1 Research studies have shown that healthy diet and lifestyle factors have favourable effects in reducing the incidence of many cancers, challenging us to modify our diet and lifestyle for disease prevention.
The Protective Power of Herbal Medicine
The protective actions of particular herbs used in disease prevention are well documented. Key herbs can support the body’s resistance and resilience to chronic disease such as cancer. They provide anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant actions which are all beneficial in supporting the health of our cells:
• Green tea: Oxidative stress has been shown to damage the DNA in cells and can play a role in promoting cellular dysfunction implicated in tumour development. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is found in the leaves of green tea and is a powerful antioxidant which can protect against
degenerative diseases. It may also be beneficial in preventing the cellular changes seen in cancer development.
• Turmeric: Curcumin is the active constituent of turmeric. This powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb has been widely researched for its anti-carcinogenic actions.
• Resveratrol: Resveratrol is a phytochemical that is found in certain plants, in particular grapes. It has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory and inhibits the growth of a
wide variety of tumour cells.
• Yerba Maté: This herb has a long history of use as a tonic and stimulating drink in South America. It protects against oxidative damage, can promote energy production and increases antioxidant defenses.
Food Can Produce or Reduce Inflammation
The typical Western diet may actually promote inflammation; high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates break down quickly into glucose and have been shown to induce inflammatory changes that are linked with many chronic diseases. In some susceptible people, foods such as dairy products and gluten-containing grains can trigger an inflammatory response.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Long-Term Health
The following diet and lifestyle recommendations can help keep your cells and your body healthy for the long-term:
• Quit smoking: Smoking is carcinogenic so make it a priority to quit smoking for disease prevention and anti-aging.
• Minimise exposure to environmental toxins in the household and workplace.
• Make stress management a priority and ensure you are getting a good night’s sleep. Ask us about our Stress Less program for support during stressful periods.
• Obesity and inactivity have been linked with cancer, so stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
• Get moving! Just 30 minutes of movement and exercise enhances wellbeing and can help with disease prevention.
• Cancer cells are said to be ‘addicted’ to sugar as they are fueled by glucose. Minimise your intake of processed, refined foods to maintain healthy blood sugar balance.
• Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and cancer preventing antioxidants. Choose organic food where possible as it provides higher levels of protective nutrients.
• Drink pure, filtered water preferably from glass or BPA free bottles.
Empowered for Health
Consider cancer in a new light and accept the challenge to take responsibility for your health. Herbs and nutrients, together with a healthy diet and lifestyle may well be the ultimate tools
for disease prevention.
* References available on Request.