The Cause of Cancer, And How The Right Foods Can Prevent It
Book #4: Foods to Fight Cancer- Essential foods to help prevent cancer by Richard Beliveau, Ph.D. and Denis Gingras, Ph.D.
I won’t lie- I first chose this book based on the bright, colorful cover (who can resist that tantalizing orange slice?). As I started reading it, though, I realized that this is absolutely the best book on this subject that I have ever read. Ever. And I’ve read a lot.
Foods to Fight Cancer is a phenomenal reference on what cancer is, and how we can, ahem, PREVENT it, by eating the right food. Let’s get right into it:
Beliveau and Gringas (B&G) explain that cells are constantly making proteins. These proteins do everything from transport nutrients through the bloodstream, to translate happenings in the outside environment into messages the cell can understand. Proteins, in their infinite complexity and wisdom, allow cells to rapidly and efficiently react and adapt to their environments.
The first living organisms on Earth were unicellular, and thus, each cell was out for their own survival. Around 600 million years ago, for reasons that humans will probably never know, cells began to cohabit, forming the first multicellular organisms. As B&G state, it was then that cells had to begin to put the greater good of the organism they belonged to, above their own individual survival. Being part of an organism also meant that cells could now “specialize” their jobs- that is, a single cell did not have to be responsible for all the functions necessary to keep it alive. All the cells of an organism could now work as a team to keep the organism alive and functioning. For example, some cells became specialized in digesting food for the organism.
Human beings are the epitome of cellular specialization- think about how many different kinds of cells we have- hair cells, muscle cells, brain cells, stem cells, bone cells, digestive cells, skin cells, and on and on and on. I kind of picture it like a widget factory- each worker has his own specific task to do in putting together widgets. Each person is highly specialized in the specific task that they are expected to perform day in, and day out. Even though each worker does the same, individualized task all day long, they are part of a team whose ultimate goal is making completed widgets. If a worker just decided to run away in the middle of the day and stop doing his task, all hell would break loose, and there would be no more widgets.
Anyway, the point here is that cells now have specialized jobs that they perform for the greater good of keeping the organism alive. B&G go on to say “If the adequate functioning of an organism as complex as the human being requires the complete repression of the ancestral survival instincts of cells, as well as the combining of all their resources, we can easily imagine that maintaining these functions is a fragile phenomenon, one constantly subjected to attempts at “rebellion” by cells who wish to recover some freedom of action.” What causes this “rebellion”? Carcinogens. When we eat unnatural foods, or breathe dirty air, or otherwise put our cells in contact with unfavorable conditions, sometimes our cells can’t help themselves, and they revert back to their survival instincts. They forget that they are part of an organism, and have to make proteins to accomplish a specific task, and just start mutating their DNA to adapt to whatever carcinogen is present in the environment.
This happens to all of us, regularly. Usually, though, the cells surrounding this rouge cell, convince it to undergo apoptosis- or cell suicide. The normal cells, who are still doing their jobs for the good of the organism, tell the subversive cell to kill itself, and most often, the dissident cell obliges. However, in certain circumstances, the rouge cell is strong enough to resist killing itself. In that case, a cancer starts to develop.
For a cell to resist the demands of all other cells around it, it’s got to be one tough cell. This super cell is then able to continue making its own proteins and reverts back to the ancient cell ways of individual survival, and reproduction. The normal, surrounding cells, realizing they’re dealing with a monster at this point, work to cut off its blood and nutrient supply. In response, the rouge cell will begin creating proteins to build its own network of blood vessels. This process is called angiogenesis, and if it is successful, the cell will then be able to survive and reproduce, forming a full-fledged tumor. And thus we come to the commonly know definition of cancer as “uncontrolled cell growth”. If this cell continues to strengthen its network of blood vessels, and thus reproduce, this is what we mean when we say the cancer has “metastized.”
That’s the long and short of how cancer begins to form. It’s a lot, I know! But in this long story lies the key to prevention, and staying well by eating well. This long-term process, from when a cell first decides to “go rouge” and fully formed cancer, presents myriad opportunities to actually prevent the full formation of cancer. This is where food comes in.
I WISH I could scan in some of the graphics and illustrations from this book, because they are phenomenal. I’ll do my best to articulate some of them. Basically, there are certain foods that contain properties that can block enzymes. Enzymes are a type of protein, so when a rouge cell is attempting to become cancerous, it does so by producing many different proteins, lots of which are enzymes. These enzymes are sent out to bond with enzyme receptors, and this bond enables cell growth. Therefore, if a “endogen”, or an enzyme-blocker, from food, can get to the enzyme receptor site before the enzyme itself, the enzyme can’t “dock” on the receptor site. How do the endogens from food get to the receptor sites before the enzymes? We have to continuously be eating foods that contain these endogens!
BAHHAHAHAHAAAAAAA- this is it! The key! By eating healthy foods all day, every day, we can ensure that there are adequate enzyme-blockers in our bodies. Now of course, not all enzymes are bad. In fact, some of them are absolutely essential to jump-starting cell processes, including digestion. However, an overabundance of them is when our body gets in trouble, and like I said, this overabundance of the wrong kind of enzymes is caused by carcinogens that we ingest, breathe in, etc.
I mean, this book blew my mind. I can’t say enough about it. It’s extremely dense with information, yet captivatingly written and explained in a digestible way. There’s so much more than what I’ve gone into here (they explain the logic behind traditional treatments, and detail the stages of cancer progression, etc.), but I want to end this post with perhaps the most important information in the book- the actual list of…wait for it…Foods to Fight Cancer!
Each one of these foods or food groups has a separate chapter in the book, detailing the way they can help fight cancer. Obviously, the amounts we should eat of each vary from one to the next, but they all have been shown to prevent or, in some cases, actually reverse cancerous cell growth. There’s so much to be said for each one, but for now I’m just going to give the list. It’s my first real day at my new job tomorrow, and I’ve got to get a good night’s rest!
Note: These foods are not listed from “best to worst”, or “most effective to least effective” or anything. I can’t tell any reason in particular for the order of the list- just know each one is amazing in its own right!
Without further ado, the cancer-ass-kicking foods are:
1. Vegetables from the cabbage family (incl. broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale)
2. Garlic and onions
5. Green Tea
7. Omega-3′s (salmon, flax seeds)
9. Citrus Fruits
11. Chocolate (cacao)
I will sincerely try to give each of these foods a separate post, as each chapter really does a beautiful job getting into the specifics of how the food fights cancer. And I’d really love to sit here for several more hours writing about it all. But alas, I’m a busy girl, and I’m out of time for the night.
Hope you found this informative!
Peace, love, and inspiring reading,