While there isn’t a clear answer on why some people get cancer and others don’t, there is mounting evidence that diet and the state of our bodies may have a lot to do when it comes to making us more susceptible to the disease.
A significant amount of research is now suggesting cancer is a metabolic disease. A metabolic disease is any disease or disorder affecting the metabolism from functioning normally, affecting how food is converted to energy on a cellular level. Cancer cells prefer to convert glucose (sugar) to energy. Normal cells, however, use oxidative phosphorylation, which is a much more efficient process. This suggests that cancer cells thrive on a high-glucose (sugar) environment but become vulnerable when they are deprived of glucose.
Further, more research is being done on immunity and cancer. We are beginning to learn that the gut has more to do with immunity than any other system in our bodies. So what we eat both from metabolic and immunity standpoints is critically important when discussing recovery and overall health.
So what can you do if you’re in treatment and want to ensure the best possible outcome? Start thinking of what you’re putting into your body. Think about what fuel you’re giving your system. Think of food as a helper to your treatment and maintain your eventual cancer-free lifestyle. Supplement your medical care with smart food choices to help you to heal and stay protected.
If you’re going through treatment, be all the way in. Honor all of the hard work the treatment, your medical team, and YOU are doing by giving your body what it needs. Give yourself the best possible chance of healing and living a full, healthy life. Healthy choices can only help!
There is a broad spectrum of things you can do from small changes to total overhauls of your daily routine. Start small with what you can accomplish today and add on more when you can. Anything helps! Here are some of the most high-impact ways that you can start taking control of your metabolic and immune health:
Five quick changes:
- Stay away from sugar. Research proves that sugar feeds cancer cells – and it lurks in so many places. Stay away from sweets with cane sugar (candies, cakes, cookies), fruit juices, sodas, as well as artificial sweeteners like Splenda or aspartame (which mimic sugar in the body). If you are craving something sweet or like to sweeten your coffee or tea, use Monkfruit (Lakanto is a widely available brand). Sugars impact our guts, nervous system, and hormones. Reducing sugar intake will have many benefits you can begin to feel immediately!
- Eat organic. The importance of organic cannot be understated. Thankfully organic foods are available everywhere and have become much more affordable. Trace pesticides and antibiotics interfere with our immune systems. Eat clean and organic to let your body function on natural nutrients – as it was intended.
- Drink water: try to drink 1.5 liters of water a day for optimal cell hydration, detox, and digestive health. Purchase a large glass or stainless steel container and take it with you wherever you go (no plastic bottles!).
- Try to follow a ketogenic diet. Start incorporating these nutrient-rich, healing foods: Fruits: darker fruits like strawberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, red grapes. Protein: Wild caught salmon, cashews, grass-fed beef. Cruciferous vegetables: fresh broccoli, broccoli sprouts, artichokes.
- Move! Even walking 30 minutes a day has a major impact on your metabolic health and overall wellness.
Ready to go even further?
10 more tips for more metabolic-immunity wellness:
- Drink celery juice. Juice 12oz of celery juice first thing in the morning to break your fast. Celery juice is amazing for adrenal, detox, and digestive health. If you do not have a juicer and do not wish to buy one, locate a local juice bar (Nekter, Jamba Juice, etc) that can juice celery for you. You will immediately feel the benefits!
- Add spices & herbs daily. Some of the most important ones are turmeric, ginger, garlic, rosemary, oregano, clove, cayenne pepper, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, and cilantro. These have proven immune benefits. Organifi Gold is a delicious, night time turmeric tea.
- Eat probiotic foods. Find a way to incorporate probiotic foods to improve gut health and digestion, like sugar-free yogurts, dairy-free probiotic yogurt (like Forager Unsweetened), Kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
- Drink tea: matcha green tea is full of antioxidants that boost our immune systems. Pique is a great clean organic brand.
- Intermittent fast: Ideally your last meal should be by 6:00pm, and you should have a 13-hour window of time without food to let your body work out toxins and recover.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is destructive to healing efforts in all systems of the body. If you do choose to drink, avoid beer and spirits and opt for a glass of organic red wine (it will do the least amount of damage to the gut bacteria).
- Follow proper sleep hygiene: the goal is to prep your brain and melatonin release for sleep and regulate the cortisol and melatonin rhythm throughout the day. Be asleep no later than 10:00pm to get the deepest sleep from 10:00pm-2:00am. Avoid any devices at least an hour before bedtime and create a “wind down” routine for yourself (stretching, bath, yoga, contemplative time). In the morning expose your body to sunlight to restart your cycle.
- Avoid gluten. Gluten can inflame the lining of the digestive system and fatigues you. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, or rye. Many everyday food products have gluten, such as pasta, bread, and beer. Dying for bread and carbs? Opt for cleaner, fresh sourdough.
- Reduce plastics. Plastics create estrogen imbalances and accumulate in our digestive tracts. Eliminate plastic bottles, plastic utensils, and plastic storage containers for food.
- Start using clean personal products. Personal care products and cosmetics are not regulated by the FDA. There is mounting evidence that trace chemical compounds are carcinogenic and disrupt hormone balance (many ingredients in the U.S. are banned in other countries). Look for clean products when it comes to soaps, skin care, lotions, makeup and oral care. See our Cancer Kits for great clean products and brand suggestions.
Check out two of our favorite books on the topic of food and our overall health:
Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William (this book is in our Healing Cancer Kits) link the kits
This is your Brain on Food, by Uma Nadoo, M.D.