Saturday, September 17, 2016

Some Tested Ways to Help Prevent Cancer or Stop its Spread

*Don’t smoke, and drink alcohol very sparingly, if at all.  Recent studies have shown an association between alcohol and cancers of the throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast.  Even light drinking increases the risk of breast cancer.

*Get up and move whenever you can.  Walking is a great exercise, and so is dancing.  Aim for 30 minutes a day, or more, of your favorite movement.  Keep your weight within the normal range – ask your primary care person to help you with this.

*Avoid white flour, sugar, sweetened drinks and junk food.  Keep your blood sugar low and even by eating whole foods with their natural fiber intact.  Eat sweet potatoes, winter squash and fruits when you want something sweet.  If you eat packaged food, remember that 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar. 

*Eat lots of vegetables, and include a member of the brassica family every day.  Brassica vegetables include kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, mustard greens, bok choy Brussels sprouts and turnips.  Johns Hopkins University has a laboratory studying the effects of brassica vegetables against cancer. In addition to Brassicas, deeply colored vegetables and fruits are the best.  Eat whole fruits, not their juices, to keep your blood sugar from spiking. 

*Drink green tea - compounds in green tea act against cancer. .
Consider buying a green tea with the beneficial compounds of brassicas.  The Johns Hopkins Brassica lab sponsors such a green tea - regular or decaf - which you can order from the Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company - 800-423-1408.  The tea has no taste of broccoli! 

*Include herbs and spices in your diet.  Try a daily salad that includes herbs such as parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, thyme. oregano, marjoram, rosemary and other herbs you enjoy.  For further information on herbs and spices, look at the book Healing Spices, by BB Aggarwal.  Dr. Aggarwal worked at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.   He feels that turmeric is one of the most promising anti-cancer spices, and suggests that everyone take a 500 mg supplement of curcumin  (the active ingredient in turmeric) daily.

*Eat mushrooms often, always well cooked.  Studies from Japan and China show that many kinds of mushrooms act against cancer.

*Eat plenty of garlic, onions, & scallions - raw or cooked as desired. 

*Eat one or two Brazil nuts daily – selenium in these nuts is an immune booster. Walnuts may be helpful for breast cancer.  Nuts are a healthy snack at any time.

*Ask your primary care provider to measure your vitamin D level, and take vitamin D3 to keep your level at 30 ng/ml or higher.  Consider taking a daily probiotic  for intestinal and immune health.

*Use extra virgin olive oil as your source of added fat.  Fish and fish oil are helpful.

*Go slow on most red meat and processed meat, in favor of fish and poultry.

*Drink plenty of water.  You can flavor it with mint leaves and slices of  orange, lenon or cucumber. Remember that tea, coffee, broths and soups also count as liquids.  Coffee has been found to decrease the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum, whether if is plain, decaf, instant or espresso.

*Go to to read about the anti-cancer benefits of melatonin and its promotion of restorative sleep.  If possible, get blue-blocking glasses and wear them 1-2 hours before your regular bedtime.  These glasses are available from the website, and also from  Blocking the blue component of light allows for the natural outflow of melatonin from the pineal gland.  Use melatonin tablets under the tongue if you need a sleeping pill.

*To find accurate information on nutrition and supplements, go to ScienceDaily on the web, or write the word ‘university’ in your search.  This will help you avoid websites trying to sell you something.  Several newsletters will keep you up to date on cancer prevention: Tufts University’s Health and Nutrition Letter – monthly, $36/year – 800-274-7581, and Nutrition Action Health Letter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest – 10 issues a year; $24, -

*For the latest information on organic and conventional produce and other key environmental issues, check out the Environmental Working Group at

*Last, but not least, stay connected with your friends, family, support systems and the things that make you happy.  Avoiding isolation is very important for our survival.
Sadja Greenwood, MD, MPH  back issues on this blog