Plant-based diets help prevent cancerBy Tessa R. Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last week, Inquirer Science/Health revealed studies that showed diets rich in animal products have been linked to cancer. This week, Science/Health will point to studies that show the risks of cancer minimized with plant-based diets.
Scientist Jane A. Plant, PhD, author of the book “The No-Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program (How one scientist’s discovery helped her defeat her cancer),” was quoted as saying: “Undoubtedly, the best anti-cancer diet would be completely vegan (a diet that forgoes animal protein entirely: no poultry, beef, pork, seafood, egg, cow’s milk or cheese).
“If you want to reduce your risk of breast (or prostate) cancer, become a vegan, but on no account become a dairy-eating vegetarian. If any anti-cancer diet includes any kind of dairy products, ignore it,” Plant added.
Scientists also confirmed findings that showed a 50-percent decline in premenopausal breast cancer among women who ate a vegetarian diet.
This was cited in “The Breast Cancer Prevention Program,” authored by Samuel S. Epstein, MD, professor emeritus of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health who specializes in toxicology, and David Steinman (author of “Diet for a Poisoned Planet”) with Suzanne Levert, who cited the following:
“More support comes from a recent study that shows that vegetarian premenopausal women have lower serum estrogen levels than nonvegetarians—and more of the estrogen they had was ‘good estrogen,’ that is less carcinogenic.”
Epstein suggested that people should choose crops, fruits and vegetables that have not been sprayed with pesticides, or produce that does not contain mineral waxes, preservatives or fungicides—which means that immediate refrigeration and careful handling are necessary to avoid spoilage and bruising.
Protective vs breast cancer
Low amounts of chemical contamination, less fat and an abundance of vitamins and minerals make vegetarian diets more protective against breast cancer.
Safer nonorganic produce include avocados, bananas, dates, figs, guava, lemons, tangerines, tangelos and watermelon for fruits; and artichokes, bean curd, corn, eggplant, escarole, garbanzo beans, green beans, kidney beans, kohlrabi, lima beans, mushrooms, navy beans, okra, peas (dried), pinto beans, red beans, rhubarb, scallions (green onions), Swiss chard, turnips, watercress and yams for vegetables.
The Epstein book also urged individuals to request a water quality report from their municipalities or local suppliers to make sure they are not exposed to water-borne contaminants.
The following paragraph is an excerpt from “The China Study” authored by T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutrition biochemistry at Cornell University, and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD:
“In 1970, when an article in the prestigious journal Nature concluded that nitrites (a meat preservative and color and flavor enhancer used in bacon, hotdogs, processed meats) help form nitrosamines (chemicals that are human carcinogens) in the body, thereby implying that they help cause cancer, people became alarmed. Here was the official line: ‘Reduction of human exposure to nitrites and certain secondary amines, particularly in foods, may result in a decrease in the incidence of human cancer.’”
The book also cited an emerging pattern in several studies using several different nutrients: Nutrients from animal-based foods (including cow’s milk) increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.
Campbell also suggested the link between dairy consumption and prostate cancer: Animal protein causes the body to produce more IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1), which in turn throws cell growth and removal out of whack, stimulating cancer development.
IGF-1, a growth hormone, is turning out to be a predictor of cancer just as cholesterol (which is also found in animal products) has become a predictor of heart disease.
Campbell also noted: “Animal protein increases the levels of a hormone, IGF-1, which is a risk factor for cancer, and high casein (the main protein of cow’s milk) diets allow more carcinogens into cells, which allow more dangerous carcinogen products to bind to DNA, which allow more mutagenic reactions that give rise to cancer cells, which allow more rapid growth of tumors once they are initially formed.”
In the book “The Gerson Therapy: The proven nutritional program for cancer and other illnesses,” 200 patients whose spontaneous cancer regression were monitored and analyzed by Dr. Harold D. Foster, PhD, showed that, among other findings, 88 percent of patients incorporated vegetarianism as their daily eating program.