Some popular nutritional suggestions for preventing cancer include avoiding obesity, cutting down on fat intake, eating high-fibre foods, frequently eating cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage), juicing fresh fruits and vegetables and minimizing salt-cured or smoked foods in the diet.

I have recently done some more extensive research into nutrition and cancer. Here is what I found out.

Insulin

In Peter Morgan Kash (biotechnologist) and Jay Lombard’s (neurologist) book Freedom From Disease: The Breakthrough Approach to Preventing Cancer, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Depression by Controlling Insulinstates, “… as insulin (levels) go up, so do the rates of breast, prostate and colon cancers.”

To maintain an even blood-sugar level and reduce your need for insulin, eat four to five small, healthy meals during the day. To decipher which foods are best, you can refer to the glycemic index online at www.GlycemicIndex.ca for more information. Another way to maintain your blood sugar levels, which I find easier, is to choose whole, natural foods and stay away from processed, sugar-laden and white flour products.

Also, sugar and refined carbohydrates are not only hard on our blood sugar levels, but they can directly feed cancer cells according to researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (Aug. 18, 2009).

Acid-alkaline balance

Our bodies have a very low tolerance range for proper acid-alkaline levels. Various studies done by Dr. Ted Morter (www.Morter.com) have shown that if our bodily fluids don’t stay within this range, diseases such as cancer may occur.

Nutritionist and professor Felicia Drury Kliment says in her 2010 book The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet that to prevent cancer, we need to focus more on eating alkaline-forming foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and less acidic food, such as meat and processed foods.

Immunity

With a strong immune system, even the few cancer cells that are normally generated by our bodies will be easily removed. Eating to support this system is imperative in cancer prevention.

Nutrient-dense foods such as raw, organic produce, whole grains and legumes are important as well as Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and flax seeds and adequate high-quality protein (but not too much).

Toxins

North American diets are typically full of toxins from processed foods, artificial sweeteners, non-organic meat, dairy and produce, artificial colours and flavours and trans fats.

Our bodies also accumulate toxins through environmental chemicals. We absorb chemicals in the air we breathe, in the water we use daily and the cleaners and other household products we use. They all add to our toxic load, which accumulates over time.

Elson M. Haas, MD, wrote in his book Staying Healthy with Nutrition that, “Toxic substances . . . have been indirectly linked to many chronic, degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, asthma and most forms of cancer.”

Doing regular detoxification cleanses is good prevention against cancer. Adding lots of fibre and water will aid detoxification and is a healthy daily practice.

Supplements

Some supplementation can interfere with cancer treatment, so if you are undergoing a medical cancer program check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Some of the supplements I’ve learned about that are worth further investigation include the antioxidants N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) vitamin C, wheat or barley grasses, blue-green algae and bioflavonoids (in particular, pycnogenol). Other supplements include melatonin and modified citrus pectin (MCP).

Another book worth noting is the Cancer Prevention Diet by world-renowned Michio Kushi (founder of the Macrobiotics Diet) and dietary counsellor Alex Jack. Although the dietary suggestions are quite out of the ordinary compared to what we are used to in the west, there is a lot of scientific evidence backing the ideas. There are also helpful and easy-to-read sections on each type of cancer, including what types of foods to eliminate in each case.

Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon countryside with her family and has just completed her diploma in holistic nutrition.