Inflammation and Cancer

by Patricia Wetzel, Founder of The Anti-Cancer Club

Each week, the Anti-Cancer Club looks at one food, flavor or idea in their Nutritional Boot Camp which is also available via their free weekly newsletter (click here to sign up).

Your mission is to use the food/flavor/idea in your life during the week! In doing this you’re accomplishing two things:

  • You’re creating a sustainable habit of gradual change.

  • You’re providing the rationale for the change.

    In six months, between developing a fund of information and some (good) new habits, you’ll have a paradigm shift in your eating habits. And this shift can spill over into mind/body health, exercise and stress management as well!

    Below is a recent series on anti-inflammatory foods.  Your mission: Add them to your diet and enjoy! You can follow the Anti-Cancer Club on Facebook and on Twitter.

    Why an Inflammatory Diet May Influence Cancer 

    According to an interview with David Servan Schreiber, MD, PhD by the Daily Mail:

    "Cancer cells do not behave like normal cells. They refuse to die after a certain number of divisions, and they poison the tissues around them with chemical substances, creating inflammation, which they need to sustain their growth. Recent research reviewed in the journal Science confirms that the more successful cancers are in provoking inflammation, the more aggressive the tumour and the better it is at spreading over long distances, ultimately reaching lymph nodes and spreading to other organs."

    And Susan E. Steck, PhD, MPH, RD, USC notes that: "Studies have shown that diet can modify inflammation, and inflammation can drive the growth of many cancers, such as colorectal cancer."

    What Foods Are Considered Inflammatory?

    Inflammatory diet choices generally fall into the following categories:

  • High glycemic index foods (The "whites": white pasta, rice, sugar and flour)

  • High Omega 6 Oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, soy)

  • Industrially Raised Red Meat

  • Dairy and Eggs

  • Gluten (for gluten sensitive people)

    What Are Healthier Options?

  • Low glycemic index foods (whole wheat bread and pasta rather than the white variety; sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes.)
  • Healthier Oil Choices: Olive, Linseed, Rapeseed, Palm, Avocado

  • Grass Fed Meats or Wild Fish High in Omega 3’s (such as wild salmon)

  • Organic or Omega 3 Enhanced Eggs;

  • Non-Processed Foods

  • Fresh Low Glycemic Fruits and Vegetables

    This week select one anti-inflammatory option and use it in your day to day life. Try substituting whole wheat bread for white bread; Choose an apple or a low glycemic fruit rather than a packaged snack; Treat yourself to a bottle of wonderful olive oil and make a vinaigrette for the week; Try some grass fed meat; Try some Omega 3 rich eggs; Enjoy a sweet potato.

    Visit us on Facebook and let us know what choices you made!
    More Reading

    Eat Your Medicine, by Mark Hyman, MD:  A downloadable PDF

    The cooking oils that make you healthy – and those that don’t

    From the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine: Why Cancer and Inflammation?

    Feeling the heat – the link between inflammation and cancer

    Dietary polyphenols, inflammation, and cancer.

    Anti-Inflammatory Foods Choices-Fruits

    There are lots of options: A bowl of fruit for breakfast; a fruit smoothie; a piece of fruit for a snack, rather than a processed food; fruit salsa, fruit on a salad or in a dressing. This week, think fruit.

    Why Eat Fruit?

    Fruit offers anti-inflammatory compounds as well as nutrients. Specific fruits are linked with benefits for specific cancers in lab studies. How powerful is the nutrition/cancer link? Listen to William Li as he talks about anti-angeognesis and the impact of food on cancer cell growth:

    Click here to watch the video

    Eat Berries

    Blueberries, raspberries, gji berries, cherries, blackberries, organic strawberries, cranberries, gooseberries, mulberries, and currants all contain phytochemicals that seem to block cancer. A combination of berries makes a perfect breakfast or snack, and they’re excellent additions to any salad.

    NBC News

    Berries Sweetening Cancer Prevention

    MD Anderson

    Spinach Berry Salad from the Mayo Clinic

    Blueberry Blast Smoothie

    Indulge in Some Mango

    "Science has identified more than 4,000 different antioxidant polyphenols in the plant kingdom, and many of these polyphenols are present in mangoes. The primary benefit of these polyphenols is that they scavenge damaging free radicals and protect cells against damage, which is believed to facilitate and even promote cancer."

    Natural News

    Mangoes Help Reduce Blood Glucose/Inflammation

    Simple Avocado-Mango Salsa

    Spicy Mango Sweet Potato Chicken

    Devilishly Divine Tropical Kabobs

    Include Some Citrus

    Citrus–orange, tangerine and lemon peels–contain limonene which stimulates liver detox. Some studies are even suggesting that citrus plus green tea may have combined anti-cancer properties. Tangerines have tangeritin and nobiletin which inhibit the MMPenzomes that promote the cancer.

    Citrus is an easy winter fruit to add to one’s diet. Just remember to choose organic if you’re consuming the rinds!

    Pooled results from observational studies showed an inverse association between citrus fruits intake and the risk of breast cancer.

    Green tea plus citrus provides new level of cancer protection

    Warm Citrus Olives with Rosemary and Garlic

    Chicken That Fancies Itself Spanish with Lemons, Onions and Olives

    Why Eat Cruciferous Vegetables?

    Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy. They contain phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber which are important to your health.

    A review of research published in the October 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that 70% or more of the studies found a link between cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer.

    This week, your mission is to add some cruciferous vegetables to your diet. Here are three possible choices:

    Kale has earned the ranking of a "superfood" due to its nutrient-per-calorie score of 1,000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. Kale can be culinary or ornamental. Ornamental kale is generally tough and considered inedible.

    Kale is a cool weather crop making it a great choice particularly during the winter when good produce may be harder to find. Kale is available both bagged and fresh, in bunches. Most supermarkets have it on hand; Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods almost always have pre-washed bags ready to use.

    More Reading on Kale:

    WebMD – The Truth About Kale 

    Kale Recipes:

    Sauteed Kale in Olive Oil – Bobby Flay

    10 Healthy Kale Recipes

    Brussels Sprouts 

    Brussels sprouts are another excellent anti-inflammatory food choice.   From "The glucobrassicin found in Brussels sprouts can get converted into an isothiocyanate molecule called ITC, or indole-3-carbinol. I3C is an anti-inflammatory compound that can actually operate at the genetic level, and by doing so, prevent the initiation of inflammatory responses at a very early stage."

    More Reading on Brussels Sprouts:

    Health Benefits of Eating Brussel Sprouts

    Brussels Sprouts Recipes:

    Truly Delicious Brussels Sprouts

    This short video offers a terrific way to make everyone love Brussels Sprouts.

    24 Brussels Sprouts Recipes


    The third vegetable option this week is cauliflower. Cauliflower’s health benefits go beyond possible cancer prevention. It also offers antioxidation, detoxification, digestive and anti-inflammatory support.

    Cauliflower comes in green, purple, and orange, as well as the more familiar white color.  The recipes below are all for cooked cauliflower.  It’s also great raw with hummus for a snack. Include it in your veggie packs during the week for an easy, healthy, low calorie snack option.

    More Reading on Cauliflower:

    General Cauliflower Information from

    Cauliflower Recipes:

    Roasted Curried Cauliflower from Epicurious

    Cauliflower Recipes from Food & Wine

    These recipes are absolutely scrumptious. Find your favorite, and enjoy!

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