Editor’s note: Wellness Brief is a monthly column that will look at all aspects of health and living well, and offer tips on how to bring well-being into your daily life.
If you research scientific literature on commonly eaten foods, you may find some habit-changing information. For example, some of them are said to support the proliferation of cancer and chronic diseases.
The general notion that diet may influence carcinogenesis is not new nor particularly out of mainstream biomedical thought. Even in 1997, the role that various dietary factors play in the process of carcinogenesis was reviewed by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund. Based on this extensive review, a series of dietary recommendations for the prevention of cancer was developed. These recommendations suggested that a plant-based diet that minimizes consumption of dairy, red meat and processed meat, and emphasized consumption of a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain cereals, would decrease the risk of a variety of cancers and promote good health.
Could Dairy, Meat and Processed Foods Promote Cancer Cell Growth?
Results from various studies have provided evidence that animal product intake, including dairy, increases the risk of cancer. Last year, I received a certificate in Whole Food, Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a leading cancer researcher, was one of my esteemed professors. He detailed the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Dr. Campbell found that cancer cell progression can be “promoted” by specific types of protein sources such as milk, protein, casein—and “turned off” by exchanging milk protein with a vegetable source protein.
Further reinforcement for this is evident across the globe, as discovered in “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. In countries such as China, Japan and Africa—where historically there is little or no dairy consumed and they ingest a whole food, plant-based diet—cancers, chronic disease and osteoporosis rates are low.
Potential Anti-Carcinogenic Properties of a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet
The American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund report found that increasing consumption of vegetables and fruits from approximately 250 to 400 g per day may be associated with a 23% decreased risk of cancer.
When we are up against the particular life-or-death query regarding the way to cease cancer in our bodies, we may be much more prepared to consider radical dietary modifications and create a healthy whole food, plant-based diet strategy that minimizes the chances of having chronic diseases and cancer. Changing habits earlier helps us avoid forming health issues in the first place.
Common Food Myths — Busted!
Myth: We need to drink a lot of milk to make our bones strong: 1000 to 1500 mgs of calcium per day.
Why It Is Busted: On average, we actually only need 150 to 200 mgs of calcium a day. Although it’s commonly thought that we need much more, studies have proven otherwise. For example, in a study by Dr. Campbell, the five highest dairy-consuming countries (Finland, Sweden, U.S., U.K. and Israel) were found to have the five highest rates of hip fracture—a sign of osteoporosis.
Whole Food, Plant-Strong Recipe of the Month: Dairy Free Spinach/Artichoke Dip
Offered by Andie Shore, Breckenridge Ski and Ride School Children’s Manager, January’s Whole Food, Plant-Strong Recipe winning recipe winner
- 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
- • 1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled and chopped
- • 1/2 ripe avocado
- • 1 garlic clove, minced
- • 2 T basil
- • 2 T lemon juice
- • 1/2 t salt
- • 1/2 t onion powder
- • 2 T nutritional yeast
- • 1 t honey
Drain spinach and artichoke well. Put all ingredients in food processor. Once mixed well, remove from the processor and place in a sealable bowl. Refrigerate for 30–60 minutes before serving and enjoy.