I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about cancer. These days, I know many cancer survivors, cancer fighters and loved ones of people who have struggled with cancer.
We were talking about environmental toxins, and how it’s a silent cause of cancer and many other diseases. I learned the story of a friend whose whole family has had cancer because they lived by a plant high in radiation. Besides being an involved citizen and pressuring our government to regulate pollution, what else can we do about this problem?
I meditated on this question and the first thing that came up was the subject of food. I have always used food as medicine and I live in California where most foods are readily available, so that’s something I have more control over.
What foods are best for detoxing our bodies from unavoidable carcinogens? Here’s a list:
Mushrooms have been planted in many areas for the purpose of cleaning up oil spills and other pollutants. According to the National Cancer Institute, mushrooms may help prevent lung, prostate, breast, and other types of cancer. Mushrooms are high in minerals that help with nerve function and bone density. They also help you keep a good electrolyte balance for proper hydration and blood pressure regulation. They are high in fiber, which acts like a cleaning brush to wipe the body of toxins, cholesterol and diabetes causing sugars. They are high in zinc and vitamin C which aids the immune system to fight off other toxins. They also contain B vitamins and antioxidants to fight aging and decay. All this nutrition for very few calories!
You can find sources for all nutrition claims in the links below.
Cruciferous vegetables consist of most vegetables we grow in our garden such as broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, radishes, watercress and collard greens. They are high in glutathione which is known for aiding the liver in cleansing carcinogens, heavy metals, free radicals and other substances that can damage the cells. These foods are also high in fiber, for cleansing cholesterol and other junk. They are high in antioxidants which aid the immune system and prevent oxidative stress. They are also high in phytonutrients, which are known for many more healing and cleansing properties. A large meta-analysis showed that eating cruciferous vegetables is associated with lower risk of prostate cancer in men.
Green Leafy Vegetable
Green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and nitrates. The more colorful the leaves, the more of these nutrients are present. These nutrients fight cancer, aging and increase the flow of oxygen which helps in cardiovascular fitness and blood pressure regulation. Studies show that increasing one’s intake of green leafy vegetables may reduce red meat-induced colonic DNA damage and colorectal cancer. Other studies indicate that increasing green leafy vegetables could contribute to less symptoms of depression.
Blueberries are known to prevent cognitive decline and dementia, and is one of the main ingredients in a healthy brain diet. They may also have a role to play in promoting the growth of nervous tissue and reducing neurological inflammation. They get their rare color from a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin. This antioxidant of the flavonoid family is purported to reduce inflammation and protect you from conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
What Do These Cleansing Foods Have in Common?
They are all fruits or vegetables. They are all high in vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber. They are all fresh and come directly from nature. In fact, most fruits and vegetables should aid in keeping your body free of toxins. Study shows that if you eat organic fruits or vegetables, you will have even less traces of toxic chemicals.
They are all rich in the most cleansing substance in the planet, water! Water is by far the best thing to use for cleaning toxins and if you love water, then keep drinking. If you are not a water lover, you can get it by eating many fruits and vegetables.
These foods are also very low in calories so you can eat a whole lot without getting fat. In fact, they may help you lose weight by filling you up with fiber and water so you can’t overeat processed or fast foods.
While we do our best to expose ourselves to foods that cleanse unavoidable toxins, we can cultivate habits that keep us away from toxins we can avoid, like junk food, overly processed meats, smoking and excessive alcohol. These substances have been clinically proven, time and again to contribute to disease.
Avoiding Mental Toxins
It’s hard to motivate oneself to health if we have a self-destructive mentality. Take the time to be aware of your inner thoughts. If your self-talk is full of mental shame and abuse, and you are constantly telling yourself that you are no good, unlovable or hopeless, consider committing to a detox of the mind. Start collecting aphorisms and mantras that are positive and loving. This is easier said than done, but once you set your mind to seeing the brighter side of life; little by little, the darkness that leads to self-destruction, anger and depression will subside. You will start attracting more positive people, and opportunities will start to arise that will help you escape a cycle of disease and destruction.
I’m not saying that this will be easy, and I know that everyone dies eventually, but I hope that we can all live healthier and more loving lives while we are still alive on this planet. Wherever you are on your journey in life, I’d like to send you love and acceptance. We are all fighting a hard battle, whether it’s against cancer, inner demons or unfair circumstances. I hope we can all be kind to each other and continue to seek health and love over selfishness and destruction.
For more information on how to handle stress, check out my blog on the bright side of stress:
For more information on the benefits of many foods, check out my analysis of different diets here:
More information on medicinal mushrooms from the National Cancer Institute:
Cruciferous vegetable consumption and gastric cancer risk: A meta‐analysis of epidemiological studies
Green Leafy Vegetables and colorectal cancer
Nutrients | Free Full-Text | A Dietary Intervention High in Green Leafy Vegetables Reduces Oxidative DNA Damage in Adults at Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer: Biological Outcomes of the Randomized Controlled Meat and Three Greens (M3G) Feasibility Trial (mdpi.com)
Evidence of anti-cancer properties in blueberries
Fruits and Vegetables and their effects on mental health