Cancer: Why Do We Get it and How Can We Prevent It
October 5, 2016 Food & Nutrition
Cancer is probably one of the scariest words in the English language. This is understandable since statistics suggest that around one in two people will experience cancer in their lifetime.
Cancer is not a new disease, but what is happening now that is making it so rampant? Is it really the enemy that we think it is and what can we do to prevent it?
Research suggests that we can’t look at having a healthy and long life after the age of 40 without finding ways to minimise our cancer risk. It is therefore important to understand cancer and learn how to make yourself less susceptible to a condition that is claiming the lives of people at younger and younger ages.
Thirty years ago cancer was spoken about in hushed tones and it was rare that you would meet anyone with cancer or even anyone that knew someone with cancer. Today. people you personally know may be living with various cancers, ranging from breast cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, right through to bone and liver cancer. Often these people will today be middle-aged, not in their old age.
We All Have Cancer
We all have cancer. By this I mean that our bodies are producing cancerous and pre-cancerous cells all the time. Normally, the body recognises these cells as incorrect and not appropriate and dispatches them.
When this doesn’t happen its because something else is happening inside the body. The body becomes overwhelmed by these cells. The cells take hold and produce tumours.
There are three key factors that make a person susceptible to full-blown cancer:
1. Their Epigenetics
2. Their Toxicity burden
3. Their Immune Function
Cancer Factor 1: Epigenetics
Epigenetics is basically the study of how our environment affects the expression of the DNA inside our genetic code. While we can inherit genes from our parents that make us more likely to have say, breast cancer, general scientific thinking now estimates that only around 30% of our likelihood to manifest a certain cancer in our life comes from our inherited DNA code. Fortunately, these genes may never ‘turn-on’ and express themselves if we keep them ‘clean’ and don’t give them a cellular environment that allows them to activate.
Anything that allows or encourages the DNA in our cells to divide in an unusual way can produce cancer in our bodies. Our cells divide by a process called mitosis where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells for growth and to replace worn out cells. This is happening in our bodies all the time and we have little ‘proof-readers’ inside the cells that edit out any DNA that has not replicated accurately. When these ‘proof-readers can’t do their job properly, distorted and unhealthy cells can pass through their checks.
There are many factors that can affect this DNA replication and stress, age and toxicity are a key part of this. Also, our diet will affect this process as there are clever little proteins found in natural foods that act like little Pac-men to keep our DNA clean and also provide the molecular groups that are needed for accurate cell division. These amazing little proteins are called Sirtuins, or house-keeping genes. Foods that contain high levels of Sirtuins are called Sirtfoods and include: kale, olives, green tea, fish oil, parsley, turmeric and onions. Making sure that you get plenty of these into your diet can help keep your DNA in non-cancer mode.
Cancer Factor 2: Toxicity Burden
In many ways, cancer is our body’s response to trying to survive in a toxic environment. If you were dropped down on to Mars right now, you would die unless your body could mutate in time to exist in an atmosphere which is toxic to you. In some ways, cancer is our cells’ unhelpful response as it tries to change to a form that can survive in a toxic body.
As we go through life we can accumulate various substances in our bodies that are toxic to our system – not enough to kill us but enough to change our inner terrain and make it an environment that provides fertile ground for many of the aging diseases including cancer. These toxins can include: heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium) which can accumulate in our tissues over time until they reach a level that starts to impair cellular functions. We can accumulate these from our foods, the air, vaccinations and dental fillings.
Toxins that can stay in our bodies can also include microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens. These are always present in the natural world around us but when we upset the balance of our inner terrain or have an overworked immune system that cannot fully dispatch the infections/pathogens that we are all subjected to, they can linger in the body and, as we get older, reach a critical level that stops our cells and therefore our organs functioning as they should. For example, stress, a poor diet, pesticides, chemicals in our environment, medical drugs, electromagnetic pollution can put our gut microbiome out of balance so that we can no longer regulate the natural residents there, such as the candida albicans fungus, and so we get an overgrowth that can lead to all sorts of health problems including, according to some studies, cancer. This will also compromise our gut wall which them becomes too permeable (leaky gut) and allows particles through that shouldn’t go through leading to auto-immune issues and inflammation, the sort of environment that is fertile ground for cancer.
To avoid cancer we need to try and keep our systems clean and in balance. This can be done by the diet we eat, by de-stressing and minimising the chemicals in our homes. We may also want to do regular detoxing to allow our bodies to de-clutter. We can also use natural herbs and foods such as chlorella, dandelion, black walnut, milk thistle, nettles, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, parsley, strawberries in our everyday diets as these help our bodies eliminate any build-up.
Cancer Factor 3: Low Immune Function
Our body is producing cancerous and pre-cancerous cells all the time – with the millions of cell divisions that occur in the body every day it is logical that some will go wrong and often the internal proof-reading mechanism of a cell will stop this from going any further. However, some cells with potentially cancerous DNA, will still get through. It is then up to our immune system to recognise them as ‘mutants’ and dispatch them.
However, if your immune system is aging or already overworked dealing with microbes, pathogens and allergies or your gut has been compromised (around 70% of our immune system is in our gut!) it just does not have the resources to deal with these mutant cells.
Also, being in a state of chronic stress will depress your immune system as the body has two primary states: flight/flight or rest/repair. If you are living with constant stress then you are in a low level of fight or flight and your body cannot focus on re-generating your immune system, which happens mainly at night.
You can try to introduce more light exercise, meditation, mindfulness, massage and good sleep in to your life to counteract the stress state. There are also some amazing foods/herbs/supplements that are very effective for immune function including: medicinal mushrooms (Reishi, Cordyceps), probiotics and prebiotics, Astragalus, Cats Claw, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 garlic, cinnamon, bone broth.
Of course, there is no guarantee that doing all these things will stop you from ever developing cancer but they will certainly make sure that your inner terrain is as inhospitable to cancer cells as possible and just generally make you look and feel better.
Just adding a daily super-smoothie or green juice to your diet can make a big difference. There are many good ready-made green powder formulas available now that you can simply add to some juice or, say, almond/coconut/oat/hemp/tiger nut milk so it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort if you can’t always blitz the fresh veg and fruit. And you can research the best tonic herbs for you to take on a daily basis, not only for cancer prevention, but also for general health and longevity.
And remember to laugh. Being positive and happy creates a biochemistry within our bodies that deflects all sorts of diseases, not just cancer.
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