From a western nutritional perspective, we know that including an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats helps to strengthen our overall health, improve cardiovascular health, and create strong immunity systems.
A Chinese nutritional perspective embraces those ideals and expands the role of food as medicine in acknowledging that certain types of food have specific resonances with the energies of the immunity system and our abilities to release carcinogenic pathogens, and give support to the body to recover from surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Turnips: This remarkable yet common healing food has an impact on all 12 meridians (energy pathways in the body) to help us move out pathogens and detoxify the body.
Turnips in the diet can provide support to people who are going through chemotherapy or radiation therapies or for those who need to detoxify stress chemicals that form as we respond to everyday life.
In Asian countries, soups are made of turnip, carrots and cabbage to help strengthen the immunity system and heal from viruses, bacterial infections and other pathogens. A cup or two of this type of soup 4-7 times a week, can strengthen the internal organs and promote a vibrant flow of energy throughout the body. When our energy flows smoothly and without obstructions, disease cannot exist.
You can make this soup easily by using a base of 6-8 cups of organic chicken broth (low sodium or organic vegetable broth), 3 large turnips diced, 3 large carrots diced, and 1/2 cup of white cabbage. Have enough fluid to cover the vegetables and have a level of about 1″ above the vegetables. Add in 1-2 tsp of toasted garlic, 1 small purple onion, 2 tsp of fennel seed, and 2 stalks of finely chopped organic celery for flavor.
Bring to boil, then simmer for one hour.
Lycopene rich foods: Lycopene is similar to beta carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant that helps to prevent cancer. Lycopene occurs naturally in the prostate and declines with age. However, we can help to support healthy levels of lycopene through diet.
Foods rich in lycopene include red vegetables and fruit, especially cooked or processed tomatoes. Other foods include pink grapefruit (check for interactions with certain cancer and other medications), watermelons, apricots, and pink guava.
However, before you rush out to buy lycopene supplements, you should also be aware that the efficacy of supplements of lycopene and high consumption of lycopene rich foods has been questioned by the FDA after examining data from 107 observational studies and 23 studies that included blood analysis.
The FDA stated that consuming lycopene supplements or high amounts of lycopene rich foods does not have a significant impact on prostate health and cancer. The FDA’s position on this issue was reported in the Journal of Cancer Institute (July 10, 2007) issue.
Yet, anecdotal clinical evidence exists of clients improving their PSA levels (levels that indicate the health of the prostate) by adding lycopene rich foods to their diets.
From a Chinese nutritional perspective, lycopene and other anti-oxidants are not magic bullets. Instead, it is thought that the presence of anti-oxidants such as lycopene, in combination with other nutritional and energetic properties of foods, can be a powerful tool in helping the body to detoxify and protect against cancer. This is why it is important to take a balanced approach and integrate a wide variety of foods in the diet.
Similarly, the American Cancer Society advocates a diet comprised of a wide variety of foods as opposed to being excessive with any one food or taking high levels of anti-oxidant supplements.
Pumpkin Seeds: This simple food appears to diminish the triggering of prostate cell multiplication by testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone—a conversion product of testosterone). As a result, pumpkin seeds may help to prevent enlargement of the prostate gland.
Pumpkin seeds help to create healthier cholesterol levels, and protect bones by providing a source of zinc (low levels are associated with more hip fractures and osteoporosis) .
Sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds over salads, into soups and over other favorite foods. For added flavor, you might wish to toast the seeds but the nutritional value is higher when eaten raw.
Organic chicken: In the Chinese nutritional system, chicken helps to strengthen the internal organs of the kidneys, said to rule our reproductive organs on an energy level. Organic chicken is free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, and helps to detoxify the body. Chicken is also a lean source of protein.
Include other lean organic meats and fresh produce to further reduce toxins in the diet.
Affordable sources of organic produce and some meats are available at local farmer’s markets. Also, you may wish to join a community garden to obtain the freshest sources economically and help others partake of organic foods.
Drink Healing Beverages:
Decaf green tea, chrysanthemum tea, barley tea, red clover, and saw palmetto tea: All of these natural teas are rich in anti-oxidants and have detoxifying properties.
Chrysanthemum has a cooling, detoxifying effect. When combined with a small amount of decaf green tea, cinnamon and ginger, chrysanthemum can help quell nausea from chemotherapy and radiation therapies.
Trained Chinese herbalists often combine chrysanthemum with other herbs to create a decoction or tea that helps to heal prostate cancer.
Foods to Avoid
Decrease the level of sugar, caffeine, and fat in your diet, particularly trans-fatty acids. Read labels. When you see the word” hydrogenated,” that is a clue that trans-fatty acids are present. All of these foods create excessive heat in the body on an energy level. Since the energy of cancer is hot, if we diminish foods that feed heat, we can also protect our bodies against cancer.
Similarly, chemotherapy and radiation are also hot in nature. By reducing hot natured foods in our diet, we can empower ourselves to minimize the side effects of these types of treatments and detoxify the body.
Eliminate sugar substitutes such as sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (Nutrasweet). Although many studies have produced data which suggest that these sugar substitute sweeteners are safe for regular human consumption, these products do not contain properties that heal the internal organs.
Also eliminate sweeteners which contain saccharin, which studies have found is associated with certain health risks such as birth defects and cancer.
Stevia is an all natural sweetener that is appropriate for diabetics or others who are trying to eliminate sugar. Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the chrysanthemum family which provides natural sweetness without raising glucose levels in diabetics, and contains properties which are said to help balance high blood pressure, help balance the pancreas, and reduce stomach acidity. However the use of non carbohydrate sweetness can lead to insulin resistance just as as much as the use of artificial chemical sweetness, so use this sparingly and perhaps in combination with small amounts of natural sugars such as local raw honey, agave or organic raw sugar.
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