Anti-Cancer: Spice and Everything Nice
Renowned surgeon *Mehmet Oz*, MD had quite a number of appearances on The Oprah Winfrey show. In one particular episode, he presented actual healthy and damaged human organs to show what happens to the body when we continuously eat the wrong kind of food, smoke a pack of cigarettes deliriously, and drink liquor like there is no tomorrow. The results were diabolically life-altering. Hundreds of viewers testified that after watching Dr Oz briefly go from one organ to another, they shuddered in their seats and couldn’t believe that those organs could as well be theirs. You could also check out the Discovery Health Channel hit, Second Opinion, and read his bestseller, You: The Owner’s Manual. Whether he is on television or speaks through the pages of his books, he advocates a healthy and practical change in everyone. His medical methods and layman approach to disease, specifically cancer and cardiovascular ailments, have challenged people from all over the world to finally take the reins and be the boss of their own body. And the simplest way to gain control is to be mindful of what we eat and drink.
Nowadays, medical professionals are more focused on cancer prevention with the objective to fight the disease even before it starts. More and more people are diverting their attention to the importance of daily nutrition and the choices that they are making with regard to their lifestyle, such as quitting smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation. Most of these studies claim that the use of natural substances can actually help prevent the disease.
One of the most highly advertised anti-carcinogenic substances is lycopene, a member of the carotenoid family which includes beta-carotene and other compounds found naturally in food. It is commonly known as the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color. What some people don’t know is that it is also a free radical-fighting antioxidant responsible for warding off damaging matter that disrupts normal cells and cause disease. It has also been proven to boost the immune system. It is shown to be better consumed when the tomatoes are cooked and mixed with a little healthy fat. For the sake of convenience, lycopene has also been made into a dietary supplement. However, studies show that taking it other than its natural form is not as effective as eating real tomatoes because it works better together with other phytochemicals found in the vegetable but not necessarily present in the pill. The combination of these bioactive compounds may be needed to provide optimum protection from cancer. This encourages people to eat tomatoes from pasta sauces, pastes, and freshly squeezed juices.
Capsaicin, the stuff found in chilly peppers that make them hot, could be the next line of defense in modern cancer prevention. Studies show that daily consumption of hot peppers may actually fight off some kinds of cancer. In certain parts of the world, cases of intestinal, stomach, and colon cancer are considerably low compared to the United States. Experts believe that the low cancer rate in South America, for instance, may be tied to their frequent intake of japaleno peppers and hot cayenne, both of which contain capsaicin.
The latest trend in cancer prevention mentions the health benefits of flavonoids. One can find a vast array of flavonoids in a diet composed of various fruits, vegetables, and spices. Flavonoids from citrus fruits such as oranges are said to have antioxidant polyphenols that contain anti-cancer elements. A number of studies also show that red wine and green tea drinkers have a low risk of esophageal, lung, and stomach cancers. Another good source of flavonoids is dark chocolate. Medical experts say that cocoa has a much greater amount of antioxidants compared to red wine and green tea and dark chocolate contains a lot more cocoa than other kinds of chocolate. The production of chocolate sometimes disrupts 50% of the flavonoids but manufacturing companies are now learning to make chocolate to retain as much of the good stuff as possible. While dark chocolate has its health benefits, consuming more than enough (around 1 oz a day) can also be dangerous. It may be packed with flavonoids that fight cancer but it still contains a significant amount of calories. Always remember that a balanced diet and a healthy exercise regimen are still the key to good health.