Attitudes to link between diet and cancer are changing fast. The World Cancer Research Fund was founded specifically to fund and sponsor education and research into diet-cancer link. There is mounting evidence that high fat intake in a typical Western diet, along with low intake of nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrains, may be responsible for up to 35% of cancers.
The World Cancer Research Fund is only major national charity concerned with link between cancer and food, nutrition and lifestyle factors. Their report 'Food, Nutrition and Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective' gives guidelines consistent with those published by World Health Organisation, E.U. 'Europe against Cancer' initiative and other authoritative organisations. The idea of an 'anti-cancer diet' promotes prevention by strengthening immune system directly and has partly led to promotion of a 'five a day' campaign for fresh fruit and vegetables.
The intensification of agricultural practices has led to a decline of between 25% to 75% in levels of key mineral nutrients in farmed vegetables over last 60 years. There has also been a rise in farmed fruit sugar levels, so much so that some 'natural' fruit juices now contain as much sugar as a fizzy drink.
If we can source quality food, our cooking methods often destroy nutritional content. Studies show that fresh, uncooked vegetables strengthen immune system and increase resistance to many diseases. Cabbage placed in cold water and boiled loses about 75% of its vitamin C content. Similarly fresh peas cooked for only five minutes lose 20-40% of their Thiamine content and 30-40% of their vitamin C. About 50% of vitamin E is destroyed by frying or baking food.
Tests in Spain recently measured levels of flavonoids (a kind of antioxidant) left in fresh broccoli after it was cooked. The results show large differences in flavonoid content according to how broccoli was prepared. The cooking methods were:
· boiling - 66% loss · pressure-cooking - 53% loss of major antioxidant · steaming - minimal loss of antioxidants · microwaving - 97% loss of flavonoids
Scientists in Finland found that blanching and deep-freezing vegetables destroyed beneficial compounds. Blanching prior to freezing destroyed up to one-third of vitamin C content of vegetables and more was lost in storage. The healing properties of uncooked foods are being increasingly recognised in natural cancer therapies.
The more we let food industries create what we eat more likely we are to be at risk from diet related problems. In effect commercial interests of food manufacturers are systematically robbing unwary shoppers of health, and eventually life. The more control and information we have in sourcing pure foodstuffs, less at risk we are from dis-ease for nutritional reasons. One of first steps in finding a healthy diet is changing how and where we shop and sourcing foods we can trust. The supermarkets give us thousands of choices but few options. Try to find for example, one of many varieties of biscuits available that do not contain 'hydrogenated vegetable oil'.
Too much protein in a diet is also harmful to health and can promote cancer. Meat and sugar-rich diets are common in West. These are often overcooked or over processed. When cooked or processed foods are eaten our white blood cells (leukocytes) rush to intestine to help with digestion. As a result other parts of body may be left undefended from attack by germs and viruses after a heavily synthetic meal.
Biological enhancement of crops, growth hormones in milk and meat, mercury in our mouths, colorants and carcinogens in food are commonplace. The foot and mouth epidemic, B.S.E. in sheep and cattle, nuclear radiation and de-naturalisation of our food are examples of how common sense is abandoned to profit. The 'Precautionary Principle' is too often being overlooked in rush of science.