Can these Vegetables Fight Breast Cancer?

Food for Breast Cancer PreventionA new study has found that a compound in parsley and other plant products, including fruits and nuts, can stop certain breast cancer tumor cells from multiplying and growing.

In the study, rats with a certain type of breast cancer were exposed to apigenin, a common compound found in parsley and other plant products. The rats that were exposed to the apigenin developed fewer tumors and experienced significant delays in tumor formation.

Science Daily reports:

"Apigenin is most prevalent in parsley and celery, but can also be found in apples, oranges, nuts and other plant products. However, apigenin is not absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream, so scientists are unsure of how much can or should be ingested."

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

A healthy lifestyle, one that includes eating plenty of fresh, raw vegetables, can not only help prevent cancer, it may help treat it as well. This study from University of Missouri researchers is the latest to show that compounds in plant foods, in this case one called apigenin, are natural cancer fighters.

The study found that rats with breast cancer developed fewer tumors and had delays in tumor formation when exposed to apigenin, a compound found naturally in parsley, celery and many other plant foods, such as apples, oranges and nuts.

How do Veggies Help Fight Breast Cancer?

The apigenin in celery and parsley appears to block the formation of new blood vessels within tumors, thereby cutting off their nutrient supply and slowing or stopping their development. This healing, restorative power of vegetables has been researched and known for some time, but remains largely obscured and overshadowed by the massive marketing of pharmaceutical drugs.

For example, one 2001 study revealed that women who consumed at least 2.5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily as adolescents were 46 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer. I can't think of any drug that can beat those prevention odds.

As a general rule, when it comes to eating veggies the greater the variety and the larger the volume, the better. Tailoring your vegetable consumption to your nutritional type is also recommended to take your health to the next level.

But aside from celery and parsley, broccoli and even more so, broccoli sprouts, have also emerged as powerful cancer fighters. Sulforaphane, a type of isothiocyanate compound found in broccoli, has been found to potentially help treat breast cancer by targeting cancer stem cells, which fuel the growth of tumors.

More Support for Cancer-Fighting Veggies

The isothiocyanate in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli sparks hundreds of genetic changes, activating some genes that fight cancer and switching off others that fuel tumors.

As stated in a study published in Carcinogenesis, sulforaphane has been shown to reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals. It also inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death.

Said lead author Olga Azarenko:

"Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, can be protected against by eating cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and near relatives of cabbage such as broccoli and cauliflower."

Other studies have confirmed the protective benefits of these vegetables for other types of cancer as well, such as:

  • Bladder cancer – Researchers found that the higher the intake of cruciferous vegetables, the lower the risk of bladder cancer in men
  • Lung cancer – Researchers found that men with detectable amounts of isothiocyanates in their bodies had a 36 percent lower chance of developing lung cancer over 10 years
  • Prostate cancer – This study, published in PLoS ONE in 2008, discovered that just a few additional portions of broccoli each week could protect men from prostate cancer

An Easy Way to Eat More Veggies

Despite the well-known health benefits of veggies, a Consumer Reports survey found that only 30 percent of Americans eat five or more servings of vegetables or fresh fruit daily.

If you want to increase your veggie consumption, one of the absolute easiest and most efficient ways to do so is to juice your vegetables.

Not only will juicing help your body absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables by making them easily digestible, but you're also avoiding the risk of damaging any of their sensitive micronutrients through cooking, which destroys micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition.

It also allows you greater freedom to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet that you may not normally enjoy eating whole. This way, you're working with the principle of regular food rotation, which will lessen your chances of developing food allergies, while also getting a wider variety of nutrients.

Celery and parsley happen to be two of the easiest vegetables to juice and they are delicious when combined with leafy greens and limes. When juicing your veggies I recommend also eating the pulp. I typically add freshly chopped onions and avocados, plenty of Himalayan salt, some balsamic vinegar and four lightly poached eggs so it really is a full meal that allows me to get all of the nutrients from the vegetables.

For more in-depth guidelines and information about juicing, review the juicing section of my nutrition plan.

More Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

One woman in eight who lives to age 85 will develop breast cancer, and 200,000 new cases will be diagnosed each year in the United States, making it three times more common than other gynecological cancers.

Unfortunately, the current medical paradigm is relatively clueless about what causes breast cancer and how to effectively prevent and treat it.

In the largest review of research into lifestyle and breast cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated that about 40 percent of U.S. breast cancer cases could be prevented if people made wiser lifestyle choices. I believe these estimates are far too low, and it is more likely that 75 percent to 90 percent of breast cancers could be avoided by strictly applying the recommendations below.

  • Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature's most potent cancer fighters.

    Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). When JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, injected a potent form of vitamin D into human breast cancer cells, half of them shriveled up and died within days. The vitamin D worked as well at killing cancer cells as the toxic breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, without any of the detrimental side effects and at a tiny fraction of the cost.

    If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I'm aware of, with no adverse effects. I suggest you to watch my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to find out what your optimal vitamin D levels should be and how to optimize them.

  • Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a roll in preventing breast cancer. It's best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.

    However, beware of supplementing as there's some evidence that vitamin A can negate the benefits of vitamin D. Since appropriate vitamin D levels are crucial for your health in general, not to mention cancer prevention, this means that it's essential to have the proper ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A in your body.
    Ideally, you'll want to provide all the vitamin A and vitamin D substrate your body needs in such a way that your body can regulate both systems naturally. This is best done by eating colorful vegetables (for vitamin A) and by exposing your skin to sun every day (for vitamin D).

  • Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Acrylamide—a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried—has been found to increase breast cancer risk as well.
  • Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
  • Improve Your Insulin Receptor Sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and grains and making sure you are exercising, especially with Peak Fitness.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating right for your nutritional type and exercising. It's important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen.
  • Drink a quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information
  • Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer.
  • Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis. It's important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I've provided several absorption tips here.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.
  • Breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Research shows this will reduce your breast cancer risk.
  • Avoid wearing underwire bras. There is a good deal of data that metal underwire bras increase your breast cancer risk.
  • Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk.

The majority of breast cancer is preventable, but in the event you or anyone you know is diagnosed with cancer, I strongly encourage you to listen to my interview with Dr. Nick Gonzalez, a physician focused on alternative cancer treatment using a three-pronged nutritional approach.