Eat Green Foods Instead of Supplements as Protection Against Cancer

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Do you pop nutritional supplements because you don’t have time to eat a healthy diet (or aren’t interested in eating these foods)? If so, you may want to rethink your plan. I’d like to share with you two pieces of information that I learned this week that may cause you to change your habits.

    Let’s start with Monday’s announcement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The task force threw a wet blanket on some people’s belief that specific vitamin supplements can help healthy adults stave off major diseases, such as cancer. The research studies that the task force evaluated were primary focused on adults who were 50 years of age and older. The recommendations do not apply to children, pregnant women or adults who are chronically ill, who are hospitalized or who have a known nutritional deficiency.

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    After looking at published research, the panel recommended that healthy Americans should specifically not take vitamin E or beta carotene supplements as their way to prevent cancer or heart disease. Furthermore, the task force stated that beta carotene supplements may actually increase the risk of lung cancer.

    The task force didn’t find sufficient evidence that showed that other single-nutrient or paired-nutrient supplements had a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.  The task force also found insufficient evidence to be able to determine the benefits and dangers of taking multivitamins in order to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.  Therefore, more research is needed to clearly determine whether these types of supplements make a difference health-wise.

    So how do you get the proper nutrients? The task force suggests that you check out the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that you get nutrients primarily from foods, especially by eating produce, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood.

    With that said, I have to tell you about a speaker I heard at a conference put on by the Texas A&M University’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center. The speaker was Dr. Rod Dashwood, who is the director of the Center for Epigenetic and Disease Prevention in Texas A&M’s Institute of Bioscience and Technology.

    Noting that we need to start to think of cancer as a process, Dr. Dashwood shared his research on chlorophyll-rich foods. Chlorophyll is the green pigment that handles photosynthesis in plants, algae and cyanobacteria. Dr. Dashwood studied whether a diet that included baby spinach, which has natural chlorophyll, could make a difference in the growth of cancer tumors. His study, which built on his earlier work that looked at cancer in trout, found that chlorophyll seems to indeed slow tumor development through binding with a toxin produced by the cancer and then removing it from the body through urination.

    However, before you rush out and buy huge quantities of baby spinach, I need to share with you Dr. Dashwood’s warnings. During his presentation, he cautioned that consuming large quantities of chlorophyll can result in thyroid issues. Chlorophyll also can interfere with chemotherapy drugs. Therefore, if you have a health condition, you should work with your doctor or a nutritionist in order to get the proper quantity.

  • The good news is that foods with chlorophyll offer other health benefits. These include, wound healing, detoxification, deodorization, reducing cholesterol and intestinal regularity.

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    So what foods are high in chlorophyll? Dr. Dashwood pointed to a number of Asian greens, including bok choi, shiso, bayam and kang kong, Other sources include cereal grasses, buckwheat, sea vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, green leafy sprouts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, celery, collard greens, green beans, green peas, kale, leeks, green olives, parsley, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard and turnip greens.

    And when you’re shopping for this produce, look for the green!  “The deeper the green color of a plant food, the richer the food is in chlorophyll — and the more abundant the food is in health-building qualities,” the Hippocrates Health Institute website explained.

    Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

    Hippocrates Health institute. (ND). Chlorophyll.

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2014). Vitamin, mineral, and multivitamin supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

    Dashwood, R. (2014). Green with Envy: Cancer Prevention by Chlorophyll-Rich Foods. Texas A&M University’s Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center Conference.

Published On: February 28, 2014