Whole plant-based foods help strengthen your immune system, which helps your body fight off cancer as well as other diseases. A study in the U.K. of 61, 566 people studied over 12 years that was published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2009 found that vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer than carnivores. This is in part because meat lacks nutrients with cancer-protective properties as well as fiber, and meat is loaded with saturated fat, which has been linked to higher cancer rates. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. clearly and reproducibly demonstrated in studies with rats that animal protein is an on-off switch for cancer: cancer was initiated, or if cancer was already present, propagated when rats were fed a diet with 20 percent of the calories from animal protein; cancer was not initiated, or if cancer was already present, halted or even reversed when rats were fed a diet with only 5 percent of the calories from animal protein. He and his collaborators observed the same correlations in humans in the largest epidemiological study to date, The China Project.
The best way to get cancer protection is by eating a colorful variety of foods. According to the Rainbow of Nutrition at www.CancerProject.org:
- Foods that are red including tomatoes, tomato products, watermelon, and guava contain lycopene, an antioxidant, which reduces risk of cancer by neutralizing free radicals.
- Foods that are orange including carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, mangos, and pumpkins contain beta-carotene, which supports the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant.
- Foods that are orange-yellow including oranges, lemons, grapefruits, papayas, and peaches contain vitamin C and flavonoids, which inhibit tumor cell growth and detoxify harmful substances.
- Foods that are green such as spinach, kale, collards, and other greens contain folate, which builds healthy cells and genetic material.
- Foods that are green-white such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower contain indoles and lutein, which eliminate excess estrogen and carcinogens.
- Foods that are white-green including garlic, onions, chives, and asparagus have allyl sulfides, which destroy cancer cells, reduce blue cell division, and support immune systems.
- Foods that are blue such as blueberries, purple grapes, and plums have anthocyanins, antioxidants that destroy free radicals.
- Foods that are red-purple such as grapes, berries, and plums contain resveratrol, which may decrease estrogen production.
- Foods that are brown such as whole grains and legumes are loaded with fiber, which like “scrub brushes for your intestinal tract, remove carcinogens.
- The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D.