7 Food Myths Surrounding Cancer
Every one of us has likely lost someone we love to cancer. My grandma died of pancreatic cancer back in 2009. Cancer kills an average of 8.2 million people each year and lung, liver and breast cancer are among the highest killers. We do not fully understand cancer and as with anything with an element of mystery, several myths have arisen around foods that may help to cure cancer. After some research, we have decided to debunk a few of these food myths.
Super-foods can prevent cancer
Superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals like blueberries, garlic, broccoli, beetroot, etc. Despite widespread claims, there is no such thing as a superfood that can prevent cancer. That does not mean you should not be mindful of what you eat as some foods are healthier than others. Stocking up on fruits and veg is a great idea, and eating a range of different vegetables is helpful too.
Our bodies are even more complicated than the disease. This means that it is unlikely that simplistic solutions can be the solution to cancer. Accumulation of evidence over several decades points to a simple, but not very newsworthy fact that the best way to reduce your risk of cancer is by a series of long-term healthy behaviors such as abstaining from smoking, keeping active, keeping a healthy body weight and cutting back on alcohol.
You have less chance of getting cancer if you eat organic food
Farmers grow organic foods without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and are often more expensive than conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables. The cost of organic produce may cause us to buy, and therefore eat, less fruits and vegetables. However, simply eating organic foods is not enough to prevent one from getting cancer as there are so many factors that go into being healthy. Ultimately, deciding to buy organic food is a choice. It may be based on the nutritional value and personal beliefs including farming sustainability, but it should not be based on the basis of preventing oneself from getting the disease. Whatever you choose, make sure you wash your fresh produce well.
Acidic diets can cause cancer
The idea is that overly ‘acidic’ diets cause your blood to become ‘too acidic’, which can increase your risk of cancer. Their proposed solution: increase your intake of healthier ‘alkaline’ foods like green vegetables and fruits. It is true that cancer cells cannot live in an overly alkaline environment, but neither can any of the other cells in your body. The blood is usually slightly alkaline and this is regulated by the kidneys. The body’s alkaline range cannot be changed for any meaningful amount of time by what you eat, because any extra acid or alkali is simply peed out in urine. Eating vegetables is definitely healthy, but not because it has any effect on the overall acidity or alkalinity of the body.
Cancer has a sweet-tooth
Supporters of this theory propose that sugar apparently ‘feeds cancer cells’, suggesting it should be completely removed from patients’ diets. Sugar refers to a range of molecules including simple sugars found in plants, glucose and fructose. The white stuff you put in your cocoa is called sucrose and is made from glucose and fructose stuck together. All sugars are carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs – molecules made from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbs – whether from cake or a carrot – get broken down in our digestive system to release glucose and fructose. These get absorbed into the bloodstream to provide energy for us to live.
Every cell, cancerous or not uses glucose for energy. Because cancer cells usually grow faster than healthy cells, they tend to demand more glucose for this. But that does not mean the sugar from cakes, cookies and candies feeds cancer cells any more different from the carbs in rice and eba. While it is sensible to limit sugary foods to prevent diabetes and putting on weight, it is a far cry from saying sugary foods specifically feed cancer cells.
Sodium Bicarbonate can cure cancer since it is a fungus
Sodium bicarbonate is a salt composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. Supporters of this theory say that cancer is caused by infection by the fungus candida, and that tumors are developed from the body’s attempt at protecting itself from this infection. The ‘simple solution’ is apparently to inject tumors with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). This treatment does not work even for proven fungal infections, let alone cancer. On the contrary, there is good evidence that high doses of sodium bicarbonate can lead to serious and even fatal consequences.
Herbs can cure cancer
If you have ever entered a danfo bus from CMS to Mile2, you would have heard this myth. Sellers are always advertising different herbs and drugs that can cure every ailment, including cancer. This is wrong. Some herbs may help patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment, but no herbal product can effectively cure cancer. In fact, some herbal products may be harmful when taken during chemotherapy or radiation therapy because they may interfere with how these treatments work.
Juices cleanses detox cancer
Your body naturally cleanses harmful toxins that could put your health at risk. Drinking juices is not necessarily a bad thing, but drinking only fruit and vegetable juices can cause headaches, low energy, and nausea. Additionally, removing just the juice from whole fruits and vegetables strips out valuable nutrients, like fiber. Fiber is what makes a plant-based diet good for lowering your risk of several types of cancer.
Thankfully, the advent of modern medicine has giving cancer patients more of a fighting chance. As difficult as it may seem, we should not just rush into believing everything we hear about curing cancer. Instead we should strive for healthy eating habits, because healthy foods have immense health benefits. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so we can share experiences and pictures. Do not forget to hashtag #thevillagepot