It seems everywhere you turn, someone has cancer. Probably most people have someone close to them who has been affected. Unfortunately, I do. When my brother-in-law got the diagnosis last year, our whole lives changed. He was the last person I ever expected to get sick. Always vital, on the cutting edge, involved in so many things...a tower of unassuming, quiet strength. Over the last year, my family has been on the lookout for all kinds of information about cancer. When I picked up the latest issue of Good Health Lifestyles magazine at the health food store and saw the cover, in big red letters, "Cancer Prevention Update," I knew I needed to read the article. The information is so compelling that I felt it my duty to share this with you, my readers, and everyone else I can.
Dr. Ajay Goel, located at Baylor University in Dallas, Texas, is the Director of the Center for Translational Genomics and Oncology. He is also a Professor. He highlighted some very exciting research being done in the area of cancer prevention. What I found most astounding were these 2 quotes:
"The biggest misconception about cancer today is that you can't avoid it. This simply isn't true. Everyone has the ability to lessen their chances of being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. It's crucial for people to understand that chronic inflammation is the spark that ignites all disease in the body, including cancer." (p. 16)
"More than 95% of all cancers are non-hereditary, and can be influenced by your diet and lifestyle choices." (p. 17)
In other words, making good, healthy food and lifestyle choices can greatly affect our ability to prevent cancer in 95% of the cases! Wow!
Note: I urge you to read the full article. It goes on to describe developments in cancer treatments through epigenetics and, specifically, certain botanicals which have been very effective. Click here: issuu.com/goodhealthlifestyles/docs/ghlmagazine0418_issuu
I am giving you the link to the whole magazine, which itself is wonderful. The article is on p. 16-19)
What is chronic inflammation, anyway?
Inflammation is a term we hear over and over lately. But what IS it?
Inflammation, in general, is not necessarily a bad thing. Quite simply, it is the body's response to foreign invaders, whether it be a chemical, microbe or virus. The white blood cells gather and produce substances that help the body fight infection.
Here's the problem: sometimes the cells don't turn off and the body stays in a state of emergency. Over time this causes disease. In blood vessesl, for example, Dr. Paul DiCorieto of the Cleveland Clinic says:
"...when inflammatory cells hang around too long in blood vessels, they promote the buildup of dangerous plaque. The body sees this plaque as foreign and sends more of its first responders. As the plaque continues to build, the arteries can thicken, making a heart attack or stroke much more likely."
(For the whole article, click here: health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-should-pay-attention-to-chronic-inflammation )
Chronic inflammation has been linked not only to heart disease as described above, but Alzheimer's, depression, arthritis, and cancer.
What we can do about it
One way to combat chronic inflammation is through making good dietary and lifestyle choices. According to "Foods That Fight Inflammation," published by Harvard Medical School, "One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. 'Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects." (Click here for the article:
By the same token, there are foods which have been shown to CAUSE chronic inflammation, as well. Below are 2 lists, which should be of no surprise:
Foods that Cause Inflammation:
- Refined carbohydrates: white bread, pastries
- Sugary foods and soda
- Fried foods
- Red meat and processed meat (hot dogs, deli, etc.)
- Butter, whole milk and cheese
- Coffee creamers, margarine, and anything else high in trans fats
Foods that Fight Inflammation:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines
- Herbs and spices: tumeric, garlic
- Olive oil
Web MD: www.webmd.com/diet/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health#1 )
The bottom line
We may not have control over many aspects of our lives, our health included. But we DO have a choice over what we put in our mouths and how we live. Does this mean we should NEVER have a soda or a slice of pizza? Of course not. But making good choices the majority of the time adds up.
At the end of the day, it is Hashem (God) who has the final say on how healthy we will be. But by doing our part and CHOOSING to look after our health (an important mitzvah), we open ourselves up to more of His Divine assistance.
Wishing you good health and may the zechus (merit) of this article be a refuah shelaima (full recovery) for Yehuda Leib ben Hindel.
Here are some links to anti-Inflammatory recipes: