B+ for Broccoli – Especially the Sprouts

March 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health

I find it sad that a vegetable I really struggle to eat is being shown in study after study to help prevent and treat cancer.   However I will persevere, particularly after a new study by the University of Illinois says that combining broccoli with broccoli sprouts nearly doubles the cruciferous vegetable’s anti-cancer effects.
Elizabeth Jeffery, a Professor of Nutrition who worked on the study explained that broccoli, prepared correctly, is an extremely potent cancer-fighting agent and that three to five servings a week are enough to have an effect.   As I average a serving probably every 3-5 months I can see I have a long way to go, but to get broccoli’s anti-cancer benefits, the enzyme myrosinase has to be present.   If it’s not there, sulforaphane the cancer-preventive and anti-inflammatory component, doesn’t form, so how do you get this benefit?
Previous research has found that overcooking broccoli results in the elimination of up to 90 percent of the vegetable’s anti-cancer compounds – besides making it taste pretty grim in my view.  The ideal cooking method is to gently steam it, and not in a microwave, as this can potentially unlock more of its anti-cancer compounds than are present when eating the vegetable raw.   As my preferred method is to lightly stir fry, I can see I shall have to rethink.
Sprouts are known to have powerful health benefits as they are eaten raw and lose none of their nutrients and the researchers compared blood levels of sulforaphane among a group of men who ate meals containing either broccoli sprouts alone, broccoli powder alone, or both combined.   They found that in just three hours after finishing their meals, participants who ate both the powder and the sprouts had nearly twice as much of the anti-cancer substance in their systems than the two other groups did.
Leads me to wonder why they didn’t include the vegetable itself – but the idea of broccoli powder certainly interests me!  If you want to increase the benefits of broccoli and its sprouts even further then try combining other sulforaphane-rich foods like mustard, radishes, arugula, and wasabi, with them.
If you do take a broccoli supplement then it will increase the benefits even further. But she warns that taking certain broccoli supplements in lieu of actual broccoli and broccoli sprouts may not work, as some broccoli supplements do not contain the vital enzyme myrosinase that produces sulforaphane. One that does, along with other sprouts is Broccoforte and you can find information on that at www.water-for-health.co.uk

How You Can Dramatically Cut Risk of Mouth Cancer with Diet – And Increase It

November 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Health, Mens Health, Womens Health

Mouth cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the UK, and is the cause of more deaths than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined with one death from it every five hours. I have previously highlighted the risks of mouth cancer and now there is news of a specific preventive that works extremely well in helping us avoid mouth cancer and points out exactly what to avoid. For the first time, folic acid intake has been shown to affect the risk of the disease and an unhealthy diet means a threefold increase in risk.

This new information comes from a study of 87,000 nurses who were followed for 30 years from 1976 by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Centre and Harvard School of Public Health. What they found was that women who consume high volumes of folic acid found in Vitamin B from vegetables and some fruits are much less likely to suffer from mouth cancer.

You will find high levels of folic acid in spinach, beetroot, potato, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, banana, oranges and peaches.

What to avoid:
The researchers also discovered that women who drank a high volume of alcohol and had low folic acid intake were three times more likely to develop mouth cancer than those who drank high volumes of alcohol but had high volumes of folic acid in their diet. Alcohol is one of the major risk factors for mouth cancer and those who drink to excess are four times more likely to be diagnosed. Alcohol leads to a reduction in folic acid metabolism by creating acetaldehyde which leads to a reduction of folic acid in the body.

As social habits have changed, so women have been drinking more and the rates of mouth cancer in women have been increasing for many years. It is also be linked to the fact that we are consuming less fresh fruit and vegetables than previous generations.

Previous studies have tended to focus on men, as they are twice as likely to suffer from the disease, but this new information also applies to them.

Recent research has also shown that an increase in food such as eggs and fish that contain Omega 3, and nuts, seeds and brown rice, which are high in fibre, can help decrease the risks. Also brushing twice a day and flossing are key ingredients in oral health and help keep your risk factor down. With its low survival rate, it is critical to pay attention to prevention as only around half of diagnosed cases survive for 5 years.

What to look for:
The Mouth Cancer Action Month Campaign aims to increase awareness and reverse this trend with the theme ‘If in doubt get checked out’. Early warning signs to look out for include a mouth ulcer that has not healed within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and any unusual swelling or lumps in the mouth. These are all signs that you should get your dentist or doctor to check you out as soon as possible.

Mouth cancer is twice more common in men than in women, though an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with the disease. Previously, the disease has been five times more common in men than women. Age is another factor, with people over the age of 40 more likely to be diagnosed, though more young people are now being affected than previously.

The two biggest risk factors are alcohol, gum disease and tobacco and if you both smoke and drink alcohol in excess you are up to 30 times more likely to be diagnosed with mouth cancer.

For more information visit www.mouthcancer.org or call the Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial advice to consumers on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Say No to Cancer

September 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

Experts are now predicting that our Lifetime cancer risk is going to be 1 in 2 by 2020 – a mere 10 years away. In fact, it is one in three already and top nutritionist and author Patrick Holford believes that most of this risk is completely avoidable by simple changes to both diet and lifestyle factors which expose us to a plethora of carcinogens, which promote cancer cells and also suppress the immune system.

It may be comforting to believe that great strides are being made in cancer treatment, but Holford believes that nothing substantial has changed. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there has been less than a 1% decrease in the rate of new cancer diagnosis and neither the death rate nor the incidence of new cases has changed.

Treatment is one thing but for prevention – both before and after diagnosis – to be effective, it has to respect the fact that the cancer process is multifactorial. It depends on:

a) Reducing exposure to carcinogens, of which there are thousands in our modern environment and diet;
b) Improving one’s ability to repair damaged DNA;
c) Controlling factors that stimulate cell growth, which include common ‘insulin resistance’ and drinking milk; and
d) Diet and lifestyle habits that strengthen immunity – from vitamin D and sunlight exposure to eating berries and upping antioxidants.

If a person has cancer, or early-stage cancer risk, these prevention factors have to be applied aggressively, not just as advice to ‘eat a well balanced diet’. There have been in reality no substantial change in cancer treatment and although surgical procedures have slightly improved they don’t actually address the underlying cause.

In his new book ‘Say No to Cancer’ Holford outlines the real strides that have been made in nutrition-based anti-cancer strategies that both kill cancer cells and boost immunity, rather than weaken it, as does chemotherapy and radiation. He discusses two of the most promising treatments which are intravenous and/or megadose vitamin C and salvestrols, both of which show promise.
Everyone knows that eating fruits and vegetables is good for your health. Conventional medical advice is to eat at least five portions a day and evidence shows that a diet rich in plant-based foods helps to combat many diseases, especially cancer. What is now becoming clear is that there is more than one single mechanism whereby plants are able to help prevent and reverse the cancer process.

A dedicated team of research scientists in Leicester believe that a key component, and a mechanism, in plants could be a major breakthrough in both cancer prevention and treatment. They believe that salvestrols, naturally occurring compounds in certain plants, can help to explain how plants offer a treatment for cancer with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.

Salvestrols are a group of naturally-occurring plant compounds present in certain fruits and vegetables, they contain substances which can be changed by an enzyme, present in both pre-cancerous and cancerous cells, to produce a toxic chemical which brings about ‘cell death’ (apoptosis) and therefore destroys the cancer cells.

He had written a previous version of this book, but Patrick Holford found that in the last decade there has been so much positive research showing how to make yourself cancer-proof that he has completely rewritten Say No to Cancer, to more than double the size, and is doing a nationwide tour, both in the UK and Ireland, to help you learn the simple tricks to boosting your body’s own defences against cancer, and also infections, and how to stack all the odds in your favour to never get cancer.

For information on Patrick’s forthcoming seminars, and to buy the book please visit his website at www.patrickholford.com

Well Cooked Meat Can Raise Cancer Risk By Up T0 500%

August 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

As we are probably in the last few weeks of the barbecue season I hope this warning doesn’t come too late. If your answer to the question ‘how do you like your steak?’ is to say ‘extremely well done’ then for your health’s sake you might want to turn down the heat a little. The link between charring meat by frying, barbecuing or otherwise heavily cooking it and cancer has been made before but a new study from the University of Texas has just confirmed it.

Researchers there have found that people who eat well-done meat double their risk of developing bladder cancer when compared to people who eat meat on the rarer end of the spectrum. The reason? This type of cooking can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals in the meat, due primarily to the heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form when meat is cooked at very high heat.

There are three different HCA chemicals formed during high-heat cooking that, collectively, raise your cancer risk by more than 250 percent. And that astonishing figure is just for the average person; if you are already genetically predisposed to developing cancer then the risk is nearly doubled to almost 500 percent.

As I said, the link between cancer and very well cooked meat has already been made and the U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified a total of 17 different HCAs. Prior research has already established that these chemicals, which are produced when meat is charred, increase pancreatic cancer risk but now it appears that they contribute to bladder cancer as well.

The good news is that the study team made very clear in its report that meat itself is not necessarily the culprit in increasing cancer risk, but rather the intense cooking methods by which it is prepared. If you are patting yourself on the back because you don’t eat red meat I regret to inform you that chicken, pork and even fish cooked heavily may also form cancer-causing HCAs. This is a blow to me as one of my favourite meals is to marinade and then dry fry salmon steaks in a redhot nonstick pan until the surface is crispy — ah well, another favourite food hits ‘the occasional treats’ list!

So if you are addicted to the barbecue or grill then the best advice is to keep meat away from direct flames as this will help to reduce the development of HCAs and lower the risk of developing cancer.

Vitamin C Supplementation Helps Slow Growth of Cancer Cells

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Health, Medical Research & Studies

If there are two people who got a wholly unjustified bad press from the medical profession then for my money Linus Pauling runs Dr John Lee a close second. Over fifty years ago Linus Pauling began his pioneering research into how vitamin C impacts health and his findings have been debated and challenged ever since. Pauling, who died in 1994, was an American chemist, peace activist, author, and educator and winner of two Nobel prizes. He was also one of the most influential figures in putting nutrition and supplementation to the forefront of the health debate.

He was revered in his lifetime by those who saw the benefits of his work on vitamin C, although he was always controversial. His best known quote on cancer research for example certainly made him plenty of enemies when he said “Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organizations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them.” Now, almost 25 years after his death, a new study not only confirms his contention that vitamin C has remarkable healing and protective benefits but has discovered how vitamin C may slow down the growth of cancer cells. Margreet Vissers is associate professor at the University of Otago’s Free Radical Research Group in New Zealand and the results of the study she headed has just been published in the journal Cancer Research. The problem with vitamin C, as with so many other ‘alternative’ treatments is that despite the many anecdotal accounts claiming vitamin C can help in both the prevention and treatment of cancer it has not been clinically proved to the medical establishments satisfaction.

In earlier studies conducted by Dr. Vissers, she demonstrated the vitamin’s importance in keeping cells healthy and results indicated that vitamin C might be able to limit diseases such as cancer as that involve cells that have unregulated growth.

Her research team decided to investigate whether vitamin C levels were lower in patients with endometrial tumors and also looked to see whether these low vitamin C levels correlated with the aggressiveness of a malignancy and the resistance of a tumor to medical therapy.

The results were impressive. Tumors were less able to accumulate vitamin C when compared with normal healthy tissue and a lack of vitamin C allowed tumors to survive and grow more easily. Tumors with low vitamin C levels were found to contain more of a protein dubbed HIF-1 which helps cancer thrive and spread, even under conditions of stress. The findings are important because they provide evidence for the first time of a relationship between HIF-1 and levels of vitamin C levels in cancerous tumours.

What is even more important, in my view, is this completely vindicates Linus Pauling as the research shows that treating cancer patients with adequate amounts of vitamin C might well reduce HIF-1, help limit the rate of tumor growth and increase the responsiveness to tumors to therapy. Dr. Vissers went even further in stating her belief that Vitamin C might even prevent the formation of solid tumors in the first place, and that is the best argument I know for ensuring adequate amounts in your diet and personally I supplement daily for its protective role in heart disease, as well as possible cancer prevention.

Seaweed Extract May Be A Treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

March 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system and is classified into Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s types, which are then further classified into B-cell and T-cell groups. Unfortunately some forms of B-cell lymphoma are especially resistant to standard treatment and so the search has been on for new therapies.

Research underway at the Hashemite University in Jordan to see whether seaweed extract could hold the key has evolved into trials with a commercially available seaweed extract at the University of California, Berkeley, and Royal Hobart Hospital in Australia.

They are investigating active compounds derived from a natural source seaweed treated as they contain fucoidan. This is a sulfated polysaccharide that is similar to heparin in chemical structure and that has been reported to have anti-tumour activity in mice. They found that

the extract did inhibit the the growth of lymphoma cell lines, while leaving the control healthy cells intact. The researchers also noted a significant pattern of activity in the genes known to be linked with apoptosis, or cell death, in lymphoma.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is where this result was aired and they have called for more study and phase II or III clinical trials involving seaweed extract.

Milk Thistle Can Help Protect Cancer Patients

January 5, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health


I have often suggested to those undertaking chemotherapy that they talk to a homoeopath and get a remedy to protect them from the side effects of the chemotherapy and its effect on the immune system. There are several remedies available from places like the Ainsworths in London and the Galen Pharmacy in Dorset. They latter are happy to advise you by phone if you call them on 01305 263996 and they can then post a remedy out to you.

Now there is a new study out that offers hope for patients who suffer liver inflammation as a result of chemotherapy. A study recently published by the American Cancer Society indicates that the herb could be helpful in allowing patients to take potent doses of chemotherapy without damaging their liver.

Chemotherapy drugs frequently cause liver inflammation with the result that their dose of the drug must be reduced or stopped. Clinical studies have already established that the herb can be used to reduce damage from cirrhosis (from alcohol) or toxins (such as mushroom poisoning) but this is the first review to establish if it can be helpful in cancer patients.

Fifty children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and who all were suffering from liver inflammation, a common side effect of their chemotherapy, took part in a randomized, controlled, double blind study in New York. Half were given milk thistle and half a placebo and at the end of the trial period they performed liver function tests on all the children.

Those who were given milk thistle had improvements in their liver enzymes compared with children receiving a placebo. Taking milk thistle also seemed to help keep fewer patients from having to lower the dose of their medications: chemotherapy doses were reduced in 61 percent of the group receiving milk thistle, compared with 72 percent of the placebo group. In addition, milk thistle appeared to be safe for consumption. Also, the researchers found that milk thistle does not interfere with the cancer-fighting properties of chemotherapy.

For anyone dealing with liver toxicity, from whatever cause, it would seem to make sense to add this herb into any treatment regime.

Gold particles to treat tumours

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies, Surgery


MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers have been working on a difficult problem. Heat is an effective weapon against tumour cells, but the difficulty has been to heat patients’ tumours without damaging nearby tissues. The solution turns out be golden – in fact tiny gold particles that can home in on the tumour, and then, by absorbing energy from near-infrared light and emitting it as heat, destroy them with virtually no side effects.

Gold nanoparticles can absorb different frequencies of light, depending on their shape. Rod-shaped particles, such as those used in the research, absorb light at near-infrared frequency; this light heats the rods but passes harmlessly through human tissue. Once the nanorods are injected, they disperse uniformly throughout the bloodstream and then into blood vessels located near tumours which have tiny pores just large enough for the nanorods to enter. The nanorods then accumulate in the tumours, and within three days, the liver and spleen clear any that don’t reach the tumour itself.

During a single exposure to a near-infrared laser, the nanorods heat up to 70 degrees Celsius, hot enough to kill tumour cells, and at a lower temperature they weaken tumour cells enough to enhance the effectiveness of existing chemotherapy. Another use for this treatment is to kill tumour cells left behind after surgery. The nanorods can be more than 1,000 times more precise than a surgeon’s scalpel, and so could potentially remove residual cells the surgeon can’t get at.

The statistics on cancer are daunting. There are currently around 7 million people worldwide diagnosed and that number is projected to grow to 15 million by 2020. As the majority are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and/or radiation, they are subject to debilitating side effects because of the difficult in accurately targeting tumour tissue. At present, 99 percent of chemotherapy drugs are estimated to not reach the tumour, but the gold nanorods can specifically focus heat with a much greater accuracy to destroy the tumour.

HRT & Cancer confirmation

April 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies, Womens Health


HRT is a thorny subject, with its advocates and detractors in equal numbers. I have been on HRT for 6 months many years ago, and know what it can do, but I also have seen much research on the damage it can wreak. New studies in recent months had pointedout the dangers of side effects such as strokes, blood clots, brain shrinkage, dementia, and even gallbladder disease, but the greatest danger comes from its role in promoting cancer.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that when women are taken off HRT their cancer risk is dramatically reduced. A new study was conducted by UCLA oncologist Dr. Roman Chelbowski, and he found that the rate of breast cancer in postmenopausal women dramatically dropped in the first two years after they stopped using HRT, and then continued to reduce each year afterwards. Women in the study who also took hormone supplements of oestrogen and progestin had double the chance of developing cancer over five years, compared to women who weren’t on any form of HRT.

My view is that if you take HRT knowing the risks that is your business, but I do urge you not to fall into the trap of taking HRT long-term, which is what many doctors advocate. The risks increase, and the benefits decrease, the longer you are on it so make sure you have a definite schedule. Menopausal symptoms may be alleviated, but the menopause itself can’t be avoided, HRT or not.

Astrological health profiles – Cancer

February 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Health


Cancer 22 June – 23 July

Not sure I should be sharing this information, as it is my own sign and you will learn far too much about me! Claimed to be one of the most introverted and emotionally vulnerable signs of the zodiac, Cancerians are prone to great change and fluctuation in mood – and my friends will vouch for that, certainly around the full moon! Watch out for:

* Stress-related illnesses are common, often brought on my those frequent and powerful mood shifts, and Cancerian’s emotional sensitivity to themselves and others.

* Cancer is the sign of nurturing and vulnerabilities come from those areas such as the breast and stomach. Indigestion from being upset, and gastric ulcers from prolonged stress can be a problem.

* In women, PMS, water retention and swollen and sore breasts are common.

* Worry and anxiety can upset sleep patterns and this sign needs regular, balanced night time rest to maintain good health.

Tackling any stress is the best place to start dealing with swings of emotion and then making sure that nothing adds to the health strains on the body. If indigestion is a problem, try something like peppermint tea after a meal, or look at The Hay Diet which is about food combining. The less strain you put on your digestive system the better, so treat it kindly with alkaline foods and light, frequent meals. To ease yourself into sleep, don’t eat late at night and allow at least 2-3 hours after a meal before going to bed. If your worries are keeping you awake, try Bach Remedy for sleep or a herbal supplement containing hops or valerian.

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