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Broccoli and Cancer

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that they had identified the ingredient in broccoli that worked as a powerful anticancer compound in laboratory experiments. The chemical, sulforaphane, boosts the production of an important enzyme known to neutralize carcinogens before they trigger tumor growth. In addition to broccoli, sulforaphane is found in bok choy, ginger, scallions, and other vegetables.

Source: Paul Talalay, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 16, 1992.


Cholesterol and Lung Cancer

In studies of men employed by the Western Electric Company in Chicago, researchers reported that men who ingested 500 milligrams or more of dietary cholesterol a day faced almost twice the risk of lung cancer as those who ate less than that amount. Eggs were cited as the chief cause.

Source: R. B. Shekelle et al., “Dietary Cholesterol and Incidence of Lung Cancer,” American Journal of Epidemiology 134:48084, 1992.


Chewing and Cancer

An Indian cancer researcher concluded that thorough chewing lowered the risk of cancer. “The proper chewing of meals ensuring that mucous-rich saliva mixed with the food seemed to be protective factors.” Cancer also appeared to be more prevalent in South India where white rice and considerably more fat, oil, and spices are used in cooking than in Northern India where whole-grain chapatis and thick dal made with lentils are the staple.

Source: S. L. Malhotra, “Dietary Factors in a Study of Cancer Colon from Cancer Registry, with Special Reference to the Role of Saliva, Milk and Fermented Milk Products, and Vegetable Fibre,” Medical Hypotheses 3:122-26, 1977.


Tofu and Stomach Cancer

Japanese cancer researchers found that people who regularly ate tofu were at less risk for stomach cancer than those who did not.

Source: T. Hirayama, “Epidemiology of Stomach Cancer,” in T. Murakami (ed.), Early Gastric Cancer. Gann Monograph on Cancer Research, 11 (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, pp. 3-19), 1971.


Miso Soup and Stomach Cancer

Japan’s National Cancer Center reported that people who eat miso soup daily are 33 percent less likely to contract stomach cancer and 19 percent less likely to contract cancer at other sites than those who never eat miso soup. The thirteen-year study, involving about 265,000 men and women over forty, also found that those who never ate miso soup had a 43 percent higher death rate from coronary heart disease than those who consumed miso soup daily. Those who abstained from miso also had 29 percent more fatal strokes, three and a half times more deaths resulting from high blood pressure, and higher mortality from all other causes.

Source: T. Hirayama, “Relationship of Soybean Paste Soup Intake to Gastric Cancer Risk,” Nutrition and Cancer 3:223-33, 1981.


Sea Vegetables and Sarcomas

Japanese scientists reported that several varieties of kombu and mojaban, common sea vegetables eaten in Asia and traditionally used as a decoction for cancer in Chinese herbal medicine, were effective in the treatment of tumors in laboratory experiments. In three of four samples tested, inhibition rates in mice with implanted sarcomas ranged from 89 to 95 percent. The researchers reported that “the tumor underwent complete regression in more than half of the mice of each treated group. ” Similar experiments on mice with leukemia showed promising results.

Source: I. Yamamoto et al., “Antitumor Effect of Seaweeds,” Japanese Journal of Experimental Medicine 44:543-46, 1974.


Shiitake and Sarcomas

Japanese scientists at the National Cancer Center Research Institute reported that shiitake mushrooms had a strong anti-tumor effect. In experiments with mice, polysaccharide preparations from various natural sources, including the shiitake mushroom commonly available in Tokyo markets, markedly inhibited the growth of induced sarcomas resulting in “almost complete regression of tumors . . . with no sign of toxicity.”

Source: G. Chihara et al., “Fractionation and Purification of the Polysaccharides with Marked Antitumor Activity, Especially Lentinan, from Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. (An Edible Mushroom),” Cancer Research 30:2776-81, 1970.


Lymphoma and Diet

Persons who regularly eat cereal grains, pulses, vegetables, seeds, and nuts are less likely to get lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease than persons who do not usually eat these foods, according to a 1976 survey based on World Health Organization data.

Source: A. S. Cunningham, “Lymphomas and Animal-Protein Consumption,” Lancet 2:1184-86.


Fat and Lung Cancer

In a review of the relation of diet, lifestyle, and lung cancer, researchers found that calories from dietary fat were highly significantly associated with lung cancer mortality. For example, male lung cancer deaths are highest in West European countries where a high-fat diet is consumed, and lowest in Thailand, Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala, and Japan where a low-fat diet is eaten.
While noting that smoking is still the major causative factor of lung cancer, the scientists theorized that a high-fat diet might also trigger the process by which cigarette smoke is harmful to the lungs. It is conceivable that “tobacco smoke is readily oxidized to the ultimate carcinogen as a consequence of a high-fat diet.”

Source: Ernst L. Wynder, James R. Hebert, and Geoffrey Kabat, “Association of Dietary Fat and Lung Cancer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 79:631-37, 1987.


Vegetables and Lung Cancer

A Chicago study found that regular consumption of foods containing beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, protected against lung cancer. Over a period of nineteen years, a group of 1,954 men at a Western Electric plant were monitored, and those who regularly consumed carrots, dark green lettuce, spinach, broccoli, kale, Chinese cabbage, peaches, apricots, and other carotene-rich foods had significantly lower lung cancer rates than controls.

Source: R. B. Shekelle et al., “Dietary Vitamin A and Risk of Cancer in the Western Electric Study,” Lancet 2:1185-90, 1981.


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