What Does Cancer Actually Feed On?

While it may appear that I’ve been sitting back and letting Amy do all the blogging for our team, the truth is that I’ve been in the background, continuing to learn, work, and grow. We’ll have some exciting updates on continuing education, certifications, and other news coming soon.

Amy may be the writer in our family, but every so often something resonates with me enough to inspire me to write. Last week, I was listening to the episode How to Starve Cancer With Foods on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast with Dr. William Li.  How To Starve Cancer With Food (& Why We All Have Cancer). This episode, about cancer and food, was so powerful that I knew the time had come to blog again.

How many times have you heard that foods have anti-cancer properties? I don’t know about you, but for me it has been many, many times. Foods like berries, green tea, garlic, red grapes, and tomatoes amongst many others, are commonly known have anti-cancer properties. Until this podcast episode, I thought it was primarily due to their anti-oxidant effects, polyphenols, and fibers that bind dangerous chemicals to help eliminate them from the body.  However, Dr. Li explains that there is a completely different reason, one that I have not heard of before.

What I’ve heard of before is that you can starve cancer by eliminating sugar from your diet, because cancer feeds on sugars. This seems to be a long-repeated sentiment that I need to look into more. Dr. Li, however, makes a point of saying that cancer actually needs to be starved of blood supply! Dr. Li asserts that we all have cancer cells in our bodies and as long as we restrict the blood supply to those cells, they cannot grow.  In my mind, I see the cancer as a plant seed, and the blood supply as the light and water. If light and water are not given to a seed, it will never turn into a plant. And if cancer cells do not get a blood supply, we do not get cancer cell growth and multiplication.

The episode covers foods that have anti-angiogenic properties. Angiogenesis is a process that takes place in the body which is used to grow and maintain blood vessels in the body.  There was so much information packed into this episode, some things that stood out to me in this episode were: the myth that soy may cause cancer, the benefits of chocolate, and differences in tea types.

  • Yes, chocolate is good for us, if you haven’t heard, but it has to be dark chocolate (our house has a few 85% dark chocolate bars in the pantry at any given time). Dr. Li does note that Dutch chocolate is better than Swiss chocolate at being anti-angiogenic.
  • Dr. Li talked about the testing of teas. Black tea tested better than both Chinese or Japanese green teas, but when the Chinese and Japanese teas were combined, that mix surpassed the benefits of the black tea.

This podcast episode really illustrated the power food combining and synergistic effects different compounds have. This is one reason we should not get stuck in a rut with what we put on our plate. We need to eat a variety of foods.

Give a listen to this podcast. Reading the show notes alone provides a great wealth of information.  Now I’m off to explore what new foods I can add to my plate and find out if it is possible to find a chokeberry in the Lehigh Valley. Anyone want to bet on the percent likelihood of that? I’ll let you know. And stay tuned for the next blog about Dr. Li, his Ted talk, and my contemplation of my own experience with the benefits of green tea.

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