Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Feed Your Liver, Prevent Cancer

Did you know that eating broccoli sprouts, chlorophyll and grapefruit can reduce your chances of cancer dramatically? Studies have shown that individuals can reduce their risk up to 90% by eating these foods that help the liver function properly. (Ricci et al. 1999, Devanaboyina et al 1997, Dong et al 1989)

The liver removes substances from the body in a two-phase process. Partly-metabolized substances that have gone through the first phase but not the second are extremely carcinogenic. The liver works best when substances stay in phase one for a long time, then move through phase two rapidly and are are eliminated very quickly. Some foods help the liver do that well.

Broccoli sprouts are green powerhouses that contain a molecule called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) This molecule works on estrogen that has circulated in the body and is ready to be released. As estrogen is broken down at the end of phase one, it forms a metabolite (4HE) that is seriously implicated in breast cancer. When we eat broccoli sprouts, the I3C changes that metabolite to 2HE, which is not so dangerous.

Chlorophyll helps the liver prevent cancer, too, but in a different way. Rather than changing metabolites into something less harmful, this green miracle stops mutations by keeping the substances to be eliminated in phase one longer, where they can do no damage. It has been said that the chlorophyll contained in 2 cups of spinach can stop the carcinogenic effects of 1 grilled hamburger.

Grapefruit, and to a lesser degree, pomegranates, do their work by speeding up phase two and getting carcinogens eliminated speedily. Particularly, it is the bitter part of the grapefruit that works best.

So in a three-prong dietary approach that slows down phase one, changes metabolites, and speeds up phase two, cancer risk can be dramatically reduced.

Diet can also influence cancer by reducing inflammation. A general rule of thumb is that cancer grows in areas where there has been chronic inflammation for years. This inflammation may be a result of poorly managed injury, a high-glycemic diet with insulin excess, or viral infection such herpes or HPV. Foods that reduce inflammation are vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and essential fatty acids. Foods that contribute to inflammation are sugar and starchy foods, processed meats, transfats, additives and drugs.

To your healthy and happy liver,

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