Cabbage, a traditional staple in Europe and Asia, is valued for its mild, crisp texture and natural sweet taste. Its balanced energy are particularly good for the pancreas, spleen, and stomach. As an external remedy, cabbage leaves will reduce fever, neutralize inflammation, or relieve burns and bruises.
• Cabbage Protects Against Pancreatic Cancer
In a review of cohort studies of pancreatic cancer, researchers in Sweden reported that consumption of cruciferous vegetables, especially cabbage, was associated with up to a 30 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer.
Source: S. C. Larsson et al., “Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Relation to Pancreatic Cancer Risk: A Prospective Study,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 25(2):301-5, 2006.
• Cabbage and Other Brassica Vegetables Protect Against Cancer
Brassica vegetables, including cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, are protective against cancer, according to a review of seven cohort and 87 case-control studies. Researchers in the Netherlands reported that cabbage had the strongest anticancer effect of all the brassica vegetables. Protective effects were strongest for lung, stomach, colon, and rectal cancer.
Source: D. T. Verhoeven et al., “Epidemiological Studies on Brassica Vegetables and Cancer Risk,” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 5(9):733-48, 1996.
Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, tea, soft drinks, cocoa, chocolate, and 2000 nonprescription drugs, is the world’s most consumed drug. Eighty percent of adults in the U.S. consume it daily in one form or another. Globally, tea is the world’s most popular beverage, followed by coffee and soft drinks. One cup of tea contains about half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. A 12-ounce can of Coke or Pepsi contains about as much caffeine as a cup of tea or half a cup of coffee. See Coffee, Infectious Disease, Tea.
• Multiple Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine is not a direct stimulant, reports health researcher Stephen Braun. “Instead, it works indirectly by interfering with one of the brain’s main chemical ‘brakes.’ Like a car with a sticky brake pedal, the brain speeds up because it can’t slow down.”
Metabolically, it takes the liver about 5 hours to break down half a given amount of caffeine. Absorbed quickly in the intestine, caffeine crosses all cell membranes and is rapidly diffused into the saliva, semen, breast milk, and amniotic fluid. Caffeine revs up the brain, stimulating mental focus, productivity, and physical performance.
However, in large amounts, caffeine produces the opposite effect, inhibiting neuron firing and acting as a depressant. Caffeine causes the heart to beat more rapidly, constricts some blood vessels and dilates others, and stimulates some muscles to contract and others to expand. Caffeine can curb the appetite, cause weight loss, and serve as a laxative. It increases urine production and can stress the kidneys.
While caffeine releases fat stored in cells, “caffeine may actually make it harder to eat a balanced, healthy diet.” In medical studies, it is associated with increased binge eating, premenstrual syndrome, and possible birth defects and impaired development of children.
Decaf, meanwhile, is weakly linked with raising cholesterol, and the solvent processing method, using strong chemicals like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, may pose risks, though it has been approved by the FDA.
Habitual coffee drinkers commonly suffer from withdrawal symptoms, including tiredness, irritability, and grogginess in the morning before they have their first cup of coffee. Caffeine dependence, withdrawal, and addiction were not recognized until recently.
In writing his book, Braun concludes that he has become more conscious of caffeine’s strong, potentially harmful effects. While he still drinks coffee, he is more mindful and takes periodic “caffeine holidays” of one or two weeks at a time.
Source: Stephen Braun, Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
Calcium is a major mineral constituent of teeth and bones. In addition to dairy products, green leafy vegetables such as collards, kale, and turnip greens, as well as beans, sea vegetables, seeds and nuts, and other plant quality foods are high in this mineral. Current medical research suggests that calcium from animal sources is processed differently in the body than that from plant sources. The relation between dietary calcium and the calcium in bones appears to be the result of many synergetic factors, so that simply taking in more calcium, especially from dairy products and calcium supplements, may not strengthen the skeletal structure and, in fact, may weaken it. See Dental Health, Kale, Osteoporosis, Protein, Vitamin D.
• Calcium Intake Unrelated to Bone Development
Calcium intake is not linked to strong bones, according to British researchers. In a study of mothers in England and Gambia, scientists found that the Africans, who ate a diet low in calcium and had as many as ten babies and breast-fed each one, had comparable bone masses as English mothers who ate a high calcium diet and had had on average two children and breast-fed them little or not at all. The researchers found that the En-glish women on a high-calcium diet, from dairy foods, were more likely to get osteoporosis later in life than the Gambians. Calcium supplements proved useless in boosting the bone mass of women of childbearing age.
Source: T. J. Aspray et al., “Low Bone Mineral Content Is Common But Osteoporotic Fractures Are Rare in Elderly Rural Gambian Women,” Journal of Bone Mineral Research 11(7):1019-25, 1996.
The word “cancer” comes from the Greek term karkinos, which means crab. Hippocrates, who first applied it to medicine, evidently likened tumors to the crablike properties or spread of the disease. He taught a dietary approach to cancer, and through the ages there have been many reported recoveries using natural means.
In the modern era, health reformers have linked cancer with diet since the early 1800s. Modern medicine, however, generally ignored this relationship until the 1970s. One of the 20th century pioneers in nutritional research was Dr. Albert Tannebaum, director of the department of cancer research at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. In an address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science on August 4, 1944, he stated: “At the present time there is widespread interest in the relationship of nutrition to tumors . . . It is likely that a natural diet contains a more adequate quality, quantity, and balance of essential components than our present day synthetic diets. Nutritionists are beginning to believe that synthetic diets may give effects quite different from natural diets. Fundamentally, it is the natural diet that is of interest in human nutrition and disease.”
See Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, Leukemia, Lung Cancer, Lymphoma, Pancreatic Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Stomach Cancer.
See American Cancer Society, Carotenoids, Carrots, Chewing, Ginger, Green Tea, Hiziki, Immune Function, Japanese Diet, Lentils, Macrobiotics, Microwave, Millet, Miso, Natto, Phytochemicals, Phytoestrogens, Rice, Sea Vegetables, Shiitake, Soy Foods, Sugar, Tempeh, Vegetables, Vegetarians, War-Restricted Diet, Water, Whole Grains, World Health Organization.
• Protective Mechanisms of Plant-Quality Foods
In a review of the epidemiological data, including both cohort and case-control studies, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle reported that plant-quality foods have preventive potential at all cancer sites and that consumption of the following groups and types of vegetables and fruits is lower in those who subsequently develop cancer: raw and fresh vegetables, leafy green vegetables, Cruciferous vegetables, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and raw and fresh fruit, including citrus fruit and tomatoes.
Foods high in phytoestrogens, particularly soybean foods (high in isoflavones) or grains and fibrous vegetables high in precursor compounds that can be metabolized by bacteria in the intestines into active agents are associated with a lower risk of sex-hormone-related cancers.
Biologically, plant foods may slow or prevent the appearance of cancer because of anticarcinogenic substances including: carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, dietary fiber (and its components), dithiolthiones, isothiocyanates, indoles, phenols, protease inhibitors, allium compounds, plant sterols, and limonene.
“At almost every one of the stages of the cancer process, identified phytochemicals are known to be able to alter the likelihood of carcinogenesis,” the researchers concluded. “For example, glucosinolates and indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates, phenols, and coumarins can induce a multiplicity of phase II (solubilizing and usually inactivating) enzymes; ascorbate and phenols block the formation of carcinogens such as nitrosamines; flavonoids and carotenoids act as antioxidants, essentially disabling the carcin-ogenic potential of specific compounds; lipid-soluble compounds such as carotenoids and sterols may alter membrane structure or integrity; some sulphur-containing compounds suppress DNA and protein synthesis; carotenoids can suppress DNA synthesis and enhance differentiation; and phytoestrogens compete with estradiol for estrogen receptors in a way that is generally antiproliferative.”
“Consumption of diets low in plant foods results in a reduced intake of a wide variety of those substances that can plausibly lower cancer risk,” the researchers concluded. “In the presence of a diet and lifestyle high in potential carcinogens (whether derived from fungal contamination, cooking, or tobacco) or high in promoters (such as salt and alcohol), overall risk of cancer at many epithelial sites is elevated. Plant foods appear to exert a general risk-lowering effect; the patterns of exposure to cancer initiators and promoters and of genetic susceptibility may determine the variations in the site-specific risks of cancer seen across populations.”
Source: J. D. Potter et al., “Vegetables, Fruit, and Phytoestrogens as Preventive Agents,” IARC Science Publications 139:61-90, 1996.
• The Cancer Prevention Diet
In The Cancer-Prevention Diet, Michio Kushi introduces the macrobiotic approach to cancer, including complete dietary and way of life guidelines for 25 major types of malignancies. The book includes summaries of hundreds of nutritionally oriented medical studies, including many dietary observations from the Renaissance through the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as contemporary recovery stories.
“From the macrobiotic view, cancer is the final stage in a sequence of events in an illness through which individuals in the modern world tend to pass because they fail to appreciate the beneficial nature of disease symptoms. A healthy organism can deal with a limited amount of excess nutrients or toxic materials taken in the form of daily food. This imbalance can be naturally eliminated through daily activity, sweating, urination, bowel movement, or other means. However, if the person continues to overconsume, the body begins to fall back upon abnormal measures for elimination including colds, fever, coughing, skin disease, and other symptoms. From the macrobiotic perspective, such sickness is a natural adjustment, the result of the wisdom of the body trying to keep us in natural balance.
“However, in modern society these symptoms are generally suppressed or controlled with drugs, surgery, and other methods which separate people from the natural workings of their own bodies. If minor ailments are treated in this symptomatic way with no adjustment in what we eat, the excess held in the body eventually begins to accumulate in the form of fatty-acid deposits and chronically troublesome mucus, and manifests in vaginal discharges, breast or ovarian cysts, kidney stones, or other worrisome conditions. In this state, the body is still able to localize the excess and toxins consumed. By gathering the unwanted material in local areas, the rest of the body is maintained in a relatively clean and smooth functioning condition. From the macrobiotic view, the process of localization is part of our natural healing power, saving us from complete break-down. In contrast, the modern view looks on those localizations as invasive enemies that have to be destroyed and removed.
“As long as excess continues to accumulate and exceeds the body's normal or abnormal discharge ability, it must be stored somewhere. These storage depots gradually grow and become tumors, and when they are filled they spread and overflow into new areas, or what are called metastases.
“As long as we continue to take in excessive nutrients, chemicals, and other factors that serve no purpose in the body, they must continue to accumulate somewhere in order to continue our normal living functions. If we don't allow them to accumulate in limited areas and form tumors, they will spread throughout the body, resulting in a total collapse of our vital functions and death by toxemia. Cancer is only the terminal stage of a long process. Cancer is the body's healthy attempt to isolate toxins ingested and accumulated through years of eating the modern unnatural diet and living in an artificial environment. Cancer is the body's last drastic effort to prolong life, even a few more months or years.”
Source: Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, The Cancer-Prevention Diet, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, third edition, 2010).
• Diet Linked to 30% of Cancers
In a report on diet, lifestyle, and cancer, a Harvard School of Public Health study attributed 30 percent of cancer deaths to diet and obesity, 30 percent to smoking, and 5 percent to lack of exercise. Carcinogens in the workplace, family history of cancer, and viruses were responsible for 5 percent of cancer deaths, while alcohol, socioeconomic status, and reproductive factors each were associated with 3 percent. The report recommended eating more vegetables and fruits to reduce the risk of cancer of the lungs, esophagus, and larynx; eating more beans and grains to reduce cancer of the stomach and pancreas; eating less red meat to prevent colorectal cancers; eating less animal fat which is associated with prostate cancer; exercising daily and avoiding ultraviolet light from the sun.
Source: “Harvard Report on Cancer Prevention, “ Cancer Causes & Control 7 Supplement 1:S7-9, 1996.
• Diet vs. Conventional Treatment
The National Cancer Institute reported that radiation therapy and chemotherapy were ineffective and in some cases produced toxic side-effects as follow-ups to surgery in the treatment of cancer. “Except possibly in selected patients with cancer of the stomach, there has been no demonstrated improvement in the survival of patients with the ten most common cancers when radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both have been added to surgical resection.”
In an autopsy study, researchers reported that 44 percent of 250 cancers examined had been undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and 57 percent of the people with the missed diagnoses died as a result of the malignancy or its complications.
Source: Steven A. Rosenberg, “Combined-Modality Therapy of Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine 312:1512-14; Elizabeth C. Burton, M.D., et al, “Autopsy Diagnoses of Malignant Neoplasms,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280:1245-48, 1998.
• Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Reduces Cancer Risk
In a review of 200 studies that examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and cancer at selected sites, researchers found that consumption of these foods offered a significantly protective effect in 128 of 156 dietary studies in which results were expressed in terms of relative risk. For lung cancer, these foods were protective in 24 of 25 studies after control for smoking in most instances. Fruit was protective for tumors of the esophagus, oral cavity, and larynx in 28 of 29 studies. Vegetables and fruit were protective in 26 of 30 studies for the pancreas and stomach, as well as in colorectal and bladder cancers (23 of 38 studies). For malignancies of the cervix, ovary, and endometrium, a significant protective effect was shown in 11 of 13 studies. In breast cancer, a protective effect was found to be strong and consistent in meta analysis. Overall, the relative risk of cancer was about twice as high for those eating few fruits and vegetables compared to those who ate plenty of these foods.
“In 1854, John Snow stopped a cholera epidemic simply by taking the handle off the pump. The research presented above suggests that consumption of fruits and vegetables may be a handle that, if manipulated by public policy, clinical advice, and public education, could have a substantial impact on a wide range of cancers,” the researchers concluded.
Source: Gladys Block et al., “Fruits, Vegetables, and Cancer Prevention: A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence,” Nutrition and Cancer 18:1-29, 1992.
More healthful diets, exercise, and other lifestyle changes are credited with bringing down the overall rate of new cases of cancer for the first time, researchers reported in 1998. In the last six years, cancer incidence dropped by about 6 percent, the first decline in national malignancy rates since statistics began to be tracked 25 years ago.
Also in 1997, the number of cancer deaths declined in the U.S. for the first time. Dr. David S. Rosenthal, president of the American Cancer Society and a Harvard Medical School professor, noted that Americans increased their vegetable and fruit intake from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, contributing to the decline.
Source: D. S. Rosenthal, “Changing Trends,” CA Cancer Journal Clin 48(1):3-4, 1998.
• Global Cancer Rates Rise
Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, the most comprehensive review and evaluation of scientific evidence on diet and cancer in the 1990s, concluded that 3 to 4 million cases of cancer per year could be prevented by appropriate diet and lifestyle changes.
Prepared by a 15-member panel with the support of the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, the report made 14 dietary recommendations that "are likely to prevent cancer and are consistent with the prevention of other diseases." The report noted that worldwide 10 million people developed some form of cancer in 1996, and at least 6 million died of the disease.
Source: Charles Marwick, "Global Review of Diet and Cancer Links Available," Journal of the American Medical Association 278: 1650-51, 1997.
• 22% Australian Patients Using Alternative Methods
In Australia, a cancer clinic at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney reported that 22 percent of its patients were using alternative methods, especially diet and psychological approaches, with a “very high” degree of expectation and satisfaction.
Source: S. D. Begbie et al., “Patterns of Alternative Medicine Use by Cancer Patients,” Medical Journal of Australia 165(10):545-48, 1996.
Candida albicans is a fungal microorganism that exists naturally in the linings of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive organs in low concentrations. However, high concentrations can cause a variety of symptoms including fatigue, depression, food allergies, chemical sensitivity, and other symptoms. “Candida”—the popular name for this yeast-related illness (YRI)—has been associated with immune deficiency, and researchers have linked it with excessive use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, treatment with corticosteroids, and a diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates. Whole grains, high in lignans and other phytochemicals that inhibit yeasts and other anaerobic growth, may be taken to help restore beneficial microflora in the intestines, as well as aduki beans and other legumes. Small amounts of miso, tempeh, shoyu, and other fermented foods may also be taken.
• Whole Grains Beneficial for Candida
In a review of candida, Elmer Cranton, M.D., a former president of the American Holistic Medical Association, recommended dietary treatment including avoidance of simple sugars that promote the growth of yeast, soft drinks, and alcohol. He also recommended temporary minimization of breads and baked goods and some cereals which may trigger symptoms as part of the healing response. “As improvement occurs, intake of complex carbohydrate [rice, oats, barley, etc.] may be increased to a more desirable level,” he emphasized.
Source: E. M. Cranton, “Candida Albicans: A Common Cause of Fatigue and Depression,” Journal of Holistic Medicine 8:3-14, 1986.
Canola oil, produced from the rapeseed plant, spread throughout modern society in the 1990s. As a monosaturated oil, it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and its light taste makes it a favorite in natural foods stores and restaurants. However, concerns have been raised about its safety. Moreover, the majority of canola oil sold today is genetically engineered and like other GEFs is unlabeled. Macrobiotic dietary guidelines call for avoiding or minimizing its use.
• Rapeseed Oil Adversely Affects Animals with High Blood Pressure
In laboratory studies of rats prone to stroke, researchers in Japan reported that those given rapeseed oil obtained by super critical gas extraction (SCE) had shorter survival rates, higher heart rates, and more cerebral necrosis than rats given soybean oil. They also exhibited chronic nephropathy.
Source: “Exploration for Unknown Substances in Rapeseed Oil That Shorten Survival Time of Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats. Effects of Super Critical Gas Extraction Fractions,” Food Chem Toxicol 44(7):952-63, 2006.
• Canola as a Source of Trans Fatty Acids in Mother’s Milk
In a study of 198 samples of breast milk in nine Canadian provinces, researchers found the concentration of trans fatty acids in mother’s milk remarkably similar to that in hydrogenated soybean and canola oils “suggesting that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the major source of these trans fatty acids.” Trans fatty acids are associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.
Source: Z. Y. Chen et al., “Trans Fatty Acid Isomers in Canadian Human Milk,” Lipids 30(1):15-21, 1995.
• Potential Dangers of Canola Oil
Oil from the rapeseed plant has been used as a lubricant, soap, fuel, synthetic rubber, and illuminant to make slick color pages in magazines, but is not a traditional cooking oil. In human tissues, it forms latex-like corpuscles that cause red blood cells to clump, leading to glaucoma and other symptoms, according to health researcher John Thomas. Added to animal feeds in Europe between 1986 and 1991, he reports, it caused blindness in cows, pigs, and sheep and may be implicated in the mad cow epidemic. Thomas asserts that rape oil was the source for mustard gas, the infamous poison that blistered the lungs and skin of soldiers during World War I. Canola oil contains large amounts of isothiocyanates, compounds that contain cyanide and inhibit energy production and cell regeneration. In addition to pesticides, canola oil may be contributing to the increase in systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, pulmonary hypertension, and nervous disorders.
Source: John Thomas, "Blindness, Mad Cow Disease, and Canola Oil," Perceptions, March/April 1995, p. 28-29.
Carotenoids are a family of nutrients in plants that are associated with increased health and less disease. Altogether there are nearly 600 types of carotenoids, of which beta-carotene, which makes up about 25 percent of edible varieties, is the most well known. It is efficiently converted by the body into vitamin A and as an antioxidant blocks free radicals which can damage cell membranes and protects against cancer. In the 1980s, dozens of studies reported that increased intake of beta carotene was associated with a decreased risk of many cancers of the respiratory and digestive tracts, including lung, oral cavity, throat, stomach, colon, and rectum. Taking beta-carotene in the form of supplements, however, has been linked with increased incidence of lung cancer. Scientists strongly recommend that the carotenoids be taken in whole foods. See Immune Function, Lung Cancer, Macular Degeneration, Olestra, Polyps, Smoking, Vegetables.
• Carotenoid Rick Vegetables Protect Against Heart Disease
In a study of middle aged men at risk of heart disease, those who had the highest carotenoid levels in their blood were one third less likely to suffer a heart attack. Nonsmokers consistently show the strongest benefits. In another study of nurses, Boston researchers reported that those who ate five or more servings of carrots a week had 68 percent less strokes than those who ate one or less a month.
Source: Jane E. Brody, "Health Factor in Vegetables Still Elusive," New York Times, Feb. 21, 1995.
Like other orange and yellow vegetables high in beta-carotene, carrots have been associated with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other disorders. In Oriental medicine, they are especially good for the lungs and large intestine and their sweet taste nourishes the pancreas. See Carotenoids, Vegetables.
• Carrots Protect Against Colon Cancer
In laboratory studies, Danish researchers reported that precancerous rats given a diet high in carrots had significantly less lesions in their colons than controls. “The present study provides a new perspective on the known epidemiological associations between high intake of carrots and reduced incidence of cancer,” the scientists concluded.
Source: M. Kobaek-Larsen, “Inhibitory Effects of Feeding with Carrots or Falcarinol on Development of Azoxymethane-Induced Preneoplastic Lesions in the Rat Colon,” Journal Agric Food Chem 53(5):1823-7, 2005.
• Carrots Associated with Lower Cervical Cancer
An Italian case-control study found that 191 women with invasive cervical cancer consumed less carrots and green vegetables than healthy women. Both foods were highly protective, with almost a fivefold increased risk associated with eating carrots less often than once a week or green vegetables less often than once a day.
Source: C. La Vecchia et al., “Dietary Vitamin A and the Risk of Invasive Cervical Cancer,” International Journal of Cancer 34:319-22, 1984.
• Carrots Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer
Carrots may help protect against breast cancer. Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reported that eating carrots more than twice weekly, compared with no intake, was associated with 44 percent less breast cancer in a case-control study of 13,000 women conducted in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, in a study of the effect of 26 types or groups of vegetables and fruit on cancer development, Italian researchers reported that most vegetables protected against cancer of the colon and rectum, but only carrots lowered breast cancer risk.
Sources: M. P. Longnecker, “Intake of Carrots, Spinach, and Supplements Containing Vitamin A in Relation to Risk of Breast Cancer,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 6(11):887-92, 1997; S. Franceschi et al., “Role of Different Types of Vegetables and Fruit in the Prevention of Cancer of the Colon, Rectum, and Breast,” Epidemiology 9(3):338-41, 1998.
• Carrots Protect Against Vulvar Cancer
Italian researchers reported that in a study of 125 women with invasive vulvar cancer and 541 controls in the Milan area, women who ate high amounts of carrots had about half the risk of contacting the disease.
Source: F. Parazzini et al., “Selected Food Intake and Risk of Vulvar Cancer,” Cancer 76(11):2291-96, 1995.
• Carrots Protect Against Lung Cancer
In a case-control study involving over 300 women in Spain, scientists found that intake of yellow/orange vegetables, principally carrots, reduced the risk of lung cancer by almost two-thirds.
Source: A. Agudo et al., “Vegetable and Fruit Intake and the Risk of Lung Cancer in Women in Barcelona, Spain,” European Journal of Cancer 33(8):1256-61, 1997.
• Carrots Improve Liver Function
In laboratory studies, scientists in India reported that carrot extracts reduced acute liver damage in mice.
Source: A. Bishayee et al., “Hepatoprotective Activity of Carrot Against Carbon Tetrachloride Intoxification in Mouse Liver,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 47(2):69-74, 1995.
Blindness due to cataracts afflicts 50 million persons worldwide. In the U.S. over a half million cataract operations are performed annually at a cost of over $5 billion. A balanced natural foods diet, high in whole grains, vegetables, and other plant-quality foods, helps protect against this crippling disorder.
• Whole Grains, Vegetables, and Fruits Protect Against Cataracts
In a study involving eye exams in 479 women aged 52 to 73 without previously diagnosed cataract or diabetes in the Boston area, researchers at Tufts University and the USDA reported increased consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits were associated with about a 50 percent less risk of cataracts.
Source: S. M. Moeller et al., “Overall Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Is Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Early-Age Related Nuclear Lens Opacities in Women,” Journal of Nutrition 134(7):1812-19, 2004.
• Meat and Animal Food Associated with Cataracts
In a study based on the Nurses’ Health Study cohort, researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reported that vegetarians and vegans were at lower risk for cataract than meat-eaters.
Source: M. Lu et al., “Dietary Fat Intake and Early Age-Related Lens Opacities,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 81(4):773-9, 2005.
Cauliflower has a crispy texture, sweet taste, and mild, calming energy. Its healing properties are widely recognized in medical and scientific reports. In Far Eastern medicine, it is particularly good for the lungs and large intestine. See Broccoli, Vegetables.
• Cauliflower Reduces Melanoma and Lung Tumors
Sulforaphane, an active ingredient in cauliflower, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, reduced the development of melanoma and metastatic lung tumors by up to 95 percent in laboratory studies, according to scientists at the Amala Cancer Research Centre in Kerala, India.
Source: P. Thejass and G. Kuttan, “Antimetastatic Activity of Sulforaphne,” Life Sci 78(26):3043-50, 2006.
• Cauliflower and Broccoli Sprouts Strong Anticancer Foods
Cauliflower and broccoli sprouts contain substantial quantities of phytochemicals that protect against carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, and other forms of toxicity and free radicals. In a study of the effects of brassica vegetables, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that 3-day old sprouts of cauliflower and broccoli contain 10 to 100 times higher levels of glucoraphanin than mature plants. This naturally occurring chemical in the foods helps induce enzymes that protect against tumors. “Small quantities of crucifer sprouts may protect against the risk of cancer as effectively as much larger quantities of mature vegetables of the same variety,” the researchers concluded.
Source: J. W. Fahey et al., “Broccoli Sprouts: An Exceptionally Rich Source of Inducers of Enzymes That Protect Against Chemical Carcinogens,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 94(19)10367-72, 1997.
Cerebral palsy, a childhood neurological disease, is characterized by poor muscle control, paralysis, spasticity, and other symptoms associated with prenatal or postnatal brain injury.
• Cereals Protect Against CP, Meat Increases Risk
In a study of the role of maternal diet in the development of the brain, researchers at Athens University Medical School in Greece reported that in a nutritional study of over 300 children, consumption of cereal grains and fish were associated with lower risk of cerebral palsy while consumption of meat was associated with increased risk.
Source: E. Petridou, “Diet During Pregnancy and the Risk of Cerebral Palsy,” British Journal of Nutrition 79(5):407-12, 1998.
• Unapproved Protein Widely Used in Commercial Cheese
Since 1978, U.S. cheese processors have used milk protein concentrate (MPC), a dairy powder that is 42 to 90 percent casein (dairy protein), in many of their products even though it has not been approved by the FDA. MPC, used in glue and animal feed, is imported in order to circumvent government regulation. According to consumer advocates, the inexpensive products have fueled profits for companies like Kraft, a major cheese processor, at the expense of public health.
Source: A. V. Krebs, “What’s Really Before You on the Thanksgiving Dinner Table?” The AgriBusiness Examiner, November 26, 2002.
Chemicals in food, the home, the workplace, and the environment have become a hallmark of modern civilization and are a major cause of the modern health and environmental crises. According to U.S. government estimates, 87,000 chemicals are used as industrial wastes, solvents, cleansers, pesticides, food additives, plastics, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and petroleum byproducts. An estimated 15 percent of Americans suffer from chemical sensitivity, though their sensitivity is often labeled as psychosomatic. See Attention-Deficit Disorder, Environment, Fluoridation, Infectious Diseases, Pesticides, Sewage Sludge, Water.
• Inuit Diet Remains Contaminated
In a study of contaminants in traditional Inuit diets in Greenland, researchers in Denmark reported that over a thirty-year period from the 1970s to the early 2000s high levels of potentially toxic levels of PCBs and lead had declined, levels of mercury, DDT, and chlordanes remained unchanged, and the levels of hexachlorobenzene, mirex, and toxaphenes had increased significantly.
Source: B. Deutch et al., “Dietary Composition and Contaminants in Northern Greenland in the 1970s and 2004,” Scie Total Environ 370(2-3):372-81, 2006.
• Reproductive and Genetic Effects of Chemicals
Chemicals used in industry and agriculture may be responsible for the epidemic of reproductive problems since 1940. Tens of thousands of chemicals have been introduced in the last half century, many of which remain in the environment for generations. Even small amounts can lead to the accumulation of considerable quantities of toxins in human and animal tissues. This can seriously imperil health, reproduction, and fetal development.
Source: "Male Reproductive Health and Environmental Oestrogens," Lancet 345(8955):933-35, 1995.
• European Report Faults Hormone Disrupters
The European Environmental Agency has confirmed evidence that many synthetic chemicals in the environment “may be threatening normal hormone function in both humans and and wildlife.” The synthetic chemicals can masquerade as hormones and disrupt the delicate cycles in living organisms. For example, snails, mussels, and other molluscs have turned from female to male as a result of exposure to hormone disruptors. Fish, including the Great Lake salmon, have developed both male and female sex organs. Testicular, breast, and prostate cancers in humans have risen dramatically in recent years and may be associated with exposure to chemicals, including laundry detergents, cosmetics, plastics, and soaps. The report upheld Principle 15 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, known as the precautionary principle, which states that “where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”
Source: Jennifer Kalnins, “European Report Recognizes Hormone Disruptions,” Alternatives Journal 24(1):4, 1998.
• Toxic Deception
In a study of the chemical industry, two researchers document how the chemical industry manipulates science, bends the law, and endangers public health. The book also summarizes many studies detailing the abuse of pesticides, toxins, and carcinogens in the food supply, environment, and workplace.
Source: Dan Fagin and Marianne Lavelle, Toxic Deception (Birch Lane Press, 1997).
• Our Stolen Future
Three researchers examine the worldwide threat of PCBs, DDT, and other toxins to the ecosystem, the food supply, and human beings and the threat they pose to fertility, intelligence, and survival.
Source: Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers, Our Stolen Future (New York: Dutton, 1996).
• Toxic Chemicals in the Deep Ocean
Toxic industrial chemicals have shown up in the tissues of whales that normally feed in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean, raising concern about the safety of the ocean’s food chain. Dutch researchers reported that the chemicals, polybrominated compounds that are used as flame retardants in children’s clothing, TV casings, and other products, behave like PCBs and DDT. The chemicals enter the atmosphere and river and sea water as a result of incomplete municipal incineration and eventually find their way into animal and human tissue. The findings are particularly troubling because the whales normally feed at a depth of between 1000 and 3600 feet and hunt in northern waters that are believed to be clean.
Source: Marlise Simons, “Whale Tissue Raises Worry on Toxic Chemicals,” New York Times, August 30, 1998.
From ancient times, the virtues of chewing have been widely recognized. Chewing contributes to more efficient use of nutrients, gives stronger energy, and makes the food sweeter to the taste. It also makes food go further and hence contribute to increased savings, reduced energy consumption, and a healthier planet.
When AIDS first appeared in 1981, macrobiotic educator Michio Kushi began recommending thorough chewing as a key dietary measure to help prevent the development of immune deficiency. He noted that the yang, contractive properties of saliva, which is promoted during chewing, could help neutralize the extreme yin, expansive quality of the AIDS virus.
• Saliva Inhibits AIDS
Salivary agglutinin (SAG), found in saliva, inhibits HIV and helps protect against AIDS. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania further found a synergistic effect with this salivary component and the ingestion of carbohydrates. They concluded that human saliva contained natural substances that played an important role in natural immunity.
Source: Zhiwei Wu et al., “Salivary Agglutinin Inhibits HIV Type 1 Infectivity through Interaction with Viral Glycoprotein 120,” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, March 2003, 19(3):201-209.
• Chewing Improves Blood Sugar Metabolism
In a Japanese study, researchers reported that thorough chewing has the potential to affect blood sugar levels by improving digestibility and absorption of nutrients in patients with or predisposed to diabetes.
Source: H. Suzuki et al., “Effects of Thorough Mastication on Postprandial Plasma Glucose Concentrations in Nonobese Japanese Subjects,” Metabolism 2005 Dec;54(12):1593-9.
• Down Syndrome Linked to Poor Chewing
In a study of patients with Down syndrome, scientists found that they had significantly lower mean chewing frequency than a group of healthy subjects without the disorder.
Source: M. Hennequin et al., Journal of Dental Research 2005;Nov;84(11):1057-61.
• Chewing Broccoli Sprouts Protects Against Cancer
Broccoli sprouts are a rich source of compounds and enzymes that boost antioxidant status and protect against chemically induced cancer in laboratory studies. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that thorough chewing of fresh spouts rather than swallowing them whole exposed them to more beneficial enzymes and resulted in increased excretion of toxins.
Source: T. A. Shapiro et al., “Chemoprotective Glucosinolates and Isothiocyanates of Broccoli Sprouts: Metabolism and Excretion in Humans,” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention, 2001 May;10(5):501-8.
• Chewing Key to Health and Wellness
Adults in the U.S. devote an average of 1 hour and 12 minutes a day to eating, while they spend 2.5 to 3 hours watching television. The ratio among children is even greater, with many school lunch periods providing only 7 to 11 minutes for students to consume their lunch. “With obesity at epidemic proportioins, it is essential that we take a closer look at not just what we eat, but how we eat,” says Stephanie Vangsness, senior nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston.
She reports that the digestive process may be 30 to 40 percent less effective when the mind is focused on TV or something other than the meal. Chewing, she says, is the secret to health. (See Susan’s chewing exercise on p. 26). For more mindful eating, she recommends: 1) eating with chopsticks, 2) eating with your nondominant hand, 3) chewing your food 30 to 50 times per mouthful, 4) eating without TV, newspaper, or computer, 5) eating sitting down, and 6) putting the proper portiions of food on the plate and spending at least 20 minutes at the meal.
Source: Stephaie Vangsness, R.D., L.D.N., C.N.S.D., “Mastering the Mindful Meal,” April 22, 2005, Harvard Medical School.
• Chewing Improves Protein Metabolism
In a classic experiment a century ago, Professor Strumpell tested the influence of improper chewing on the digestion and absorption of protein. He swallowed, only half chewed, a bowl of lentils and found that only 40 percent of the nitrogen was absorbed, less than half the amount in a bowl of thoroughly chewed lentils. Subsequent research confirmed that when mixed with saliva, vegetables and bread also were utilized by the body more efficiently.
Source: Dr. John H. Kellogg, New Dietetics: A Guide to Scientific Feeding in Health and Disease.
• Saliva Inhibits HIV
Saliva contains substances that prevent the AIDS virus from infecting white-blood cells. In a study, dental researchers tested saliva from three healthy men, 35, 40, and 42 years old. Tests indicated the men were not carriers of the AIDS virus and were not known to be at high-risk for infection. In laboratory dishes, the men’s saliva prevented the AIDS virus from infecting lymphocytes, a type of white-blood cell that is among the immune system cells attacked by the AIDS virus in the body.
The researchers said the finding might help explain why no cases have been documented in which the AIDS virus was transmitted from person to person through saliva such as through kissing or sharing toothbrushes. The scientists concluded that saliva is well known to contain substances that kill bacteria and funguses and so might also be able to block the AIDS virus.
Source: P. C. Fox et al., “Saliva Inhibits HIV-1 Infectivity,” Journal of the American Dental Association 116:635-37, 1988.
• Chewing and Cancer Risk
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 more prevalent in south India where white rice and considerably more fat, oil, and spices are used in cooking than in north India where whole-grain chapatis and thick dahl 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.
• Chewing Prolongs Life in a Concentration Camp
In his book on the powers of food, especially the power of chewing, Lino Stanchich, a leading macrobiotic teacher, describes how his father survived a concentration camp in Serbia during World War II by very thorough chewing.
Source: Lino Stanchich, Power Eating Program (Coconut Grove, FL: Healthy Products, 1989).
Many people in modern society switch to eating chicken and poultry because it is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef and other red-meat products. Poultry, however, has substantial fat content, which along with its protein, have been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, various cancers, and other illness. In addition, the poor quality of most modern day chickens is a major concern of public health authorities. Recent food poisoning epidemics, such as Salmonella, have been traced to contaminated chicken. Antibiotics given to chickens in factory farms are also believed to be a principal cause in the appearance of drug-resistant strains of bacterial related disease. See Antibiotics, Arthritis, Eggs, Global Warming, Heart Disease.
• Chicken Linked to Bladder Cancer
In studies of animal food intake and bladder cancer, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health reported that intake of chicken without skin and bacon was associated with an elevated risk of bladder cancer.
Source: D. S. Michaud, “Meat Intake and Bladder Cancer Risk in Two Prospective Cohort Studies,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84(5):1177-83, 2006.
• Vast Majority of Chicken Infected with Campylobacter
Campylobacter, the leading bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States, infects 70 to 90 percent of chickens, according to scientists at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Campylobacter causes between 2 and 8 million cases of sickness annually and results in 200 to 800 deaths, according to various estimates. Symptoms include cramps, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and fever and results from eating undercooked chicken or other food that has come into contact with raw chicken.
Campylobacter may lead to a potentially fatal nerve disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Campylobacter used to be treated by antibiotics, but new strains of drug-resistant bacteria are developing. A recent sampling of chickens in Minnesota supermarkets found 79 percent contaminated, including 20 percent with a strain resistant to antibiotics. In another sample, 58 percent of turkeys were infected with 84 percent drug-resistance.
Source: Marian Burros, "Health Concerns Mounting Over Bacteria in Chickens," New York Times, October 20, 1997.
• Energetic Effects of Eating Chicken
Macrobiotic educator Michio Kushi, who has counseled thousands of people over the years, reports that chicken contributes to the tightening of bones, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body. Eating too much chicken, in his experience, is a leading cause of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other diseases in which the limbs or bones contract, wither, or waste away. Energetically, he compares this to assuming the appearance and qualities of a chicken.
Source: Michio and Aveline Kushi with Alex Jack, Macrobiotic Diet (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1993).
• Poultry and Mutant Rats
Two-foot long "mutant" rats are attacking farm animals in Chile. They are believed to have evolved after eating the droppings of hormone-fattened poultry. Burrowing in the banks of the Mapocho, a polluted river that crosses Santiago, they have attacked chickens and small goats.
Source: "Chilean Mutant Rats," Boston Globe, December 1, 1997.
Chickpeas are small, hard beans that have a sweet taste and soothing energy. They are a staple in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and parts of South America. Like other beans, they have cholesterol-lowering effects and are strengthening for the kidneys and bladder.
• Chickpeas Improve Lipid Levels
In a dietary intervention study of 47 adults at high risk for heart disease, researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia reported that those who consumed chickpeas and chickpea flour in bread and biscuits showed a 3.9 percent higher decline in cholesterol and a 4.7 percent higher decline in LDL cholesterol in comparison to a wheat-based diet.
Source: J. K. Pittaway et al., “The Effect of Chickpeas on Human Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins,” Asia Pac J Clin Nutri 23(Suppl):S70, 2004.
• Chickpeas Improve Circulatory Functions
In a laboratory study of the effect of diet on blood values, researchers in Spain found that eating chickpeas caused cholesterol to drop 54 percent, triacylgycerols to decrease by 70 percent, and other positive changes compared to animals fed a diet high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and casein (dairy protein).
Source: M. A. Zulet and J. A. Martinez, “Corrective Role of Chickpea Intake on a Dietary-Induced Model of Hypercholesterolemia,” Plant Foods and Human Nutrition 48(3):269-77, 1995.
• Chickpeas High in Fiber
Analyzing the fiber content of common foods, Indian scientists reported that chickpeas had the most dietary fiber (28.3 percent) of all grains, beans, and pulses tested. (The highest grain was wheat with 12.5 percent.) Cooking of dhals, the traditional curried pulse dish of South Asia, significantly increased the fiber content.
Source: P. Ramulu and P. U. Rao, “Effect of Processing on Dietary Fiber Content of Cereals and Pulses,” Plant Foods and Numan Nutrition 50(3):249-57, 1997.
Dietary imbalance may be an underlying cause of rigidity, laxness, or wild, uncontrollable emotions and behavior that lead to abuse or neglect.
• Food Allergies Linked to Violence
A woman in England with a history of hospitalization for violent behavior and depression and child abuse, including throwing her daughter out of the house through a closed window and knocking her infant son unconscious, was tested for food allergies and found to be suffering from adverse food reactions. After being placed on a restricted diet, she improved, stopped being violent, and went on to get a job and resume normal life in the community.
Source: Richard MacKarness, M.D., Eating Dangerously (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Javanovich, 1976).