Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Help Fight Breast Cancer
I was inspired to write this article when my friend Kate, a naturopath in New Zealand who has successfully battled breast cancer herself, sent me a very cool wall chart called The Anti-Inflammatory Food Guide (more details on that below). Kate’s lovely gift got me thinking that it would be useful for me to share with you a list of the best anti-inflammatory foods that help fight breast cancer.
Eating Healthy Just Makes Good Sense
Adopting a healthy diet when you have been diagnosed with breast cancer just makes good sense. We have often heard the old adage Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food, attributed to Hippocrates, and many of us have experienced the healing power of eating the right kind of food. We know we feel better when we are eating well and when we are not and Mother Nature has provided us with some of the most miraculous things with which we can help heal ourselves.
Yet modern science and many doctors completely ignore the healing power within certain foods. You only have to check yourself into a hospital and see what they feed you to experience the disconnect that has occurred in our medical system.
Cancer Is An Inflammatory Process
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing – it is a healing response from the body’s immune system to injury or infection, usually in a very small area of the body. But when inflammation becomes more systemic – as the body works to rid itself of chemicals or as a response to hormonal imbalance or poor diet, we begin to see conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, leaky gut, hayfever, and yes, cancer (and so many other disease processes) emerge. The body is constantly working to rid itself of harmful agents and re-establish homeostasis.
So what does a healing diet look like for breast cancer? Since cancer is an inflammatory process, changing one’s diet so that it includes a wide variety of anti-inflammatory foods is one of the best things you could do for yourself. I don’t suggest that changing your diet be the ONLY thing you do to heal from breast cancer, but it should certainly be part of your holistic battle plan.
The Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Breast Cancer
While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the very best anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. Please buy organic whenever possible – if you are eating for health, you want to give yourself the cleanest produce possible, free of toxic spray residues.
Beverages: Coconut milk, coconut water, fresh green juices, herbal tea, black tea, green tea, white tea, rooibos tea, kombucha, almond milk (without carrageenan), cranberry juice (sugar free), fresh vegetable juices
Condiments: apple cider vinegar, capers, horseradish, manuka honey, miso, red wine vinegar, stevia, sun-dried tomatoes, tahini, tamari, vanilla, wasabi
Dairy: ghee (clarified butter), organic kefir, organic butter, organic goat’s milk, sheep cheese, organic plain yogurt
Essential oils (to be used topically, not eaten): The essential oils with the very best anti-inflammatory properties are copaiba, dill, lemongrass, Melaleuca ericifolia, nutmeg, oregano, palo santo, peppermint, rose, thyme. A little further down the list but still exhibiting strong anti-inflammatory benefits are basil, clove, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, German chamomile, ginger, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, marjoram, myrrh, myrtle, patchouli, petitgrain, ravensara, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, tangerine, wintergreen
Fats And Oils: algae oil, black cumin seed oil, blackcurrant oil, borage oil, flaxseed oil (make sure it’s fresh and has been refrigerated), pomegranate seed oil, sacha inchi oil, almond oil, amaranth oil, avocado oil, chia oil, virgin coconut oil, evening primrose oil, hazelnut oil, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil, salmon fish oil, sea buckthorn seed oil, apricot oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil
Fish & Seafood: Because of the contaminants in fish these days, you are best advised to choose wild caught fish or fish that live in deep seas or unpolluted rivers and try to avoid farmed fish from Asia, Indonesia or Vietnam. Alaskan and Atlantic wild-caught salmon, chinook salmon, coho salmon, king salmon, red sockeye salmon, anchovies, barramundi, black cod, blue mussel, caviar, green lipped mussel, herring, mackerel, Pacific oyster, blue fin tuna, bluefish, flounder, grouper, haddock, halibut, John Dory, king mackerel, mahi mahi, mullet, octopus, oyster, perch, pike, rainbow trout, sardines, scallops, sea bass, snapper, sole, squid, trout are generally regarded as safe to eat, highly anti-inflammatory, but consider your source well.
Fruits: acai berry, acerola cherry, apricot, avocado, blackberry, blueberry, cacao (raw), cantaloupe (rockmelon), cherry (tart are more anti-inflammatory than sweet), coconut, cranberry (unsweetened), elderberry, feijoa, goji berry (aka wolfberry), grape, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, maqui berry, guava, nectarine, noni, orange, papaya, passionfruit, peach, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, tamarillo, tamarind, watermelon
Grains: amaranth, barley grass, black rice, buckwheat, kasha, quinoa, sprouted wheat, wheat germ
Herbs: aloe vera, asafoetida, basil, bay leaf, bilberry, black pepper, blackberry leaf, calendula, caraway, cardamom, chamomile, chive, cinnamon, clove, coriander, curry leaf, elderberry, fennel, galangal, garlic, ginger, horseradish, juniper, lemon balm, lemongrass, licorice, maca, marjoram, nettle, oregano, parsley, plantain, raspberry leaf, rosehip, rosemary, thyme, wasabi
Legumes, Beans & Soy: adzuki sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, chickpea sprouts, clover sprouts, edamame, lentil sprouts, lentils, mung bean sprouts, tempeh, tofu
Meats: Grass-fed organic beef, kangaroo, rabbit, bison, elk, goat
Mushrooms/Fungi: brown, common button, crimini, enokitake, maitake, oyster, portabella, reishi, shiitake
Nuts and Seeds: almond, almond butter, brazil nut, chestnut, chia seed, flaxseed, hazelnut, hemp seed, macadamia nut, mixed nuts (no peanuts, salt added), pecan, perilla seed (mint family, also called Shiso), sesame seed, walnut
Poultry: organic chicken, organic chicken stock, free range duck, goose, pheasant, organic egg whites
Seaweed/Sea Vegetables: arame, bladderwrack, kombu, nori, red algae, wakame, agar agar, dulse, hijiki, kelp, sea lettuce
Spices: amchur, aniseed, basil, bay leaf, black cumin seed, black pepper, caraway, cardomom, cayenne pepper, celery seed, chili, chive, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin seed, curry leaf, curry powder, fennel, fenugreek, garam masala, garlic powder, ginger, juniper, keffir lime leaf, lemongrass, marjoram, mustard seed, onion powder, oregano, parsley, rosemary, saffron, star anise, thyme, turmeric
Supplements: broccoli sprout powder, fulvic acids, maca, spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, chlorella, licorice (not candy), turmeric (curcumin)
Vegetables: arugula, beet, bell pepper (capsicum), bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts, cabbage (red and green), carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chili pepper, collard greens, cucumber, daikon, dandelion greens, endive, garlic, globe artichoke, green beans, jalapeno pepper (raw), kale, kimchi, kohlrabi, kumara, leek, lettuce, mushroom (see separate listing for mushroom types), mustard greens, onion, parsley, pumpkin, radish, sauerkraut, shallot, silverbeet (Swiss chard), spinach, sweet potato, tomato, turnip, turnip greens, watercress, yam
The Anti-Inflammatory Food Guide Chart
My friend Kate, a talented naturopath in New Zealand, has created a beautiful chart with all of the anti-inflammatory foods listed in order from the most anti-inflammatory (shown in a blue zone) with various gradations of color right down to the ones that should be avoided because they cause inflammation (shown in a red zone). The chart even includes extensive notes on the reverse which define inflammation and offer ways to reduce it. It is a really handy guide that provides you with a helpful visual guide for meal planning. The guide is available from her website – you could buy the laminated version and attach it right to the kitchen wall or inside your pantry door. She also has charts for alkalinity/acidity guides, glycemic index and other useful items. Kate’s website is www.betterbalance.co.nz
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Please use this information as part of a carefully constructed wellness plan provided to you by your physician, oncologist or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for diagnosis or as a stand-alone treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.
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