Cancer and the Host – A Functional Medicine Perspective

I recently listened to a fascinating series of podcasts called The Longevity Roadmap offered by Dr. Mark Hyman and his Ultrawellness Center. In one particular episode, Dr. Hyman and other specialists spoke about the specific approach that Functional Medicine (FM) takes on cancer. Here are the highlights: Obesity has overtaken smoking as the number one cause of cancer worldwide and in the US, up to two thirds of adults and one third of children are overweight/obese (BMI over 25) which is contributing to the growth of many cancers. In the younger population, there is an increased rate of colon cancer and it’s now known that obesity and toxins from foods and the environment create inflammation and shift our microbiome which can trigger cancer growth. Sugar is a trigger for inflammation and it not only fuels obesity but puts us at risk for 13 types of cancers. It’s becoming commonly known that the main underlying causes of all age-related disease (including cancer) is insulin resistance – ...

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Cancer Fighting and Prevention Diet (Part 1)

In the current COVID-19 world we are living in, we have to be more vigilant about our health than ever before – the stresses of the pandemic coupled with what’s going on in the environment make us even more vulnerable to sickness and disease. In this blog, I’d like to cover some of the tips to prevent and fight cancer. Given my personal family history and health challenges I’ve had over the years, I’ve researched and even tried some of the more radical cancer programs out there. What I’ve learned takes me back to the basics – focus on EATING lots of clean greens and fruits and whole foods. So, here are some of my recommendations.  First, let’s start off with what NOT to eat: You’ve heard this already I’m sure, but it’s especially important for anyone dealing with a chronic condition to stay away from processed and man-made foods which are loaded with artificial additives, preservatives, and flavorings. It’s well known that sugar promotes cancer growth and also raises insulin to unhealt...

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Cancer Fighting and Prevention Diet (Part 2)

In my first blog on the superfood diet to fight and prevent cancer, I addressed juicing and smoothies/shakes as an easy and convenient way to make greens and fruits the mainstay of your diet. If you start your day with a juice or smoothie that includes at least 2-3 servings of greens, you are well on your way to an anti-cancer diet. In part 2, I’d like to highlight key ingredients for a super salad you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.  Anti-Cancer Salad: This comparative study demonstrated the antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of vegetables. Of the common vegetables studied, garlic (part of the Allium family) showed the most anti-cancer activity. In this lab study, garlic stopped growth in all tumor cell lines investigated – breast, brain, lung, pancreatic, prostate, brain and stomach cancer. Leeks (also part of the Allium family), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.), spinach and beets also showed cancer stopping power. So the inclusion of al...

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Cancer Fighting and Prevention Diet (Part 3)

In Part 2 of the anti-cancer diet, I briefly mentioned using nuts as a way to spruce up your salads. In this blog, I’ll share in more detail the benefits of nuts in maintaining an anti-cancer diet.Nuts are loaded with bioavailable active compounds that impact the cellular processes involved in cancer cell development and growth. Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fatty acids, fiber and phytochemicals that have demonstrated anti-cancer properties.Almonds – Almonds boast an impressive nutrient profile and contain fiber, protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium and other vitamins. They are loaded with bioactive compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which protect against inflammation, aging and diseases like cancer. Please note that most of these compounds are concentrated on the brown layer of the skin, so skip the blanched (skinless) almonds and go for the roasted whole nut. Most of the almonds produced in the US are by law treate...

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Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Part 1

In my previous blogs I described all the wonderful foods you can consume to support your anti-cancer diet. Here I will highlight some additional anti-cancer tips that should guide you whether you are a cancer survivor or looking for cancer-prevention and wellness strategies. 

A Shopper’s Guide to the Dirty Dozen
I mentioned the importance of eating clean food in one of my previous blogs – according to the Environmental Working Group guidelines, below is the ‘dirty dozen’ – a list of produce that tends to ‘soak up’ more potentially carcinogenic pesticides. So it’s important to note that when purchasing the items below, only buy organic. Studies have shown that organic produce provides significantly greater levels of vitamins and minerals and antioxidant phytochemicals (anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids). 

Strawberries
Spinach
Kale
Nectarines
Apples
Grapes
Peaches
Cherries
Pears
Tomatoes
Celery
Potatoes

Here’s a list of produce that are clean...

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Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Part 2

In my previous blog, I described some of the foods and strategies you could try to support an anti-cancer approach to daily living. Here, I will highlight some other foundational pillars to reduce your overall cancer risk.

Sleep

Sleep is critical to our health and well-being; with 40% of American adults reporting lack of sleep, insomnia and/or sleep apnea, it has become an epidemic.  
Research has shown that insufficient sleep (less than 7-8 hours per night) reduces natural killer cell activity and cellular immune response in the body.
It’s not just about quantity of sleep, though, as your quality of sleep is equally important. A recent study indicated sleep apnea combined with snoring could contribute to an increased risk of cancer for both men and women.  
Circadian rhythms impact our sleep and health. Circadian rhythms influence our body’s sleep-wake cycle, as well as hormone release, digestion, body temperature, and other important bodily functions. They influence our immune sy...

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Cancer Fighting and Prevention Diet (Part 4)

7 Super Seeds for a Healthy Diet

In part 3 of my anti-cancer diet series, I highlighted the benefits of nuts for fighting and preventing cancer. In this blog, I’ll share the powerful benefits of seeds and why they are the superfoods we should all be consuming as part of our daily diet.   

Seeds are packed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties – they contain a host of vitamins (A,B,C,E) and minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, selenium, manganese), plus high levels of essential fatty acids and amino acids. Here are my top recommendations:

Apricot Seeds (Kernel)

Studies have known that the active compound in apricot kernels, known as B17, amygdalin or laetrile, demonstrated anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Apricot kernels also have high levels of vitamin E, pangamic acid (vitamin B15) and a half cup gives you 14 grams of protein and only 4 grams of net carbohydrates (10 grams of fiber). They taste and look like almonds – here’s one to...

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The Importance of Sleep in the Prevention and Management of Cancer

Sleep is something we all look forward to after a long day but in this fast-paced, hyper-wired world we live in, it’s what many of us aren’t getting enough of. We all know how sleep impacts our energy levels, mental state, hunger and immune system – and this becomes even more critical when you’re dealing with a chronic condition. In this blog, I’ll share some evidence on why shut-eye is so important for the prevention and management of cancer. During deep sleep, our bodies produce melatonin. Melatonin is a natural substance that is secreted not only by our pineal glands (in the brain) but in other parts of the body including the gastrointestinal tract, eyes, and skin. The highest concentrations of melatonin are produced at night and in total darkness. It’s well established that melatonin can help with insomnia and sleep quality but research has shown that melatonin also impacts the body in other ways.  Melatonin possesses antioxidant, immunomodulation and anticancer properties. Accordi...

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