by Erin McKinney, FNP
When it comes to fighting the common cold and flu with natural ingredients, there are a few vitamins and minerals that many doctors recommend including in your diet. Rather than taking lots of supplements each day, certain foods provide you with these immunity-boosting nutrients. If you want to avoid the cold and flu bugs this winter, perhaps you should think about adding these foods to your diet.
1. Citrus Fruits – Fruits such as oranges and tangerines contain lots of Vitamin C, which helps your body produce white blood cells and antibodies to fight cold and flu viruses. They also contain bioflavonoids, which keep your body from oxidizing the vitamin C and allowing you to gain more of its benefits. While orange juice can give you some of the same benefits, it contains more sugar.
2. Whole Grains - Grains such as oats, barley, whole wheat, and millet contain beta-glucan, which activates the immune system and help it work more effectively. They also have Vitamin E, and antioxidant that produces cells designed to kill germs and bacteria in the body.
3. Carrots – Carrots are known for their benefits that come from beta carotene, which increase the amount of infection-fighting cells in the body. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
4. Garlic – Garlic has allicin, which is a natural antibiotic that stimulates the immune system. It also contains selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant that fights infection.
5. Legumes – Beans, lentils, and other legumes contain zinc, which helps white blood cell production. While many people take zinc supplements to fight colds, too much can actually inhibit our immune systems. It’s best to get zinc from a healthy diet.
6. Berries – Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries all contain lots of antioxidants that will help fight free radicals in the body. They also contain lots of Vitamin C, which is another immunity booster.
7. Kale – Raw kale is another food that’s rich in Vitamin C, which protects cells against damage during infection. However, cooking it will break down the nutrients. It’s also low in sugar and high in fiber, which makes it a healthy part of any diet.
8. Yogurt – Yogurt that contains live active cultures adds good bacteria to your system, which stimulate the body’s production of white blood cells and T-cells. This bacteria also helps the body absorb nutrients from other foods.
9. Nuts –Nuts contain a number of immunity-boosting ingredients, such as zinc, selenium, and Vitamin C. Certain nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, and pistachios have been particularly noted in different studies for their health benefits.
10. Mushrooms – Mushrooms have long been a cold and flu remedy in many Asian countries. They contain beta-glucan, which stimulates the immune system. Reishi, Shitake, and Maitake mushrooms are said to contain the most beta-glucan of the mushroom family.
This article was written by Erin McKinney, who is a licensed nurse practitioner. Erin also owns the site <a href=http://www.mastersofnursing.org>Masters of Nursing</a> for students interested in getting an advanced degree in the nursing field.
by Tammera J. Karr, PhD.
This article is dedicated to those of my clients who are daily living with breast cancer and the health options made available to them. All of them have faced their fears with courage, proving that women are far from being the weaker sex.
“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death!” – Earl Wilson
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is considered a heterogeneous disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves. Fortunately hearing the words “breast cancer” doesn’t always mean an end. It can be just the opposite – a beginning – an opportunity to find strength you never knew you had, – a time of assessment on what you really want and believe, and most importantly a time to take charge and find hope.
Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women. Many researchers believe this is partly due to the increased use of synthetic hormones and xenoestrogen exposure for the baby-boomer generation and those who have been born since.
- Each year nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die.
- Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die.
“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better. ” - Maya Angelou
The lymph system is one of the main ways in which breast cancers can spread. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped groups of immune system cells that fight infections. Breast cancer cells can enter lymphatic vessels and begin to grow in lymph nodes, forming tumors.
Types of breast cancers
There are many types of breast cancer, some are very rare. A breast tumor can be a mix of types or a mixture of invasive and in situ cancer.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS means that the cancer is only in the ducts. It has not spread through the walls of the ducts into the tissue of the breast and so cannot spread to lymph nodes or other organs. Nearly all women with cancer at this stage can be cured.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): This is not a true cancer.
Invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma (IDC): This is the most common breast cancer. It starts in a milk passage (a duct), breaks through the wall of the duct, and invades the tissue of the breast. From there it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. It accounts for about 8 out of 10 invasive breast cancers.
More women are choosing to not undergo chemo or radiation for this type of cancer as those treatment methods increase the risk of secondary cancers. The best odds are with a mastectomy – removal of the breast and diet / lifestyle changes. Fortunately this is not as horrifying as it was only a few years ago and reconstructive surgery is available.
“A woman’s breasts do not make her who she is, they are only one part of the dynamic being she is. The love and respect a woman receives has to do with the latter not her breasts.” – Tammera Karr
Invasive (infiltrating) lobular carcinoma (ILC): This cancer starts in the milk glands then can spread to other parts of the body. About 1 in 10 invasive breast cancers are of this type.
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC): This uncommon type of invasive breast cancer accounts for about 1% to 3% of all breast cancers. Usually there is no single lump or tumor. Instead, IBC makes the skin of the breast look red and feel warm. It also may make the skin look thick and pitted, something like an orange peel. The breast may get bigger, hard, tender, or itchy.
In its early stages, inflammatory breast cancer is often mistaken for infection. Because there is no defined lump, it may not show up on a mammogram. It has a higher chance of spreading and a worse outlook than invasive ductal or lobular cancer.
What can be done?
Many will tell you to have frequent breast exams, ultrasounds, thermograms and mammograms, but as family nurse practitioner Mary Hagood has frequently said “that is all early detection not prevention, there is so much more a woman can do to lower her risk.”
- Take control of your stress – get rid of the energy vampires and leaches draining you. Stress is responsible for more illness than any one other cause.
- Clean up your diet; eat only organic locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats. Stay away from foods that drive up estrogens like flax, soy and processed foods. Don’t forget about your water, many areas have contaminated ground water, DO NOT assume your city or well water is safe. Pharmaceutical drugs are not tested for or removed from city water…. You may be getting the neighbor’s birth control pills in your morning coffee.
- Do a liver and bowel detox. If this is overlooked when you begin losing body fat you will be flooding your cells with potential cancer causing chemicals again.
- Lose body fat – fat is where harmful Xenoestrogens and carcinogens are stored. Eat only natural healthy fats found in organic foods.
- Do exercises that help the lymph system drain – mini tramps, jump rope, massage, horseback riding, dancing…etc.
- Clean the plastics out of your kitchen, use only glass and stainless steel / cast-iron cookware made in America.
- Don’t be cheap on your nutritional supplements; your life is worth the very best.
- BE PROACTIVE – do your research, learn about natural options, and ask questions. No matter what a woman chooses to do she needs to make that decision based on facts not fear.
To your Good Health.
JOHNS HOPKINS Cancer Diet Recommendations
1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.
3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.
4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.
5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.
6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.
7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.
8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.
9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.
10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.
CANCER CELLS FEED ON:
a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc. are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer cells are being starved.
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.
d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).
e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup.
13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.
14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.
15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.