Cancer and our modern diet
“Eat your vegetables”, is no longer enough. Rather,“eat your organic, locally grown vegetables’’.
In an era where we are increasingly questioning where our food is coming from, a new book revealing the link between diet and cancer gives crucial evidence in favour of eating organic produce from your own back yard, or as close to it as possible.
Dr Brian A. Schaefer’s book, Salvestrols, Nature’s Defence against Cancer, explains the discovery of a food-based compound that produces anti-cancer agents, which suppress tumour growth. Considered “the most significant breakthrough in nutrition since the discovery of vitamins”, salvestrols, when consumed, are benign and selective (unlike conventional anti-cancer agents) but then target cancer cells without harming healthy tissue and organs.
The natural production of these compounds occurs in plants as a defence against pathogens and infections, which happen when the fruit or vegetable is ripe. The problem is that in our modern diet, the presence of these compounds is severely depleted.
Where food is mass-produced, treated by pesticides to stop infections, and picked before ripe (to ensure it’s at its best when it reaches its destination for sale), salvestrols are rendered unnecessary, so fail to develop.
Research by British-based Professor Gerry Potter revealed produce in local supermarkets was desperately deficient in salvestrols compared to organically produced food, where the compound was found in abundance.
Dr Schaefer, says, “The food industry does an awful lot of processing before we see it. While legislation states you can’t make any false claims about what’s in a product, so you can’t add anything to make it taste better, you can take a whole variety of things out. Take cranberry juice for example. Cranberries are very tart or bitter, and full of salvestrols. But the bitter component is taken out to alter the taste and in doing this, all the salvestrols are lost.”
So what can we do to up our intake? Aside from buying local organic produce, because salvestrols are found in the skin of fruit and vegetables, it’s recommended we try keeping that outer layer intact.
“You often see a parent peel an apple to give to their child. They’d be better to cut it up and leave the skin.” The book also suggests cooking carrots without peeling them.
When it comes to tending your own garden, Dr Schaefer says it’s important to try to plant heritage seeds. Newer varieties have been developed so they’re sweeter. Because salvestrols are bitter, fewer of them are found in these sweet variations.
“The great thing about this,” says Dr Schaefer of the discovery of salvestrols, “is you don’t have to paddle up the Amazon to find these things. You’ll find them in your own back yard.
”It is hoped the work by Professor Potter and Professor Dan Burke, who lead salvestrol research, will mean in our lifetime, cancer will become as curable as the common cold.