Green Vegetables - the healthiest element of a naturopathic diet

      Eating well means enjoying your food and having plenty of variety.

      Fruit and vegetables

      Try to eat a variety of fruit, vegetables and salads. They are full of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fibre. The government recommendation is that you should eat five portions a day but naturopaths recommend a much higher level than this. Suppliers of frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables will try and convince you they are healthy but naturopaths recommend you always eat fresh and fruit and vegetables, preferably organic.

      Juicing is a great way to consume more fruit and vegetables

      Many vegetables have been identified with positive health benefits

      Broccoli | Cauliflower | Brussel Sprouts | Cabbage

      Naturally occurring chemicals (glucosinolates which are metabolized to cancer preventive isothiocyanates) found in certain vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage, can enhance DNA repair in cells, perhaps helping to stop them becoming cancerous, according to a report published in the British Journal of Cancer in February 2006

      However researchers at the University of Warwick (Thornalley et al 2007) found that the standard British cooking habit of boiling vegetables severely damages the anticancer properties of many Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and green cabbage. Steaming and stir fry cooking did not appear to have the same detrimental effects. It should be noted that the researchers boiled the vegetables for 30 minutes!

      Separate studies have specifically linked broccoli to reducing the link of prostrate cancer and bladder cancer.

      Dark green vegetables | Spinach | Romaine Lettuce | Swiss chard

      Romaine lettuce and even darker green leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, mustard greens and turnip greens contain beta-carotene as well as the carotenoid cousins called lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are all powerful antioxidants that seem to play a role in blocking early stages in the development of cancer.

      High in folate
      Some studies even link them with a lower risk of breast, lung and skin cancers. In addition, lutein seems to help slow the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a cause of age-related blindness.

      Chilli Peppers

      Ok they are not all green and are technically fruit but tests in mice showed that capsaicin triggered 80% of prostrate cancer cells to start the process leading to cell death.

      The US research in the Journal of Cancer Research (Cedars-SinaiMedicalCenter - March 2006) also found tumours treated with capsaicin were smaller. However there is also some research to show that prolonged heavy consumption of Chilli can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

      The Gerson Institute

      Gerson Therapy uses diet to boost the body's immune system to treat cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and many other degenerative diseases

      A typical Gerson therapy diet includes:

      • Thirteen glasses of fresh, raw carrot/apple and green-leaf juices prepared hourly from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
      • Three full vegetarian meals, freshly prepared from organically grown fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A typical meal will include salad, cooked vegetables, baked potatoes, vegetable soup and juice.
      • Fresh fruit and fresh fruit dessert available at all hours for snacking, in addition to the regular diet.

      Breast Cancer

      Scientists have found that a molecule in vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and could be used in conjunction with drugs to help fight the cancer. Their findings (October 2006) were published in Carcinogenesis and discussed  at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference.

      It has been known for some time that eating a balanced diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables, leads to a number of health benefits and can help prevent some cancers, but more precise evidence is now emerging as to the benefits of specific substances present in our food.

      One research centre is looking past the essential nutrients contained in plants, to the thousands of other biologically active molecules they hold. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is one such molecule which is increasingly being hailed as inhibiting cancer development in both animal models and humans.

      Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council at the University of Leicester decided to look at the impact of I3C on 4 different types of breast cancer cells. They found that the substance altered the receptors in three of the cell types. This change could make the cancer cells more vulnerable to anticancer drugs which also target these receptors, making the drugs more effective.


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