Unless you live in a sunshine climate like Florida or southern California, winter is associated with darkness and a shortage of fresh, locally grown produce. The farmer’s markets are all packed up and everyone’s holed up at home, waiting it out.
But just because fresh produce isn’t growing where you live during the winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy autumn’s bounty of nutrient-dense, cancer-fighting foods all through the dark, cold months.
There’s one fruit in particular, found in half a dozen varieties with names like “delicata,” “turban” and “hubbard,” that’s abundant all winter long and is packed with nutrients that keep your cells healthy and help to fight off cancer…
“What could happen if you had better blood flow
This powerhouse food is winter squash. Winter squash is a fruit in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), but most of us think of it as a vegetable. It gets its name from the fact that it’s harvested in late fall into early winter, and its hard outer shell makes it good for curing and storing over the winter.
Types of winter squash include the above-mentioned, plus butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. Pumpkins too, are winter squash, and they’re great for more than just decoration.
They’re packed with nutrients that nourish your cells and help keep cancer away…
Important minerals in winter squash
Winter squash contain a large amount of fiber so you feel full faster when you eat. This means you eat less, which helps you lose weight. Plus, squash are full of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, niacin and most importantly zinc.
The mineral zinc is crucial to protecting men’s health, especially from prostate cancer. Prostate cells have a unique ability to store large amounts of zinc, which they use in secreting prostatic fluid.
Studies have shown that high levels of zinc in the prostate inhibit invasive activity of malignant prostate cancer cells and exert anti-tumor activity.1 All of this is pretty well known, so many men take a zinc supplement. But zinc embedded in food is much more bioavailable.
Prostate cancer has been associated with zinc deficiencies,2 so it’s important for men to get enough dietary zinc to maintain a healthy prostate. The Institute of Medicine has established adequate intake (AI) levels of zinc at 11 milligrams (mg) a day for boys and men age 14 and older.3 I think that’s a very low amount, and in my opinion most men should probably be taking 30 mg or more. The only way to be sure is get a blood test for your zinc levels.
One cup of dried, roasted pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, contains 16.9 mg of zinc. You can make them yourself at home (see below) or buy them at the grocery store. Just be sure to check the label, as some store-bought pumpkin seeds contain unhealthy oils and excess salt.
The best source of cancer-fighting carotenoids
Winter squash contain carotenoids, important phytochemicals with antioxidant properties that give certain fruits and veggies their red, yellow and orange colors. Carotenoids – which include nutrients such as vitamin A, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin – have been shown to help the body prevent the development of cancer.4
Beta-cryptoxanthin in particular is known to protect against lung and colon cancer. Winter squash contain some of the highest concentrations of this nutrient of any food around. Only red peppers have more.
In a study published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, dietary beta-cryptoxanthin was shown to reduce the risk of colon carcinogenesis in an animal model.5 And a study of Chinese men in Shanghai supported previous evidence that beta-cryptoxanthin helps to reduce the incidence of lung cancer in humans.6
Researchers have found that beta-cryptoxanthin works to minimize lung cancer incidence by reducing both the proteins and cell receptors that have been implicated in the creation of lung tumors.
While there isn’t a hard and fast recommendation for a daily intake, the general consensus is that getting between 2 and 6 mg of carotenoids a day is enough to keep chronic illnesses and cancer at bay – if merely “not being sick” is your only aim.7 In all likelihood this recommendation is much too low if you really want to be healthy.
Eating just one cup of cooked pumpkin provides. . .
✔ 763% of your daily needs for vitamin A and
✔ 14.50 mg of beta-cryptoxanthin
One cup of cooked butternut squash provides. . .
✔ 457% of your vitamin A needs and
✔ 15.58 mg of beta-cryptoxanthin
I can’t think of an easier way to get these crucial cancer-fighting elements.8,9,10
Cucurbitacins in winter squash help fight cancer
Cucurbitacins are chemicals found throughout the plant kingdom that protect organisms from harmful invaders. They have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects in humans.11And fruits in the Cucurbitaceae family are chock full of them.
Researchers have discovered that these compounds can help fight breast cancer. A study published in a 2012 issue of the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found that cucurbitacin E (found in high doses in pumpkin seeds) blocks breast cancer metastasis by suppressing tumor cell migration to the lungs, without harming nearby healthy cells.12
Another study, this one published in 2013, found cucurbitacin E induced both apoptosis (programmed cell death) and cell cycle arrest in human breast cancer cells.13
In addition to breast cancer, researchers isolated cucurbitacin E from sprouted pumpkin seeds and found that it induced apoptosis of lung and prostate cancer cells as well.14
Pumpkins have one other cancer-fighting component. They’re rich in a unique water-soluble protein called pumpkin 2S albumin. It’s been shown to induce apoptosis in breast cancer, ovarian and testicular cancer, prostate cancer and hepatocellular (liver cancer) carcinoma cell lines.15
How to reduce your cancer risk with winter squash
When winter squash is in season, you can find a wide variety at farmer’s markets and local pumpkin patches. Once the snow flies you should be able to find it in any grocery store.
Choose organic squash whenever possible, with a firm skin and without visible blemishes. Store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator) for up to a month. If the squash has been cured it can be stored longer.
Winter squash, including pumpkin, tastes great roasted, baked, braised or steamed. Eat them mashed with a little coconut oil and nutmeg, stuffed with nuts and veggies or in a pureed soup.
Pumpkin seeds can be roasted in a single layer at low heat (usually under 170 degrees). Roast them low, slow and for only 15 minutes to make sure you preserve the delicate linoleic and oleic acids that make up about three-fourths of the nutritious fat found in the seeds.
When it comes to pumpkins, canned is an option as well. Check the label to ensure the only ingredient is “pumpkin” and it doesn’t contain any added sugar, fillers or preservatives.
Just because the growing season is over doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy nutrient-dense whole foods all winter long. By including winter squash in your diet as winter settles in, you’ll ensure your body continues to get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and prevent cancer.
To Prevent or Treat Cancer,
Flip the Food Switch
It continues to shock me that cancer patients treated by conventional doctors are usually told they can eat pretty much whatever they want. It’s an all-too-common – and wrong – message delivered by oncologists.
But, at least there’s a positive, upward trend toward better nutrition advice as evidence mounts that what a cancer patient eats can make a dramatic difference. Every week come more reports that prove the point.
So if a cancer doctor tells you or someone you love, “Eat what you want; there’s no diet that makes a difference.”
You can tell them there’s proof there is…
These Doctors Were Forced to Admit This “Crazy” Treatment Plan Works
Rev. Cobus Rudolph’s doctor told him, “Congratulations! You’re cancer free!” That was six months after the same doctor had told him his case was hopeless and he should prepare to die. Rev. Rudolph saved his own life, at home, thanks to a book by cancer expert Ty Bollinger.
Richard Wiebe’s doctor told him, “You’re a miracle from God!” Just a year earlier the same doctor told Richard he’d be dead in six months from terminal brain cancer. Richard treated himself with the tips and secrets Ty Bollinger recommends.
Kevin Irish’s doctor was shocked. He asked Kevin, “Are you the terminal patient I saw two months ago? You look great!” Kevin saved his own life when he found Ty Bollinger’s book on the Internet and started following the advice.
Frank Woll’s doctor was stubborn: “Well, I know the cancer is here somewhere!” But the doctor couldn’t find Frank’s cancer with a magnifying glass. Only a month earlier, the same doctor had told Frank they’d have to cut off half his ear and part of his neck!
These four men got TOTALLY WELL with Ty Bollinger’s secrets. Now, Cancer Defeated is proud to publish them in a new Special Report. Click here and discover an effective, cheap, at-home plan to get rid of almost any cancer in one month.
Best thing to hit survival rates since washing hands
Back in February of 2015, the American Cancer Society took diet recommendations one step forward and suggested that cancer survivors veer toward “plant-based diets.” The report went on to say those folks should be eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and unrefined grains, and that foods like red and processed meats, refined grains, and sugars should be kept to a minimum or not eaten at all.
Note, this isn’t the same as recommending a few extra servings of fruits and vegetables and less meat. The emphasis is on the plant-based part of the diet—as in eating actual whole foods, including whole grains, and avoiding almost everything else.
They’re on the right track, because increasing data shows it makes a huge difference in cancer prevention and recovery. In fact, a plant-based diet can reduce the odds of a woman developing breast cancer by as much as 90%. In contrast, a diet heavy on meat and processed foods actually boosts breast cancer risk by up to 31%.
Back in 2004, a researcher named McCarty showed us why. McCarty came up with a dietary quality index called the “phytochemical index.” It reflects the percentage of nutrient-rich calories people get from unprocessed plant foods, on a scale of zero to one hundred. The higher you score, the lower your risk for obesity, high blood pressure, and most other health issues.
Researchers then looked at the diets of 100 women with breast cancer who scored, on average, less than 18, and compared them to 175 healthy, cancer-free women, who averaged a score of over 30. They determined that scoring higher on the whole plant diet index could reduce the odds of breast cancer more than 90 percent. Unfortunately, most Americans score around a 10 or lower.
Take a look at another powerful study that shows the effect of plant-based eating on cancer. Titled the Gene Expression Modulation by Intervention with Nutrition and Lifestyle (GEMINAL) study, Dr. Dean Ornish and colleagues collected biopsies from men with prostate cancer.
Then, after three months of intense lifestyle changes, including a plant-based diet, the researchers again took biopsies from the men. They found beneficial changes in gene expression for over five hundred different genes, including a dramatic boost in the expression of disease-preventing genes. In addition, oncogenes were suppressed (these are the genes that promote breast and prostate cancer). And all this was done without the use of chemotherapy or radiation.
Thanks to this and loads of other impressive research-based evidence, we can say with confidence that a low-fat, plant-based diet can improve survival rates for those battling breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma.
The mind-blowing, cancer-purging
benefits of a plant-based diet
Now, what do these authorities mean by a plant-based diet? Think of it as one step up from going vegan. Whereas vegans avoid animal products largely because of moral sentiments, those who follow a plant-based diet tend to stay away from five major food categories: Meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, and refined foods. Instead, they embrace fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and certain tubers.
The specific benefits of foods consumed in a plant-based diet vary in terms of how they affect the body, and cancer in particular. But in general, it’s the various phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables that work in concert to lower cancer risk, often by slowing cancer cell growth or blocking inflammation.
An example is cruciferous vegetables, which help regulate your body’s enzymes and can stop cancer cell growth. In addition, the fiber from various plant-based foods moves food quickly through your digestive system, helping to keep your internal organs clean and functional and less likely to succumb to cancerous mutations.
6 easy steps to plant-based eating
Here are some simple guidelines for adopting a more plant-based diet:
- The more color, the better. Antioxidants are more abundant in foods with bright colors. So when it comes to choosing vegetables, opt for more color whenever possible. This means purple cabbage instead of white cabbage, or spinach greens over iceberg lettuce.
- Stay away from white foods, like bread, pasta, rice, creamy sauces, and cakes. These are usually made from processed or refined grains. For maximum health, wheat, rice, sugar, milk and potatoes need to go.
- Choose whole seeds and grains when possible.
- Drink mainly water or green tea.
- Limit fatty and processed meats, as well as dairy and eggs.
- Embrace plant protein with every meal, such as beans, lentils, and peanuts.
If you feel like it’s too much for you to give up meat, dairy, and eggs , then consider only eating those foods at dinner and enjoy plant-based recipes for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Author and food critic Mark Bittman has an intriguing book about this approach called VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. Mr. Bittman outlines a balance between eating a mostly plant-based diet and still being able to enjoy some of your favorite non-plant based dishes.
But whether you go full-throttle plant-based or just increase your plant consumption by a little, you’ll be moving in the right direction when it comes to protecting yourself from cancer.
I hope to see more research organizations in America focus on diet. When you consider that cancer survival statistics have barely improved over the last 40 years despite claims of medical advances, it’s pretty clear that current methods aren’t cutting it.
Conventional treatments sometimes work for early-stage cancer but they only contribute to a late-stage cancer patient’s misery. When patients could benefit in a major way from something as simple as changing their diet to plant-based whole foods… I wonder why every oncologist isn’t recommending this.
I want to clarify a couple of the recommendations above. When it comes to avoiding fat, be concerned mostly about fat from animal sources. Fats from plant sources such as nuts, avocado, coconut, and olives are good for you and should be eaten in abundance.
Meat, as our sources suggest, is probably okay in moderation, and please eat ONLY organic or grass-fed meat. I think Mark BIttman is on the right track. I aim to eat meat no more than three times a week. The evidence that it’s linked to cancer is mixed, but scary enough to keep me from making meat a daily habit. It’s a good idea to remember that nutrition is enormously complicated and new evidence is constantly emerging.