5 Dietary Changes to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

In oncology rotation in medical school, Mark Hyman, MD asked his professor what percentage of cancer was related to diet. He says in the forward of my book Cancer- Free with Food “Expecting a gracious, but insignificant nod to the role of diet as a cause of cancer, I was surprised when he said that 70 percent of all cancers are related to diet. Given this, in her book Liana answers the incredibly important question: If I’ve got or want to avoid cancer, what should I eat?”

Cancer cells are distorted versions of healthy cells. Knowing this, we can focus on feeding the body the nutrients that support healthy cellular function. The fastest way to promote healing is to put a high number of nutritious compounds into the body so it has what it needs to kill aggressive cancer cells. Superfoods are much more powerful than cancer. Cancer cannot survive in their presence.


Too many people are nutrient deficient. Researchers studying dietary factors associated with cancer have learned that there are significant associations between cancer risk and the low intakes of specific nutrients. REF: C.A. Gonzalez and E. Riboli. “Diet and Cancer Prevention: Contributions from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study,” European Journal of Cancer, vol. 46, no. 14(September 2010), pp. 2555–62, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20843485. And it’s not just residents of impoverished areas and inhabitants of famine-stricken nations, but regions in countries of the developed world where people make poor choices and eat a lot of heavily processed foods. In the West, we overeat but are under nourished. When we are nutrient deficient, we are at risk for cancer. we are nutrient deficient, we are at risk for cancer. It is up to you to put these foods into your body to make it impossible for cancer to find a home. Higher intakes of nutrients like vitamin C, carotenoids, retinol, and α-tocopherol (a vitamin found in olive and sunflower oils, whole grains, nuts, and leafy green vegetables), as well as fiber, lower our overall risk. Many studies show that those who eat a Mediterranean-style diet have the most protection against colorectal, prostate, aerodigestive tract (mouth, esophagus, pharynx, and larynx), and breast cancer. And itimproves cancer mortality rates. In countries like Greece and Italy, people regularly consume foods like vegetables, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fruit, fish, and fiber.

2. Eat Broccoli Sprouts for Sulforaphane Daily

Sulforaphane is also found in other vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. But broccoli sprouts contain the most of any other vegetable on the planet. Paul Talalay, M.D., a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at John Hopkins University, who has done research for 25 years on vegetable compounds, is a major advocate of broccoli spouts. He says: “Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads and may offer a simple dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk.” 1 In one experiment, Talalay and his team did a study with a group of female rats, in which some were fed broccoli sprout extract for five days and some were fed none. The rats were then exposed to a carcinogen. Those that had received broccoli sprout extract (high in sulforaphane) developed fewer tumors. Those that did get tumors developed smaller ones that took longer to grow than the group that had not received the broccoli sprout extract. In 1992, Talalay and his research team also discerned that sulforaphane has the ability to reinforce the body’s natural defenses against oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage. 2
Over the years, many studies by other researchers have supported Dr. Talalay’ s conclusions. 3 One in particular, by Jed Fahey, Sc.D., Director of the Cullman Chemoprotection Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, agrees that sulforaphane helps prevent cancer. Fahey proved that broccoli sprouts provide “dramatic protection” against digestive issues, including stomach cancer, ulcers, gastritis, and overgrowths of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium “strongly associated with inflammation related to digestive cancers. 4 During an experiment involving 48 patients with H. pylori infections in which half the volunteers ate 2.5 ounces of broccoli sprouts per day for two months, and half ate the equivalent amount of alfalfa sprouts, which do not contain sulforaphane, biomarkers of infection dropped for the volunteers eating the broccoli sprouts. 5

3. Detox on a regular basis

Help your body to cleanse itself of excess toxicity, which suppresses the immune system.
Detoxing methods, which might include hot baths, saunas, dry brushing the skin, colonics, or taking nutritional supplements to support your liver and other organs of elimination, will allow your immune system to do its job better.

4. Eat turmeric daily

Turmeric root is perhaps the most studied and talked about food for preventing and fighting cancer. In fact, it is so powerful that MD Anderson Cancer Center formed a Center for Cancer Prevention by Dietary Botanicals specifically to evaluate the efficacy of using ginger, black pepper, and turmeric—a trio of spices routinely used in Indian food—to heal and prevent colorectal cancer. 6 OK, so we hear about turmeric all the time, but why is it so good? To break it down, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and brain-protecting superfood. The spice made from turmeric root that gives curry its bright yellow color, it has its superpowers because it contains three potent compounds: curcumin,
demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. 7 No matter how you do it, consuming turmeric is a no-brainer! The curcuminoid compounds in turmeric have been shown to decrease tumor size in cases of colon, prostate, and breast cancer. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center published a study with rats who were exposed to cancer-causing substances. They then treated them with turmeric and were
protected from colon, stomach, and skin cancers! How amazing is that! I realize this
study was done on rats, but we can extrapolate that there is an effect on the human body too. In this study, the replication of tumor cells stopped when turmeric was applied directly to them in the laboratory. 8 Other laboratory experiments have shown that curcuminoids protect the body in a few more ways: They enhance the activity of a crucial detoxifying enzyme and act as antioxidants by neutralizing free radicals (which cause DNA damage). 9 Detoxifying the body is one of the beneficial healing strategies that are discussed in Chapter 5. There is hope for healing colon cancer with turmeric. Functional medicine expert
Mark Hyman, M.D., is an advocate for eating phytonutrients, recommends turmeric root
to reduce gut-based inflammation. 10 Founding member of the American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine and author of How Not to Die, Michael Greger, M.D., is another believer. He states that the low incidence of bowel cancer is attributed to natural antioxidants such as turmeric that majority of Indians consume on a daily basis. 11 Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic and John Hopkins School of Medicine did a
small collaborative study published in 2006 of five people at high risk for colon cancer.
The patients each received 480 milligrams of curcumin (found in turmeric) and 20 milligrams of quercetin (found in red onions and grapes) three times a day in an attempt to determine differences in the number and size of polyps in their colons. And the great news is that within just months they were able to observe noticeable changes! All five patients had decreased polyp numbers and size from baseline. In fact, on average they ended up with fewer than half the polyps, and the ones that were left had shrunk in half,
after this six-month treatment with curcumin and quercetin. 12

5. Reduce your exposure to electromagnetic chaos
Chaotic electromagnetic fields (EMFs) radiate energy that stresses your cells, weakens the immune system, and interferes with the proper function of the brain and nervous system. To avoid them you need to spend less time on your cellphone, being immersed in WI-FI signals, sitting near a TV, at the computer, and under florescent lights.


1 Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. “Cancer Protection Compound Abundant in

Broccoli Sprouts, Johns Hopkins Scientists Find,” ScienceDaily (accessed June 26,
2018), www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970919062654.htm. Also: Melissa
Hendricks. “More Reasons to Eat Those Vegetables,” John Hopkins Medicine,
Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences (accessed June 30, 2018),
2 . “Potential for Added Medical Benefits Uncovered for Widely Used Breast Cancer
Drug,” Johns Hopkins Medicine News release. (November 7, 2013),
3 “Broccoli Sprouts,” Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (accessed June 26,
2018), https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/broccoli-
4 Teresa L. Johnson. “Broccoli extract may lower blood sugar among some with
diabetes, study finds” American Cancer Research Institute blog (posted June 26,
2017), http://blog.aicr.org/2017/06/26/broccoli-extract-may-lower-blood-sugar-
5 News release. “Gutsy germs Succumb to Baby Broccoli,” Johns Hopkins Medicine
(posted April 6, 2009), https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/gutsy_germs_succumb_to_ba
6 Visit: https://www.mdanderson.org/research/departments-labs-institutes/programs-centers/center-for-cancer-prevention-by-dietary-botanicals.html.
7 Lauren Martin and Corey Schuler. “Turmeric, Curcuminoids, and Curcumin
Defined,” Integrative Therapeutics (September 1, 2016),
8 “Turmeric,” Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (accessed June 26, 2018),
9 Ibid.
10 Mark Hyman. “Ingredients Archive: Turmeric,” Dr. Hyman blog (accessed June 30,
2018), http://drhyman.com/blog/ingredient/turmeric.
11 Michael Gregor. “Turmeric Curcumin and Colon Cancer,” Care2 (posted March 6,
2015), https://www.care2.com/greenliving/turmeric-curcumin-and-colon-cancer.html.
12 M. Cruz-Correa, D.A. Shoskes, P. Sanchez, et. Al. “Combination Treatment with
Curcumin and Quercetin of Adenomas in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis,” Clinical
Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 4, no. 8 (August 2006), pp. 1035–8,