What is a Cancer Fighting Diet: An Introduction

Hippocrates once said, “Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine thy Food.” But he lived at a time where there was no genetically modified, low fat, no fat, zero calorie “foods” mixed with modern pesticides and herbicides. He was right; when we make the radical shift from eating highly processed nutrients to Real Food, it can have a dramatic impact on our health. But does that apply to cancer? Can what we are putting on our forks really be that powerful? That medicinal?

Most of what we read and see out there has little or poor evidence behind it. There are, at this time, only three clinically evidenced features of a cancer fighting diet. The first one is to eat less.[i]

Studies show that calorie restriction has a significant impact in reducing inflammatory markers that play a role in carcinogenesis, or the development of cancer[ii]. For you, that may mean switching out your plate for a slightly smaller one. It could mean incorporating short term fasts one day a week. It is critical that you partner with a team you like and trust to design a cancer fighting diet that is right for you. 

Each person’s cancer, body, stage in treatment, and nutritional status is different, so a plan needs to be tailored to your needs.  For example, specialized, prescribed, short term fasting during chemotherapy has strong animal data that it reduces side effects[iii] but in contrast, fasting during radiation is contraindicated with treatment.

Periodic, individualized short term fasting during survivorship may lower risk of recurrence[iv] but is contraindicated with patients with insulin sensitivity, a common condition associated with steroid exposure during treatment.

What we eat matters.  And the best way to think about it can be this, When we put something in our mouths, we are either fighting disease or feeding it.

Call us at (248) 798-2942, and allow one of our board certified nutritionists and natural medicine doctors work with you to use nutrition to fight cancer and live the life you desire. Wildflower Wellness, a holistic nutrition practice specializing in complementary support before, during and after cancer care recently partnered with Dr. Roy & Dr. March at Associates of Integrative Medicine to help teach our patients to shift their focus from what looks like food to real food.


Cancer Fighting Diet

[i] Hursting SD, Smith SM, Lashinger LM, Harvey AE, Perkins SN. Calories and carcinogenesis: lessons learned from 30 years of calorie restriction research. Carcinogenesis. 2010;31:83–89.
[ii] Al-Wahab Z, Tebbe C, Chhina J, Dar SA, Morris RT, Ali-Fehmi R, Giri S, Munkarah AR, Rattan R. Dietary energy balance modulates ovarian cancer progression and metastasis. Oncotarget. 2014;5:6063–607.
[iii] Brandhorst, Sebastian, et al. "Protective effects of short-term dietary restriction in surgical stress and chemotherapy." Ageing Research Reviews (2017).
[iv] Periodic, individualized short term fasting during survivorship may lower risk of recurrence by reducing BMI and modifying other risk factors (Fontana, 2016; Harvie, 2013) 
5Fontana, L., Villareal, D.T., Vas, S.K., Smith, S.R., Meydani, S.M., Pittas, A.G.& Holloszy, J.O. (2016). Effects of 2-Year Calorie Restriction on Circulating Levels of IGF-1, IGF Binding Proteins and Cortisol in Nonobese Men and Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  Aging Cell, 15, 22-27.