In any cancer diet, there are many factors to be considered. One is that it is ideal that we get our nutrients from our foods, and that those foods are in as near their natural state as possible. By that I mean foods that have minimum processing.
The reason for this is that no matter how clever our scientists are there is still much they have not discovered about the way vitamins and the body interact. Every day we hear they have found either a new nutrient or another factor in how our bodies assimilate nutrients. If we eat foods that are as close to the state nature produces them we are most likely to get the nutrients we need together with all the other factors our bodies need to use them. This is crucial to any cancer diet, and any cancer treatment centre will tell you that eating healthily will only help your chances of avoiding cancer.
A shining example is iron. Our bodies need Vitamin C in order to assimilate iron. However, there are still iron supplements on the market that do not have Vitamin C included in their mix. Now, parsley is a very rich source of iron and, you guessed it, is also full of Vitamin C. To further complicate matters, Vitamin C is heat affected and water soluble, so cooking, particularly in liquids destroys it – hence my assertion that eating foods – in this case parsley – in their natural state is best. Of course, this won’t work for all foods – potatoes for example – but it is a good strategy to keep in mind when trying to maximize nutrition.
The other reason for eating foods in as near natural state as possible, is that cooking destroys the natural enzymes. Enzymes not only play a crucial role in digestion, and therefore influence the quality of the nutrients we get from our food, but some enzymes, particularly pancreatic enzymes, play a direct role in the fight against cancer.
So how do we include raw foods when designing a cancer diet?
The obvious answer is salads. Using as wide a variety of salad vegetables and incorporating as many different coloured salad veggies, is an excellent way to increase your intake of live enzymes.
But even with hot meals, many raw veggies can be added as a garnish. Eg parsley chopped up over scrambled eggs. Herbs stirred in a casserole after the heat is turned off. A couple of rings of capsicum on top of cooked fish. Use fruits to dress up a steak or a roast. Let your imagination go! Look for colour and variety and you will easily find dozens of ways to include raw foods.
Snacks are another way of getting raw veggies into the diet. Cut up celery and carrots into one inch/2cm lengths. Even broccoli and cauliflower are nice and crunchy as a snack. If you must dip them in something try a little cottage cheese rather than a fat laden dip!
By keeping your mind open and imagination engaged, you will soon be getting many more raw foods into your daily diet, giving yourself and your loved ones an edge in the cancer fighting stakes.