ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot
One in every 2.3 men and one in every 2.7 women will get cancer in their lifetimes –Canadian Cancer Society.
Cancer scientists believe that single cancer cells are continually forming in the human body and that the body destroys most of these before they develop into malignant tumours. After all, we humans would not be here today if we had not evolved to do this. Food scientists once believed it was the vitamin, mineral, fibre and enzymes of plant foods that prevented human malnutrition and disease, but this all changed in the 1990s when phytonutrients were discovered.
As they ripen and set seed, plants manufacture elements as part of a defence system against oxidation, viruses and bacteria, insects and disease and radiation. It has now been discovered that these elements, known as phytonutrients, protect the body from the daily onslaught of toxic chemicals and carcinogenic compounds that prevail in our modern world.
In his book Salvestrols: Nature’s Defence Against Cancer, Brian A. Schaefer documents a revolutionary new concept of how the body defends and heals itself naturally from cancer. The findings are based on the combined research of Professor Gerry Potter, a medicinal chemist, and Professor Dan Burke, a pharmacologist, both from the UK.
In the early 1990s, Professor Burke’s research group found that an enzyme protein, called CYP1B1, (pronounced “sip one bee one”) was clearly present in tumour cells in a wide variety of human cancers, but was undetectable in the cells of corresponding healthy tissues. Although there are hundreds of different enzymes ubiquitous in the body, CYP1B1 was confined to diseased cancer cells only.
Professor Potter’s team identified plant-based chemicals that were part of the plant’s defence system and called them salvestrols. Many plant species were found to be high in salvestrols, especially fruits, berries and herbs. Unfortunately, modern agriculture, through use of antifungal sprays, has minimized levels in all but organic produce.
The key feature of salvestrols is that they are only activated inside cancer cells, which they then arrest or kill. The cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP1B1 brings about a subtle alteration in the structures of certain plant compounds and turns them into metabolites and these metabolites are potent anti-cancer toxins. For many years, researchers recognized that diets high in fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, seeds, nuts and legumes prevented diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. These new discoveries give us hope that, one day in the future, we will be able to control cancer by remembering to eat our vegetables, as our mothers always told us.
Important sources of phytonutrients
- Garlic, onions, scallions, shallots and chives (potent sulphur compounds)
- Extracts of bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, grape seed and skin
- Green tea
- Flax seeds, hemp seeds, evening primrose oil
- Broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, dandelions, globe artichokes
- Peppers, red beets
- Extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil and borage oil
- Apples, grapes and fresh melons
- Strawberries and blueberries
- Pink grapefruit, lemons, oranges, tangerines, limes (pulp and rind)
- Sea vegetables (dulse, wakame, kombu, nori)
- Fermented soybeans
Carolyn Herriot grows “Seeds of Victory” at The Garden Path Centre in Victoria, BC. http://earthfuture.com/gardenpath. She is author of The Zero Mile Diet, a Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food and is currently writing The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook (Harbour Publishing).