Smoothies and Cancer Prevention
The American Cancer Society (ACM) is one of the definitive voices on cancer facts, cancer prevention and cancer survival. One thing that the ACM does is look at scientific studies and provide guidelines on cancer. This includes scientific guidelines on what lifestyle and dietary changes can help prevent cancer.
There’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet about cancer and diet. You cannot cure cancer with diet. Someone diagnosed with a terminal disease is willing to try just about anything to cure themselves. But relying on unscientific Internet cures can lead to more harm than good. Steve Jobs is a well known example of someone who delayed scientific cancer treatments while relying on “alternative” treatments.
While diet cannot cure cancer, there is scientific evidence linking diet to cancer prevention. A healthy diet will also help someone with cancer stay vibrant, strong and healthy while they undergo treatment. As the ACS states
Nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Eating the right kinds of foods during and after treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger.
Can Smoothies Help Prevent Cancer
Adding fruit and vegetable based smoothies is great for your health and can absolutely help in lowering your risk for cancer. There have been numerous studies done that show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of cancer.
The American Cancer Society has a nice FAQ about common questions regarding diet and cancer. Going over these common questions you we can see that smoothies can be a very beneficial aspect of a healthy diet and also help in preventing cancer.
Smoothies Have Antioxidants
It is a common belief that antioxidants help prevent cancer. This assumption makes sense, as antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules which contain a single unpaired electron in their outer shell. Free radicals damage cells. It is believed that free radicals play a role in aging and also in cancer.
Antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, prevent free radicals from harming cells. The idea is that because antioxidants prevent the harmful reactions that free radicals cause, antioxidants slow the aging process and help prevent cancer.
One of the best sources for antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. However, it should be noted that some studies have found that antioxidant supplements alone do not prevent cancer. At the same time, diets high in whole fruits and vegetables have been found to decrease the risk of cancer. So while the theory for antioxidants is there it may actually be another property of whole fruits and vegetables that is preventing cancer. This is why it is important to eat whole foods rather than relying on supplements alone.
Most smoothie recipes rely largely on whole fruits and vegetables.
Using Milk In Your Smoothies
Milk is a great source of calcium. Calcium is needed by our bodies for a number of functions, including making our bones strong. Calcium has also been linked to a decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer. At the same time, high calcium intake has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. (Too much calcium is a good reason to look for a GOMAD alternative.)
Does this mean smoothies should avoid milk? Of course not. First, women are not at risk for prostate cancer, so they don’t have much to worry about. Second, the link between calcium and prostate cancer was between high levels of calcium intake. Our bodies need calcium to stay healthy. Men should ensure that they get enough calcium without going highly over the recommended daily amount.
Feel free to add milk to your smoothies, just don’t drink nothing but milk. Also, note that leafy greens are high in calcium, so if you are drinking lots of green smoothies, you may not need milk in your diet. You can always consider a milk alternative if you are worried about consuming too much calcium.
Drink Whole Foods
Fruit juices, powders, supplements and other forms of non-whole foods have not been shown to have any effect on preventing cancer. Instead, the studies which show a link between diet and cancer prevention always contain lots of whole fruits and vegetables.
Don’t try to substitute a supplement for the whole foods that you should be eating. Smoothies allow us to easily and quickly drink a few servings of whole foods.
Can Fiber Prevent Cancer
Fiber is good for a number of reasons and there have been studies that link a diet high in fiber with cancer prevention. Like Antioxidants, scientists are unsure if the cancer prevention is due to the fiber, or some other aspect in foods that are high in fiber.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other plant based foods are a great source of dietary fiber. Including these types of foods in your diet can help lower cancer risk.
Talk To Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor. Your body and health are unique and need to be treated in a unique way. The above information may be helpful in creating a healthy, balanced diet, but your doctor will know best what it is that you should be consuming.