The Weekly Thread: eat these foods to fight cancer, taking a hot shower at night for better sleep, and be a friend to yourself, so you can be a friend to others.
If you are reading this, it’s highly likely, that you have cancer.
As I write this, I know, it’s highly likely that somewhere, inside my body, I have cancer.
Now, the cancer I am referring to is most likely microscopic, and harmless, at the moment.
Chances are it will remain microscopic, and thus, harmless.
Let’s get a little more clear on what I mean by this.
It all begins with cellular senescence.
A senescent cell, also known as a “zombie cell”, is a cell that has stopped multiplying, but doesn’t die off when they should, and have stopped serving their purpose in the body.
Over time, these senescent cells, with no purpose to serve, can become autoimmune,or metabolically inefficient, meaning, potentially cancerous.
If the aging process has begun in your body, you deal with cellular senescence. The older you get, the more cell senescence happens.
This is why I say, it’s highly likely that if you are reading this, that you likely have cancer in your body, and most likely, as it currently stands, it is harmless.
So when we think of someone being diagnosed with cancer, it’s not the actual presence of a cancerous tumor, as many of us have microscopic cancerous tumors in our body that are harmless.
Rather, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, what that really means is that what once was a seemingly harmless, microscopic tumor, has now become a problem.
A potentially life-threatening problem.
This can be a bit of a sobering reality, knowing that it’s likely we have cancer in our bodies, but also empowering, knowing this, and knowing there are proactive measures we can take to ensure those harmless, microscopic tumors remain so, or are killed off by the body through a process known as “apoptosis”.
So how does cancer go from harmless and microscopic, to larger, and problematic?
Through a process in the body known as angiogenesis.
Angiogenesis, simply put, is the development of new blood vessels.
Typically, angiogenesis is the giver of life in the body, and beneficial.
However, in the presence of a cancerous, microscopic tumor, the last thing we want to do is give it “life”.
Therefore, in the presence of a cancerous, microscopic tumor, we don’t want angiogenesis to take place.
When new blood vessels form around the tumor, the tumor can now be fed, it has blood flow.
Therefore, to stop cancer from gaining a life force, from growing, and thus, becoming a potentially deadly problem, you want the opposite of angiogenesis to take place. You want the cancer to essentially starve itself out.
Meet Dr. William Li
Dr. William Li is a Harvard-educated physician, who has authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, serves on multiple boards, and is the Chief Executive Officer, President, and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a non-profit organization he founded to reconceptualize health and fighting disease through angiogenesis.
Dr. Li knew that we used pharmaceutical drugs to “starve out” cancer cells, and he had a simple hypothesis, which was that through research, we could discover foods that yielded the same, if not better results for starving out cancer, or having an “anti-angiogenic” effect.
This hypothesis was what the Angiogenesis Foundation was built on.
It turns out that this hypothesis was correct.
TheAngiogenesis Foundation has discovered over 100 foods that have an anti-angiogenic effect. Essentially foods that you can eat, and will help you keep those harmless, microscopic tumors harmless, and potentially, even help support your body in killing those potentially cancerous clusters of “zombie cells” off.
Of those 100+ foods, Dr. Li has located some as his “top cancer-fighting foods”, and I think you’re really going to be happy to see some of them.
Foods to Eat to Beat Cancer:
Soy. Contrary to much of what we’ve been told, increased soy consumption has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women, and decrease the risk of cancer returning in women with previous bouts of breast anger who eradicated it. Now, this is a tricky one. Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues with the soy we consume. About 95% (if not more) of soy is now GMO, and has inflammatory properties that we definitely want to avoid. If you are a woman who has a history of breast cancer, has other risk factors, or just wants to be proactive in prevention, there are ways to consume soy without consuming pro-inflammatory, GMO soy.
The absolute best solution I’ve found is a fermented soy drink called Haelan 951. The soy used in this drink is organic, and comes from a rare strain in Mongolia that hasn’t been messed with. It’s also fermented, which is important, as the fermentation process further breaks down and chemically changes any harmful elements or compounds found in soy. This drink really seems to be the way to go if you want more soy in your diet for cancer prevention, and also want to avoid the deleterious effects.
That said, consuming fermented soy products like Miso and Tempeh are also really good ways to get more soy in your diet, without the deleterious effects.
Coffee. Coffee beans contain specific polyphenols that epigenetically turn on your body’s tumor suppressor gene RARB2. This has been documented by scientists at the University of South Carolina. These polyphenol compounds that have this tumor-suppressing effect on our genes are susceptible to oxidation, so we recommend grinding your beans fresh when possible as this provides you with a cup of coffee highest in active polyphenols. This is why at NONA, we always grind your beans fresh, and French press every cup of coffee we brew for you. At minimum, try to choose high-quality coffee, preferably organic.
Red Wine. Like coffee, red wine contains polyphenol compounds that have antiangiogenic effects. This is one of the reasons a glass or two of red wine per day has been shown to have therapeutic, anti-aging effects. Also, like coffee, there are ways to ensure you’re getting the healthiest glass of wine. To learn more about how to choose the healthiest wine CLICK HERE.
Beer. Well, hops. The rub is, beer is really the only food/drink we consume that contains hops, and it does contain a high concentration depending on the beer you select. Hops contain xanthohumeral, which is a known antiangiogenic bioactive. The U.S. National Cancer Institute conducted an analysis of almost 108,000 people, and found that those who consumed approximately 5 beers per week, had a 33% reduced risk of kidney cancer. Choosing a craft-brewed IPA will yield the highest concentration of hops, and therefore, cancer-fighting xanthohumeral. There is also a great, non-alcoholic way to consume cancer-fighting hops in a drink called HOP WTR. It’s a carbonated, hoppy drink, with adaptogens, that will help you relax and wind down.
Note: When consuming alcohol and considering the potential health benefits, extreme moderation is the key. Excessive alcohol consumption has very well documented deleterious effects, and those deleterious effects will outweigh the health benefits when over consumed. However, in moderation, 1-2 servings in a day, based on weight, or 4-5 servings per week has been shown to have potentially positive effects on cardiovascular health, and stress relief. Combine that with some other researched anti-aging and disease preventive benefits, and it looks like you can, in fact, drink to your health.
To read more, check out Dr. Li’s full article, 6 Foods to Eat to Beat Cancer.
Take a hot shower or bath.
I highly recommend ice cold showers in the AM to prime your body for the day, however, at night, if you want to sleep better, a hot shower or bath appears to be the way to go.
And by “shower”, I don’t necessarily mean you have to do all the typical “shower things” like washing your hair and body. Basically, the objective is, if after better sleep, to just get your body immersed in some hot water.
So even if you “shower” in the AM, which most people do, you can still get in a hot bath or shower and just relax, and immerse yourself.
At night, your body wants to go through a pulse of anabolic (recovery) hormones like melatonin and growth hormone. The better the pulse of these hormones, at the proper times, say, 10pm, versus, 1am, the more quickly you fall asleep, and the deeper, more restorative your sleep is.
A hot bath can be a very relaxing way to wind down the day, which most assuredly will help you fall asleep more quickly. Heck, even sitting under some hot water in a shower for 5 minutes will probably have a natural calming effect, and help empty the mind for the day.
Furthermore, and the main physiological benefit of a hot bath or shower at night, is that it jumpstarts the aforementioned hormonal pulses, which then also helps better set your circadian rhythm.
Also, the body will engage a “cool down” process in response to the hot water. This also helps you sleep better, as your body wants to wind down its internal temperature by a degree or two at night when you sleep.
Ever try to sleep when you’re really hot? Yeah, it doesn’t go so well.
Your body’s natural nighttime circadian rhythm typically wants to set itself around 10pm. This is roughly the optimal time to begin pulsing nighttime recovery hormones, to ensure a solid, deep night’s of sleep, but also ensure they’re out of your system around the time when your body wants to pulse its morning/daytime hormones that get you moving, which is around 6-7am.
So, a properly see nighttime circadian rhythm, will also help you wake in the morning more alert and ready to go.
To best time a hot bath or shower, shoot for roughly 30-60 minutes before you ready yourself for bed.
“Those that are a friend to themselves, are sure to be a friend to all.”
This is something we’ve all heard more or less, and also already know more or less.
In essence, the better you are to yourself, the better of a human you will most likely be to, and for others.
So that’s not my personal “two cents” for the week.
I’m pondering the layers baked into this quote, the main of which is that it’s freakin’ hard to be good to yourself.
It requires a high level of personal accountability, and you have to consciously work at it.
In fact, it’s often much easier to neglect yourself, for the sake of others, caring for them, and putting their needs first.
And that’s extremely admirable.
Consider this a friendly reminder, that the more “ruthless” you are with yourself in your self-care, the greater the importance you place on it, the more effort you put into it, the better the results.
And the results this yields, well, they’re so…so worth it.
Never forget that.