The Bad News: We All Have Cancer
One of the most common public misperceptions about cancer is that people assume that if their doctor gives them a clean bill of health, that they don’t have cancer. Right? Wrong. The truth is that all of us have microscopic cancers growing in our bodies all the time. These tiny tumors form because, although the human body is pretty amazing in its ability to stay healthy, our cells do make mistakes occasionally. All it takes is for one of the more than 50 trillion cells in our bodies to make a single mistake while dividing and, presto, a potential cancer is born.
The Good News: You can Prevent Cancer from Growing
Fortunately, these tiny cancers don’t usually stay around very long, because they are fragile and short lived. Our immune system usually roots out and destroys microscopic cancers when they are spotted. Healthy tissues also contain a wealth of natural anti-cancer substances that make it very difficult for microscopic cancers to grow. An important group of these substances are cancer-starving molecules called ‘angiogenesis inhibitors’. Angiogenesis is the process our bodies use to grow new blood vessels. Cancers can hijack this process to recruit their own private blood supply to feed themselves. Without these blood vessel lifelines, cancers remain tiny and can’t become dangerous.
An Arsenal of Weapons, Courtesy of Mother Nature
Mother Nature provided not just one, but a whole arsenal of weapons that can help boost our body’s ability to defend against cancer. Many foods and beverages contain natural cancer-starving molecules that prevent tumors from acquiring blood vessels. These antiangiogenic foods (blood vessel-inhibiting) – we call them Angio Foods -- contain natural cancer-starving molecules that prevent tumors from acquiring blood vessels. Not too surprisingly, there are many fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices amongst these.
A Surprising Weapon
But this arsenal also contains surprising weapons. Here is one: Cheese.
Eating certain types of hard cheeses, including Gouda, Edam, Emmenthal, and Jarlsburg, can lower your risk of developing cancer. Why? Because these cheeses contain a form of Vitamin K called Vitamin K2 (the scientific name is menaquinone) that is both antiangiogenic and also kills cancer cells directly. The studies indicate that eating as few as two slices of these hard cheeses a day can lower your overall risk for cancer, including lung cancer and prostate cancer. You can find these cheeses in your local grocery store.
You might be wondering whether eating cheese frequently is such a good idea? Well, in this case, it turns out that vitamin K2 also protects the heart by preventing hardening of the arteries. Many of the medical studies I’ve cited were done in Europe where cheese is regularly eaten, even on a daily basis, including breakfast. Personally, I think the research is so compelling that we should all find ways to add vitamin K2 into our diets. If you are a cheese lover, Gouda and the other types I listed above are good choices. For people who are lactose intolerant or who just don’t like dairy, chicken is another good source of Vitamin K2. Not the whole chicken, but the dark meat like the thighs and drumsticks. There many tasty chicken recipes that let you substitute dark meat for white breast meat.