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Make Your Food Your Medicine

Hippocrates was a Greek physician during the 4th century B.C. who was dubbed the "father of medicine" for his contributions to the healing sciences.  Medical doctors still take the Hippocratic Oath.  It was Hippocrates who said, "make your food your medicine" over 2,000 years ago.  Now our science is proving him right.

While it has been known for some time that eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, can help prevent breast cancer, the mechanism by which the active substances in these vegetables inhibit cell proliferation was unknown-until now.

Scientists in the UC Santa Barbara laboratories of Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology, and Mary Ann Jordan, adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, have shown how the healing power of these vegetables works at the cellular level.  Their research is published in this month's journal Carcinogenesis.

"Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, can be protected against by eating cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and near relatives of cabbage such as broccoli and cauliflower," said first author Olga Azarenko, who is a graduate student at UCSB.  "These vegetables contain compounds called isothiocyanates which we believe to be responsible for the cancer-preventive and anti-carcinogenic activities in these vegetables.  Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount of the isothiocyanates.

"Our paper focused on the anti-cancer activity of one of these compounds, called sulforaphane, or SFN, Azarenko added.  "It has already been shown to reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals.  It inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death."

Hippocrates also said, "Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it at its work.  The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well."  A 2001 study discovered that women who reported consuming at least 2.5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily as adolescents were 46 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer.  Several studies have confirmed the anti-cancer activity of cruciferous vegetables, not only against breast cancer but also bladder cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.  As few as two servings each week of the following vegetables can have a profound effect on your body's ability to fend off cancer:
 Brussels sprouts

Don't wait to get sick to start taking care of yourself.  "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" wasn't attributed to Hippocrates, but I'm sure he would have agreed wholeheartedly.  If you do get sick-whether cancer or a cold-consider the symptoms a clue to what your inner physician needs to mend your health.  "A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses."  --Hippocrates

Fortunately we don't have to wait to get sick ourselves in order to learn from the illness of others.  The road ahead is becoming better lighted every day, and knowledge is the best defense against what might once have been considered a preordained future.  If you choose to take your health and well being in your own hands, you can.   It's all about choices and changes, proactivity and action.  And it can begin as simply as adding cruciferous vegetables to your regular menu, secure in the knowledge confirmed by science that your body is experiencing real gain from the healthy food choices you make.

If you're just not going to eat your veggies, there are still good choices.  You can take them in a pill or a powder-quick, easy, tasty, effective.  Garden of Life Perfect Food, Chiropractor's Blend Greens, and Standard Process SP Green Food, are just several of the options you can find at Healthy Essentials.