Cervical cancer begins as abnormal cells grow on the cervix, yet is one of the most preventable cancers known. Lifestyle choices play a large role in the body’s ability to fight infection and disease and certain habits often determine if abnormal cells form or not. Lifestyle factors can also help determine if cervical dysplasia becomes cancerous.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (2009), the most preventable causes of cancer include; unhealthy diet, smoking, physical inactivity and excess weight. In addition, it has been found that those who consume too few fruits and vegetables have a higher risk for cervical cancer. One hypothesis is that leaving out these foods also leaves out nutrients that are required for a strong immune system to fight viruses and other offenders.
One of the most controllable ways to prevent or help your body cure cancer through a holistic approach is by incorporating a healthy diet. Some treatments can cause malnutrition or weaken certain body functions like immunity. But a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, rebuild or replace tissue, and decrease the side effects of treatment. The following diet guidelines can help you prevent cancer or have a positive impact on your health as you work to cure cervical cancer.
A Vegan Diet for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Cure
Veganism could be your very best tool to prevent or cure cervical cancer. In fact, a recent study from Loma Linda University in California found that while vegetarian diets seem to offer protection from cancer, veganism can lower the risk even more for female-specific types of cancer. (1)
According to the American Cancer Society, overweight women, and those with diets low in fruits and vegetables are both risk factors for cervical cancer. To counteract this, veganism promotes an entire diet based around plant foods, which can supply all the micro and macronutrients necessary for good health. In addition, a vegan diet provides other plant components like fiber, enzymes and phytonutrients which help fight virus, parasites and other culprits that can contribute to cancer. Studies do show that plant-based diets aid in weight loss and chronic disease prevention. (2)
While fruits and vegetables should be the mainstay of anyone’s diet, a vegan diet goes further and encourages whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes as well as certain supplements like B12 and healthy fats to round out the nutritional content. Working together, these nutrients can strengthen all areas of your body, including the lymphatic system, which consists of all the organs, tissues and cells that make up your immune system.
A vegan diet eliminates red meat, processed meats, pork, fish and animal products like cheese. Any of these could result in damage to your DNA, which increases the risk of many types of cancer. In addition, the World Health Organization has labeled processed meats as carcinogens while red meats are possible carcinogens. At the same time, animals used in the food supply chain are often given drugs that are carcinogenic and passed along to humans through the meat products. But simply being vegan doesn’t ensure health, as the optimal diet must replace processed foods with produce.
Processed foods often contain chemicals that are known carcinogens in the form of food packaging materials, pesticide residue, chemical dyes, chemicals used to prevent mold, and even seemingly innocent sweeteners, like saccharine. What’s worse, some chemicals like vinyl chloride are only considered “constituents” of the packaging process therefore need not be listed in the ingredients, since it leeches into the food after packaging. (3)
The best approach is to avoid processed foods, and instead include mainly those that contain plenty of phytonutrients, or plant nutrients. These include flavonoids, which are a group of nutrients that give fruits and vegetables their beautiful colors. They are powerful antioxidants, which are compounds that neutralize oxidants; substances that lead to DNA damaging oxidative stress that can cause cancer.
Folate is an important nutrient to include and is a B vitamin known to stimulate the immune system. And folate, along with B12, can help the body fight and clear HPV. In fact, women with low amounts of folate in their blood plasma are nine times more likely to be diagnosed with the cancerous form of HPV than those with higher levels. Foods high in folate to include in your diet are spinach, arugula and most other leafy greens, asparagus, sprouting broccoli, legumes, and beets.
Vitamin C for Cervix Health
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a powerful nutrient required for the maintenance of many body functions including proper immune function. When administered intravenously, vitamin C increases chemotherapy’s cancer killing abilities while leaving normal cells alone as the patient experiences less toxic side effects. (4)
Other studies show a correlation between cervical dysplasia and low vitamin C, leading researchers to consider recommending supplementation of this vitamin if necessary. A plant-based diet can easily incorporate many foods that are high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green and red peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and leafy greens.
Juicing fresh vegetables with a little fruit is one way to ensure you get adequate nutrition. If you are diagnosed with cancer, you are likely deficient in vitamins and minerals that your body will need during this time. Consuming a diet that fulfills your daily nutrient requirement is often not adequate, as your body needs extra nutrition while healing. But, eating enough may be difficult with cancer, especially if undergoing certain forms of treatment.
Juicing can provide nutrients directly to your digestive tract where they will readily be absorbed into your bloodstream, allowing greater bioavailability. Fresh juice, if drank within 30-40 minutes of being made, can supply micronutrients, phytonutrients, enzymes and antioxidants to help you heal. This level of nutrition surpasses any supplement as the body can utilize all it needs and eliminate what you don’t need, which helps ensure you don’t overdo any one nutrient.
If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or want to prevent it, begin by altering your diet. A vegan diet is the best lifestyle choice, but be sure to get extra nutrition with juicing, when you can. Your diet can help you prevent cancer, or complement the cure.
1 Tantamango-Bartley, Y., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Fan, J., & Fraser, G. (2013, February). Vegetarian diets and the incidence of cancer in a low-risk population. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23169929.
2 Turner-McGrievy G, Mandes T, Crimarco A. A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017;14(5):369–374. doi:10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.05.002
3 National Research Council (US) Committee on Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer. Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer: Directions for Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1983. 8, Food Additives, Contaminants, Carcinogens, and Mutagens. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216714/
4 Thompson, D. (2014, February 5). Intravenous Vitamin C May Boost Chemo’s Cancer-Fighting Power. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20140205/intravenous-vitamin-c-may-boost-chemos-cancer-fighting-power#1.