Originally published March 26 2011
Researchers believe plant based food could be used as an effective treatment for cancer
by T.M. Hartle
(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of Minnesota Hormel Institute published a summary of the phytochemicals found in plant foods and their potent anti-cancer action in Nature Reviews Cancer. The Hormel Institute is actively engaged in research aimed at gaining a greater understanding of how plant based phytochemicals affect the body and how this can be used in the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Hormel researchers have been studying resveratrol from grapes as well as myricetin a phytochemical compound in green onions; both of which show excellent potential in the treatment and prevention of cancer. While this cancer research is certainly important in uncovering the potent anti-cancer action of plant based food, these researchers fail to recognize that the delicate balance of nutrients and phytochemicals within the plant are nature's perfect cure. The pharmaceutical industry exploits the compounds of plants while ignoring the powerful and complex synergy of phytochemicals and nutrients in plant foods that work together to create harmony in their actions on the body.
The synergy in which phytochemicals affect the human body is complex. Synthetically produced phytochemicals, or nutrients used as pharmaceuticals, do not have the same action as those naturally occurring in the whole food. Plant foods contain a synergy of nutrients and phytochemicals that have potent anti-cancer actions, along with antioxidant and other health promoting effects on the body. The importance of these foods in the diet is undisputed; however, the reductionist medical view of turning nature's perfect food into pharmaceutical drugs misses the point. When isolating compounds unforeseen actions can occur and side effects begin to emerge where they are not seen when consuming the whole plant.
For example, the coca leaf in South America is a widely used medicinal herb. It is also the source of the illicit street drug cocaine. Cocaine is one alkaloid found naturally in the coca leaf, when taken in isolation it obviously has a very powerful and addicting action on the body. However, the whole coca leaf used in South America contains 14 alkaloid compounds; some of which have actions in direct opposition to cocaine providing a natural balance and synergy that does not occur when these compounds are isolated.
While the pharmaceutical industry is striving to isolate more and more chemicals from plants to create a monopoly on healing, those who understand the power of nutrition can utilize the research on phytochemicals to their benefit. Making lifestyle changes that include consuming a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will provide greater anti-cancer benefit than any isolated compound doled out by the pharmaceutical industry.
About the authorT.M. Hartle has a Bachelors degree in Natural Health Science with a concentration in Clinical Nutrition as well as a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. She is a student midwife who teaches pregnancy nutrition courses to midwives and childbirth educators throughout the country. She has a certificate in the Essentials of raw culinary arts from Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and is the Owner and Chef of The Peaceful Kitchen. http://www.thepeacefulkitchen.blogspot.com
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