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Cancer Diet - Minerals

 by: Marilyn Bennett

A cancer diet needs a good balance of minerals because minerals are needed by all cells for proper function. Patients are often found to be mineral deficient, so this is an area of the diet that needs particular attention.

There are two classes of minerals. Macrominerals, such as the well known calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus, and microminerals, such as boron, chromium, copper, iron, iodine, germanium, sulfur, silicon, vanadium, zinc, manganese and molybdenum.

The good news is we will get most of the minerals we need, provided we are eating a diet based on a wide variety of fruits and veggies, with the addition of nuts, seeds and grains.

Where we can get in to trouble is that minerals are washed out of soils with constant rain, and modern fertilizers don't usually contain the wide variety of minerals we need. Organic gardeners usually use rock minerals on their soils and this results in organic produce have a much higher and broader range of minerals.

Germanium is one micromineral that cancer patients are often low on. It is essential for immune function and is critical to tissue oxygenation. Cancer grows rapidly where there is low oxygenation of cells. Germanium is found in broccoli, celery, garlic, onions, rhubarb, sauerkraut and tomato juice as well as aloevera and ginseng.

Iodine deficiency has been linked to breast cancer in more than one study. Seasalt contains iodine and a variety of minerals rather than the isolated highly processed iodine additive in table salt. Asparagus, garlic, lima beans, soybeans, sesame seeds all contain natural iodine along with the nutrients needed for good absorption.

Large amounts of brassicas eg brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, along with peaches, pears and spinach can block absorption of iodine, so ensure there is a balance of iodine rich foods in your diet.

Selenium has been linked to cancer. Selenium and Vitamin E work together to attack free radicals. Selenium is critical for pancreatic function, and pancreatic enzymes are critical to the bodies ability to fight tumour activity. This mineral is generally found in meat and grains, however countries such as New Zealand and much of America is known to have selenium deficient soils.

As there have been several studies showing that good selenium levels have significantly reduced the risk of cancer, this is one mineral you want to have enough of.

Food sources that should be included frequently in a cancer diet are: brazil nuts, broccoli, brown rice, brewers yeast, chicken, kelp, onions, salmon, seafood, tuna, wheatgerm and whole grains. Garlic, chamomile, ginseng and parsley are all easy to use concentrated forms that can be added to the diet daily.

A couple of warnings:

Be very careful about self-dosing with minerals as several of them will block absorption of others if the dose is too high.

Again, eating a variety of foods, with particular notice taken of those that have high mineral levels is the safest way to go. If you wish to explore mineral supplementation further, talk to your naturopath or nutritionist. But whatever you do, don't ignore the importance of these vital elements to your well being.  

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