Mediterranean Diet vs. Cancer Clinical Trials

Lower incidents of cancer and “arrest progression” of  Breast, Colon, and Prostate, as well as a slowed “Aging” process across all micro organisms, are being attributed to nutrients consumed from the Mediterranean Diet.  Organs effected by Alzheimer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Parkinson Disease once thought to be pre-dispositioned diseases, are now completely avoided due to the higher intake of a plant based-fish/poultry diet that includes a lifestyle change with exercise. In order to understand nutrition related disease we first have to address nutritional intake for the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and understand what nutrients are common within the Mediterranean Diet that promote well-being.

Compare and Contrast the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the Mediterranean Diet on the following pie charts:

Standard American Diet: 2,594 cals/day

Caloric Sweeteners, Flour, and Cereal Products make up 41% of the S.A. D., Fruits and Vegetables are only 7% of the S.A.D.

Standard American Diet
Fruit/Vegetable 205 .08%
Fats 340 13%
Dairy 256 10%
Sweeteners 440 0.17%
Pork/Meat/Chxn 298 0.11%
Nuts 175 .07%
Pasta/Bread 619 23%
 Calories/day 2,594

Two critical points that Doctors raise as red flags. 1. Higher amounts of calories are  in the Standard American Diet. 2 Empty calories that promote aging is due to how the body is required to process calories that the body cannot use and have small to no amount of  vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants available.

Chemical Sweeteners and Refined Flour

  1. In contrasting the diets, note that 41% of the Standard American Diet is dedicated to the consumption of chemical sweeteners, refined flour, and cereal products.
  2. The Mediterranean Diet has no chemical sweeteners and only 17% of the dietary intake is in pasta and breads.
Calories Mediterranean Diet
Fruit/Vegetable 400 22%
Olive Oil 360 20%
Dairy 257 15%
Wine/Liquor 150 0.09%
Pork/Fish/Chxn 105 0.06%
Nuts 175 1%
Pasta/Bread 300 17%
 Calories/day 1747

Fats, Oil and Dairy products are almost an even draw in calories.

S.A.D 596 calories or 23% of dietary intake  vs Mediterranean Diet 617 or  35% of dietary intake.

  1. S.A.D. utilizes fats such as Margarine, Canola Oil, Butter, and processed cheese.
  2. Mediterranean Diet utilizes Olive Oil (3 Tbsp/day), daily fresh made or aged cheese.

So far the Standard American Diet in just two arguments has shown that 1,655 calories, or 64% of an average American’s diet is composed of sweeteners, refined flour, and processed saturated animal fat. The Mediterranean Diet demonstrates that 917 calories, or  52% of it’s nutritional intake comes from grains, refined flour, plant based oil, and freshly made or aged saturated animal fat.

S.A.D. Protein intake is 473 calories or 18% vs. Mediterranean Diet 235 calories or 13% of total intake.

  1. S.A.D. is heavily loaded with red meat some chicken / pork and low amounts of fish. It is important to note that red meat has 92 calories per ounce.
  2. Mediterranean Diet loads up on fish, poultry and some pork with red meat entering their dietary intake only once every 7-10 days. White meats and fish range from 32-37 calories per ounce are easy to digest and the amount of available oils high in omega 3 promotes healthy organs.

Protein intake is a critical part of everyone’s diet. Vitamins B12 & B16 are most prominent in meats and provide nutrition for the central nervous system.  However, balance is most important when consuming protein. Omega 3 and Protein are in all the meats, fish, and poultry, however the omega-3 is in higher amounts within certain fish (Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel, Salmon) also easier to digest. Red meat can take 48-72 hours to digest, therefore a contributor to the aging process of the body as organs endure a work out to utilize and expel what is not needed. In many cases saturated fat is then deposited into the arteries and begin to engulf the organs.

Benefits of Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, Spices, and Resveratrol

  1. S.A.D. shows that Americans consume only 205 calories or .08% of fruits and vegetables through out the day. (Eat the skin if not hard or bitter.)
  2. Those who follow the Mediterranean Diet are more likely to consume 400 calories or 22% of fruits and vegetables through out the day. Consuming wholesome nutrients found within natural wrappers provides the human body systems with vitamins and minerals that it needs to function daily.

    Free Radicals expedite the aging process by harming the cell membrane. Anti-oxidants neutralize the free radicals, and therefore protect all cell membranes. Eat a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices to keep your body loaded up on anti-oxidants.

Clinical trials are executing nutrition in plant extract form as a way of combatting disease and researching compounds that come from Mediterranean herbs and spices:

  • Basil / Bay Leaves:  Antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. New evidence suggests basil can decrease carcinogenesis, and help protect against the proliferation of cervical cancer (HeLa cells).
  • Cardamom: Is loaded with anti oxidants that purge the body from free radicals that help prevent multiple forms of cancer. Found to be anti-proliferatvie, anti-invasive, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic. Colon Cancer
  • Oregano: Has flavonoids and phenolic acids (antimicrobial properties) found to prevent colon cancer and restrict growth of malignant cancer cells
  • Rosemary: Aids in preventing oxidative stress which causes prostate and ovarian cancer

Studies have shown utilizing plant extracts from Mediterranean Spices that are linked to reduced incidents of cancer or arrested progression of cancer are:

  • Cinnamon / Cloves: Increased levels of iron and calcium are components that may be attributes of the anti carcinogenic, pro-apoptotic, anti-proliferative properties. Cervical Cancer, Colon Cancer.
  • Ginger: Has shown that it inhibits cancer cell growth in prostate cancer patients.
  • Sumac: Has both anti-oxidants and anti-microbial properties, preventing the on set of cancer.
  • Turmeric:  Contains anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer and other chronic illnesses.  Plant based resveratrol is known to slow the aging process and is tested to see which cancers that it can prevent, arrest, and cure.  “Resveratrol (1 mg/kg orally) reduced the number and size of the esophageal tumors in rats treated with a carcinogen; and in several studies, small doses (0.02–8 mg/kg) of resveratrol, given prophylactically, reduced or prevented the development of intestinal and colon tumors in rats given different carcinogens. Similarly, topical application of resveratrol in mice, both before and after the UVB exposure, inhibited the skin damage and decreased skin cancer incidence.”

Add resveratrol to your meals, finding it within a variety of sources: purple grapes, cranberries, blueberries, peanuts, pomegranate and Italian Red Wine.

Making small dietary changes will promote overall health and reduce incidence of nutrition related disease and cancers, therefore leading to days of improved strength, stamina, and endurance.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio


Nutrition for the Colon

An abundance of flavonoids from fruits and vegetables are the best way to nourish the colon. Specifically, tomatoes, sauces, and salsa are cleansing and important for colon health.

Each organ must be properly nourished and cared for through daily meals, snacks and beverages. Likewise, each organ has a list of foods to avoid that have demonstrated the ability to inflict harm,  lead to malabsorption, food intolerance, disease, or cancer. It is important to note that there are variables to colon health, in addition to nutrition, which should all be discussed with your doctor.  (Genetics, Habits, Lifestyle, Vices)

The colon (large intestine) functions as an internal sewage system, has 4 sections and connects to the anus for excretion of feces.

The Large Intestine, or Colon, has four sections: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon and the sigmoid colon. It is about 6 ft in length and due to its diameter in width, it is called the large intestine ending at the anus where the feces is excreted. The small intestine is 26 ft in length and much smaller in diameter and therefore, bears the name of small intestine.

The purpose of the large intestine is to carry the sewage (digested or undigested foods) from our bodies.  As modern society has “developed”, the food consumption has changed from: fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, and oils, to food that has been engineered such as: cookies, chips, candy, and soda.

Toxins and Mucus.  The human body was not designed to digest toxin filled foods. When consuming harmful foods, a signal is sent from the stomach, to the intestine, to alert the colon as to what is coming down the line.  The colon produces a mucus to protect itself from the harmful foods and toxins.  Overtime an accumulated thick layer of hardened mucus has lined the colon that can weigh between 5-11 pounds! The mucus production should disintegrate on its own through occasional use, over use leads to toxemia and disease.

Weight Loss.  Choosing to “diet” can further a problem by introducing fruits and vegetables  to an already blocked system.  Before changing eating habits, a doctor may advice the patient to fast and then to flush their bodies of the toxins by taking a laxative (colenema). This is a safe cleansing that can be done in the privacy of one’s bathroom.  For a natural cleansing: Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice of both lemon halves into a glass of water.  Drink twice a day; once in the morning and after dinner. (Just as a car engine would not have new oil added to the old filthy built up oil, a clean engine is often the best way to begin a new dietary lifestyle.)

American Cancer Society Identifies Risk Factors

Type 2 Diabetes.   According to the American Cancer Society, “People with type 2 (usually non-insulin dependent) diabetes have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Both type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer share some of the same risk factors (such as excess weight). But even after taking these factors into account, people with type 2 diabetes still have an increased risk. They also tend to have a less favorable prognosis (outlook) after diagnosis. Nourish the Colon with optimal choices.”

Genetics: Increased risk factor is tied to familial Colon cancer “with a history of colorectal cancer in one or more first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) are at increased risk. The risk is about doubled in those with a single affected first-degree relative. It is even higher if the first-degree relative was diagnosed when they were younger than 45, or if more than one first-degree relative is affected.

People with a family history of adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer should talk with their doctor about screening before age 50. If you have had adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer, it’s important to tell your close relatives so that they can pass along that information to their doctors and start screening at the right age.”

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP): “FAP is caused by changes (mutations) in the APC gene that a person inherits from his or her parents. About 1% of all colorectal cancers are due to FAP.

People with this disease typically develop hundreds or thousands of polyps in their colon and rectum, usually in their teens or early adulthood. Cancer usually develops in 1 or more of these polyps as early as age 20. By age 40, almost all people with this disorder will have developed colon cancer if the colon isn’t removed first to prevent it.

Gardner syndrome is a type of FAP that also involves benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the skin, soft connective tissue, and bones.”

Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC): “HNPCC, also known as Lynch syndrome, accounts for about 2% to 4% of all colorectal cancers.  The cancers in this syndrome also develop when people are relatively young. People with HNPCC can have polyps, but they only have a few, not hundreds as in FAP. The lifetime risk of colorectal cancer in people with this condition may be as high as 80%.

Women with this condition also have a very high risk of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Other cancers linked with HNPCC include cancer of the ovary, stomach, small bowel, pancreas, kidney, brain, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and bile duct.”

Recommended Dietary Intake

  • Water, or water with juice of fresh lemon twice a day
  • 2-3 cups Green Tea (decaffeinated) a day
  • Daily Aspirin
  • Raw Plant Foods (fruits and vegetables)
  • Aloe Vera (beverage)
  • Broccoli & Kale. Butyrate is formed in the colon through bacteria fermentation, in the presence of carbohydrates rich in fiber.  Known to have a number of anti cancer effects, certain foods  are recommended for preventative colon care.
  • Sweet Potatoes (Vitamin A, C, E, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Phytosterols) increased motility of bowels so toxins move quickly through, protection against cellular mutation.
  • Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic allows for the immune system to work more aggressively.
  • Yogurt:  Returns balance of healthy bacteria and resident flora, which promotes bowel movements and waste elimination.  Yogurt is rich in Vitamin D and Calcium, both are imperative to organ health.
  • Tuna (Omega 3 for cellular reparation)
  • Turmeric (gives color to Curry. Can be placed into a spice shaker and used on vegetables, soups, salads, poultry, fish, pasta, rice) anti-carcinogenic
  • Cinnamon: anti carcinogenic
  • Dried Fruit, Beans, Brown Rice all have fiber that remove toxins from the intestine.
  • Flavonoids are antioxidants and should be consumed daily; found in all fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices
  • Foods that produce Butyrate to remove toxins are: green vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, whole grains.

What has shown to Harm the Colon should be Avoided or limited.

  • Red Meat (1’c a month: Men 3 ounces and Women 2 ounces)
  • Lamb (1’c a month reduced amounts)
  • Pork (1’c a month reduced amounts)
  • Processed Meats
  • Excessive Processed, Snacks, & Fried Foods
  • Alcohol (1 glass of wine or 1 beer once a week)
  • Smoking (Avoid!)

What has been linked to Polyps

  • Over cooked foods
  • Dairy, Cheese (no more than 1 ounce 3 times a week)
  • Red Meats
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Foods (chips, crackers, candy, cookies, fried foods)

Foods to Avoid if a colostomy has been performed

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Raw onions or raw garlic

Nutrient balance is critical to colon health. The daily recommended intake (DRI) of 4 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables, Vitamin D and calcium all promote healthy organs.

Families who have a history of colorectal or colon cancer should discuss genetic testing and review a dietary and exercise plan with their doctor.

Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio BASC DTR