Food as Powerful Medicine

Food as Powerful Medicine (Part 2)

Ginny Dent BrantBy Ginny Dent Brant14 Minutes

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eights Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer by Ginny Dent Brant


An Inverted Food Pyramid

Dr. William Sears, a medical consultant for Baby Talk and Parenting magazines, is widely quoted as saying that he believes over 70 percent of disease is preventable through good nutrition. Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, says, “Children are being more harmed by poor diet than by exposure to alcohol, drugs and tobacco combined. Due to poor diet, this generation of children has a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”5

This is shocking to hear, but as one who has worked on the front lines of education for thirty-two years, I’ve witnessed this trend firsthand. We have literally turned the recommended pyramid of the food groups upside down. We think because we’re Americans or, worse, Christians, we don’t have to follow common sense in our eating habits. We’ve wandered so far from the Garden of Eden.

Our love of junk food and highly processed food has made carbohydrates and fats the foundation of our diet. Research indicates that the average American eats up to three fruits and vegetables each day, but it also shows that one-quarter of all vegetables consumed are French fries! French fries are a deep-fried starch that have none of the benefits of green vegetables. In addition, Americans eat too many trans fats and saturated fats (the wrong kinds of fats), too much protein (which has adverse consequences unless you’re building muscle mass), too many carbohydrates such as breads and cereals, and not enough of the most important nutrients God gifted us in nature in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Back to the Garden of Eden

Why are fruits and vegetables so important for our bodies?

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:29–30)

Because God said so! In this passage, God is telling us what He created for us to eat. Did He say French fries, corn chips, and Taco Bell? No! He made seed-bearing plants and leaves to provide our required nutrients, and indeed science has shown that fruits and vegetables can actually supply all of our nutritional needs, including protein.

What else does the Bible say about fruits and vegetables? Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine. (Ezekiel 47:12)

In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

In the first passage, God shows the prophet Ezekiel a picture of the New Jerusalem where fruits and vegetables will grow continually in the afterlife. These trees will bear fruit every month, and their leaves will be used as medicine. In the second passage, the apostle John also sees a vision of the new earth. The leaves of fruits, vegetables, and herbs have been used as medicine for thousands of years, including biblical times and the days of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in the fifth century BC.

Only in the last fifty years or so have we drifted from plant-based medicine to synthetic medicines. Yes, conventional medicines can save lives, but these come with side effects—just pay attention to any drug commercial or read the literature that comes with your prescriptions—whereas plant-based medicines generally have little or no side effects.

God gave us fruits and vegetables to nourish our bodies and provide for our healing. Let’s look at some of the miraculous nutrients and compounds found in these foods.

The Power of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other compounds that help to fight disease. They can also contain carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

Let’s begin with fiber. Fiber regulates bodily functions in the digestive system. Fats and toxins attach to fiber, and the bulk of fiber moves waste through your colon to the exit door, thus taking out the body’s trash. When a person is constipated, doctors advise increasing water and fiber intake. Fiber also reduces the risk of cancer, heart attacks, and strokes and helps to lower cholesterol. For estrogen-fed cancers, diets high in fiber seem to reduce estrogen levels and promote weight loss, thereby reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Fiber also helps to balance the immune system, reduce inflammation, create neurotransmitters, feed your gut bacteria, slow down the rate glucose is absorbed, lower triglycerides, eliminate waste and toxins from the bowel, and is an essential nutrient that seals the gut lining. The average woman needs twenty-seven grams of fiber daily but is getting only fifteen to seventeen grams. The average man needs thirty-seven grams but is getting only about twenty-one grams.

Vitamins and minerals are needed to regulate the body’s many processes and chemical reactions that occur daily. Deficiencies result in the body not working up to par. Vitamins and minerals can be taken by mouth, but they should come from whole food sources, not from a lab where they are synthetically produced. A well-rounded diet of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors can supply all the vitamins and minerals we need, although some integrative doctors are recommending a whole-food supplement due to soil depletion.

Phytochemicals and antioxidants are “magic bullets” for our bodies. The colors in fruits and vegetables are the “phytos,” which help to fight disease and cancer. There are more than 25,000 phytonutrients found in our plant food, which travel to the cellular level and can actually change our genetic expression. Dr. Ben Lynch suggests in his book Dirty Genes that we can clean up our defective genes with lifestyle changes that include the consumption of more fruits and vegetables.6

The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables absorb free radicals before they damage our bodies and are therefore important in building the immune system. Sometimes the cells in the body’s immune system purposefully create free radicals to neutralize viruses and bacteria, but environmental factors—including pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, and herbicides—are spawning dangerous levels of free radicals that attack the body.

If these free radicals are not neutralized, the result can be cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other diseases. As we age, our bodies’ ability to deal with outside toxins declines. Meanwhile, an increasing number of toxins are being introduced into our world at a time when people are living longer. So what can we do? Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Don Colbert lists several benefits of adding to your diet phytonutrients, plant-derived nutrients that can do the following for you:

  • Prevent and fight tumors and cancer
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Increase immune function
  • Fight viruses
  • Stimulate detoxification enzymes
  • Block the production of cancer-causing compounds
  • Protect your DNA from damage7

For the last forty years, naturopathic doctors and nutritionists have been sounding the alarm, touting fruits and vegetables as a key to restoring and maintaining good health. It’s only recently that the American Cancer Society (ACS) has begun maintaining that eighty percent of cancer can be prevented through positive lifestyle behaviors. They are now promoting “increasing and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables because they contain important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.”8

There are now hundreds of studies correlating the consumption of fruits and vegetables with cancer prevention.9 The ACS is now joined by the USDA, the Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in recommending increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diets.

In an advertisement posted at a PGA Golf Tournament, MD Anderson, the leading cancer center in the US, encouraged moving towards a more plant-based diet to reduce cancer risk by 40 percent.

The Research of Dr. William Li

There are other studies suggesting that cancer patients who eat more fruits and vegetables actually live longer!10 Harvard graduate, medical researcher and doctor William Li is now promoting plant-based food as the basis for an anticancer diet. He believes we can eat to starve cancer by using plants as inhibitors of angiogenesis—the development of new blood cells that can fuel cancer.

“Angiogenesis is a hallmark of cancer,” Li says. “Cancer starts out as harmless, and without a blood supply to provide nutrients, most cancers won’t become dangerous.” The body’s ability to properly manage angiogenesis prevents blood vessels from feeding cancer.11

Li asked himself, “What can we add to the diet that will naturally inhibit angiogenesis?” His research foundation is now examining the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and teas that have the highest potential for preventing angiogenesis. Berries, citrus, red grapes, teas, and herbs such as turmeric and nutmeg all show great potential. Li’s research indicates that the power of these plants to inhibit angiogenesis is stronger than Avastin and other pharmaceutical drugs on the market.12

I would like to see the ACS and other cancer foundations fund more research into nutrition, plant-based medicine, and vitamin C infusions and treating cancer as a metabolic disease. Another area that needs to be addressed is how these natural treatments can support patients undergoing cancer treatments. Some cancer treatment centers in Europe are already using botanicals and vitamin C infusions as adjuvants to chemotherapy.

In his book, Eat to Beat Disease, Dr. Li points out that the five defense systems in our bodies that are key pillars to our health: angiogenesis, regeneration, microbiome, DNA protection, and immunity—are all influenced by diet!13

Order your copy of Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer by Ginny Deny Brant