Oxidants are the most common of the cell damage-causing molecules. Oxidants are produced during healthy cellular metabolism. These normally help modulate inflammation, kill bacteria, detoxify toxins, and maintain good vascular (blood vessel) tone. Excess, unutilized oxidants damage cell membranes, lipids, and DNA. This damage gets repaired by antioxidants obtained from food.
We get exposed to oxidants from external sources too. Smoking, alcohol, certain drugs, deep-fried, and fatty foods are other sources. We get exposed to oxidants through radiation, UV light, heat shock, and strong sunlight too. Other oxidant sources are air fresheners as well as vehicular and industrial pollutants. Oxidants interact with antioxidants, destroying these. Diet will need to have enough surplus antioxidants to counterbalance the loss from oxidants. Plant-based foods are particularly rich in antioxidants. These and other nutrients are known to help in improving overall metabolism and better health outcomes.
Let us now look at cancers. Cancers get triggered when the genetic code starts issuing a message to cells to proliferate rapidly. It is now well accepted across the scientific community that cell proliferation gets triggered by repeated stimuli. Smoking for instance is known to be a major cause of lung cancers.
Obesity too is also regarded as a cancer risk factor. Cancer along with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and others are regarded also as lifestyle diseases.
The role of diet and exercise, two essential factors in lifestyle management are accepted to play a critical role in maintaining a healthy body. The role of plants, plant-based diets are well-recognized factors that reduce cancer and other lifestyle disease risk.
But does that mean that an antioxidant-rich plant-based diet and exercise will prevent the occurrence of cancers? I do not think this is the case. The disease mechanism is far more complex than that. There is still so much that is not yet adequately understood. I also do not subscribe to the views expressed by people who practice herbal medicine – Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tibetan Medicine, and ancient Greek medicine that herbal combinations will help prevent and treat cancer. Let us accept that we just do not have all the answers.
To understand more about the role of natural solutions in cancer healing and management, you can read here.