Recently I spoke to a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has dense breast tissue and the cancer was found after it had advanced. (That’s another story.)

After suffering from high blood pressure for many years, I have been looking at diet and exercise as a way to correct my pressure. I wondered if the same issues that apply in my quest for a more balanced blood pressure could also apply to cancer. So I spoke to Dr. Sam Schikowitz, a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist located in New Paltz. Dr. Schikowitz has extensive training in naturopathic modalities as well acupuncture and other forms of Asian medicine.

Funny, but his two main suggestions–eat healthy and exercise–not only help cancer patients but help all of us live life to its fullest.

Eat the Right Stuff

  1. A diet high in protein and fat helps people lose weight. It  also improves the long term cancer survival rate. According to Dr. Schikowitz, “You want (a cancer) patient’s blood sugar to be regulated because cancer cells love sugar.” He says cancer patients who consume increased amounts of sugar, may risk speeding up their own deaths, since cancer cells thrive on sugar.
  2. Stop smoking and stay away from others who smoke as well.  Many studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health show a direct correlation between the smoke from cigarettes and breast cancer.
  3. Be careful of toxins in your diet. According to Dr. Schikowitz, most toxins come from toxic animal products.I asked the doctor how hard is it to remove these toxins from our diet. Although it takes some effort, it definitely is reflected in feeling better and looking better. Some of his suggestions include buying organic products, free range chickens, light tuna, canned salmon and whole grain brown rice. And yes, antioxidants and green tea are helpful, he says, but usually in conjunction with an overall approach to a healthy lifestyle.

    Frozen foods are a good second choice to fresh. And of course, stay away from foods with a lot of preservatives and additives.

Develop an Exercise Regime

  1. First of all, according to Dr. Schikowitz there is no pill out there that does what exercise does for you. So your first step is to come up with an overall exercise plan.
  2. What’s great about exercise is that, in general, it improves your mood while it improves your body’s metabolism; and it reduces all types of illnesses.
  3. One of the great bi-products of exercise is that it is a great regulator of blood sugar. It also helps you think better, feel better, and affects your immune systems.
  4. The most effective way to change how your metabolism works is to develop an aerobic training program. I know I am doing aerobic exercise, when I am breathing heavily for an extended  period of time.  (Aerobic training is effective in burning sugar.) Use short sprints and interval training as part of your exercise program. Do three individual sets of an exercise rather than one long set.

For more information about Dr. Sam Schikowitz and his philosophy about keeping healthy, visit his website .

Look for a follow up: I asked my press contact at the National Institutes of Health about their current studies on the relationship between diet and cancer. Let’s see what they come up with.

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