Combating Cancer with the Body's Immune System

I was really excited by the article in this morning's Wall Street Journal that started by saying, "George Soros, Michael Milken and David Bonderman are among marquee investors benefiting from early bets on a red-hot sector: young companies...that fight cancer by using the body's immune system.

I thought, "Wow, finally the broccoli and the kale producers are winning over the hearts of some big name investors." Obviously, these investors are seeing the potential that exists in eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I wonder if it was the work of the committee that is drafting the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines that got them to see the light?

But then as I read on, I saw that it's not a new rising of the vegetable lobby; it's another angle for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. But it's kind of funny isn't it? Whole plant-based foods have been around for the taking since the dawn of civilization (and before). Even at the beginning of time, the Jewish and Christian God is recorded in Genesis 1:29 as saying to Adam and Eve, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground -- everything that has the breath of life in it -- I give every green plant for food."

And isn't food what sustains life? Isn't food what gives us energy? Isn't food what makes our body's immune systems strong? Isn't food really the first line of defense in fighting disease? Isn't it true that in cultures where whole plant-based foods are dominant, disease rates, including those of cancer, are lower? And when those same people adopt a more westernized diet, their rates of cancer go up considerably (maybe even exponentially)?

And one way food works is by strengthening our immune systems. So, I'm happy to see that industry is discovering ways to help enhance the immune system. And for someone dying of cancer, those drugs that are being developed may well be a lifesaver. Who knows, they may have helped my own wife when she was dying of cancer! So, I don't want to denigrate those drugs.

But I do consider them to be a last resort. Real food, whole plant-based food is my first line of defense. And the more of it I can eat the better, I believe.

By that, I don't mean to intentionally take in more calories than needed. But I do want to replace all other foods with fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It's not just all the bad things about animal products, oils and processed foods that we want to avoid. It's also the fact that when we eat them, we are replacing vital phytonutrients contained in plants for foods that don't have those same phytonutrients. And I believe that it's the thousands of phtonutrients present in plant foods that strengthen our immune systems and make our bodies more disease-resistant. So, I never want to replace my phytonutrient calories with calories from other foods lacking in such.

But congratulations to the drug companies for recognizing the importance of the body's immune system. I don't hope for those already rich investors to get richer off of this. Instead, I hope for average Americans to also come to realize how important their immune systems are. And with proper eating habits, along with exercise, sleep, and prayer or meditation, everyone can have a strong disease-fighting body that requires no or fewer drugs from the pharmaceutical industry. That would have tremendous impact not only for each person's health but also the health of our economy and the health of our planet.

We can do it.