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Does what we Eat Really Affect our Risk?

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Cancer & Diet: Qur'an, the Cure for an Epidemic

By:Mohammed A. Khan

Foods rich in protective factors such as fruits

and vegetables are also doing something

positive for our health and well-being.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that at least 35% of all cancers have a nutritional connection. When lifestyle factors such as smoking and exercise are included, the associated risk becomes much stronger and might be as high as 85%. What we eat makes a big difference in our energy levels, our mood and even our self-esteem. When we choose foods rich in protective factors such as fruits and vegetables, we are also doing something positive for our health and well-being.

Links have been established between cancer and diet. Some 40% of cancers in men and 60% in women are believed to be related to problems associated with the Western diet. There is evidence to suggest that some cancers are particularly affected by what we eat and drink; cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, breast, uterine endometrium and prostate.

It is estimated that worldwide, 30% of all men over the age of 50 have some evidence of dormant prostate cancer, yet worldwide rates for clinically evident prostate cancer are highly variable. For example, U.S. rates for prostate cancer are 120 times higher than those of China. The research was conducted to explore the hypothesis that dietary fat may account, in part, for the wide variations in worldwide prostate cancer rates. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States.

Though further research needs to be conducted in humans, the animal results suggest that diet may have an impact on prostate cancer tumor growth and may also play a role in preventing or delaying the onset of the disease.

Which Foods are Important for Health?

Foods that come from the plant kingdom rather than the animal kingdom have many protective botanical factors. Plants cannot move away from danger like animals but these phyto (meaning plant) nutrients can be beneficial to us also. Antioxidants, anti-carcinogens and bioflavonoids are some of the terms used to describe the actions of phytonutrients. Foods rich in botanical factors or phytonutrients include berries, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, legumes (beans of all sorts, including soy) and whole grains.

A beneficial diet would be low in fat and processed sugar, and high in fiber. If you read the labels on packets and tins you will notice that sugar finds its way into all sorts of foods. Excessive alcohol consumption is not advised and smoked, pickled and salt-cured foods should be reduced. Meats cooked at high temperature or broiled are also to be avoided.

So what can we eat? "Halal & Healthy Diet", Allah says, "O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He whom ye worship (2:172)."

The more fresh fruits and vegetables we eat, it will increase fiber intake and most contain little or no fat. Five servings a day is considered to be a minimum. A portion would be one piece of fruit, three quarters of a cup of juice or half a cup of chopped vegetables.

With the convenience of pre-packed and frozen foods, we tend to forget about some of the traditional seasonal vegetables. Next time you go shopping, why not go to a fruit and vegetable market or spend a bit longer in the greengrocers. It is even better if you can find organically-grown foods. They sometimes do not look as pristine as the non-organic equivalent, but they will often taste so much better.

"O ye who believe!

Eat of the good

things wherewith

We have provided

you, and render

thanks to Allah if it

is (indeed) He

whom ye worship (2:172)."

With the convenience of pre-packed and frozen foods, we tend to forget about some of the traditional seasonal vegetables. Next time you go shopping, why not go to a fruit and vegetable market or spend a bit longer in the greengrocers. It is even better if you can find organically-grown foods. They sometimes do not look as pristine as the non-organic equivalent, but they will often taste so much better.

A kitchen spice, known as Turmeric, has an ingredient called curcumin that seems to halt tumor growth, prevent new tumors from forming, and neutralize cancer-causing chemicals in the blood ((Please see disclaimer on Home Page-M.H.) Journal of the American College of Nutrition (8, 5:450)).

Harold Foster, Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia studied 200 cancer patients who had "spontaneous regression" of their cancers. He found that 87% had made serious dietary changes that were mostly vegetarian in nature, and many others underwent some detoxification program or used nutritional supplements. Quillan, Patrick, "Beating Cancer With Nutrition", Nutrition Times Press, Tulsa, OK 1994.

One cancer prevention method could be as close as your refrigerator. "The best estimate is that if we all ate a perfect, healthy diet, we could eliminate maybe 35 percent of cancer deaths," said Dr. Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society.

Remember; You should consult your doctor if you intend to follow a specific diet. The above is for use as general guidance only.

Conclusion:

As data is accumulated, lifestyle characteristics are shown to be major determinants of cancer risk in humans. Of these, diet is the most ubiquitous. Food constituents have been identified which can cause or enhance the likelihood of cancer and, conversely, protect against it. Such data encourage the hope that a full understanding of the impact of dietary constituents on carcinogenesis will lead to important means of cancer control.

It is stated that the heart is the king of the body. If the king is corrupt, then the entire kingdom will be in chaos. Thus is the situation of the human body, we must try to keep our heart from being polluted and defiled. The Shariah is established to provide such protection to the heart, so that it may be pure. Especially, the Halal and Haram dietary laws in Islam are addressed to propagate pure and healthy habits. These habits will protect one from developing any type of related illness or risk factors. As stated above in the risk for developing cancer, diet plays a major role in its development. If individuals adopt halal eating habits, then they will absolve themselves of such statistics.

References:

Halal & Healthy:

The Qur'an and Hadith about Halal & Haram in Food
Translated Verses of the Qur'an

"O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He whom ye worship (2:172)."

"He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swineflesh, and that which hath been immolated to (the name of) any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (2:173)."

"O ye who believe! Fulfill your undertakings. The beast of cattle is made lawful unto you (for food) except that which is announced unto you (herein), game being unlawful when ye are on pilgrimage. Lo! Allah ordaineth that which pleaseth Him (5:1)."

"Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine-flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols.

And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you and have chosen for you as religion Al-Islam. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (5:3)."

"They ask thee (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah's name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account (5:4)."

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