And, MAYBE in this case, a billion Indians too…
Not to make this appear like a conspiracy theory rant, but I have often wondered and been suspicious of the whole cancer/anti-oxidant thing. Cancer is bad. Everyone would agree. Drug companies spend a lot of money to develop treatments. And, maybe someday there will be cures for all the cancers. Many many people owe their lives to the drug companies. But, is there more? (not to get sidetracked by a debate about the ethos of the drug companies) Is there more we could be doing than merely waiting for cancer to creep up on us and then chemo and pill ourselves into (hopefully) a remission? Can we be more proactive?
What if there were things that could be done that would reduce the risk? What if there were things beyond quitting smoking and eating less junk food that could be done to ensure that cancer wouldn’t occur? Shouldn’t we be doing these things too?
My wonderment and suspicion about cancer occured as follows. When “anti-oxidants” became known and advertised, it seemed a natural to include them in my diet. Broccoli, blueberries, green tea, etc. were already in the diet for the most part. But, with the knowledge that these items included “good” stuff that would proactively aid my health, I made a concerted effort to eat the anti-oxidant foods more often.
Drinking all this green tea made me wonder if the incidence of cancer in countries where they had always been drinking green tea (and eating healthy food) had ever been researched. Yes, the Hippies advocated a healthy lifestyle of organic and macrobiotic food adopted from their interest in the eastern lifestyles. But, did anyone ever research those eastern peoples to see if their rates for cancer were lower? It’s one thing to adopt the lifestyle out of respect for the spitituality. It’s another thing to do so with the knowledge that they have less people dying from cancer.
So, do they? Do the Chinese and Japanese and Indian peoples die less frequently from cancer than the people of America? And, if they do, wouldn’t it be nice to know?
Now, I’m the first to say that there is obviously A LOT MORE to this ‘debate’. There is no way mere diet alone can be compared to draw any kind of grand conclusion. Socio-economic status, manufacturer-relased toxins, genetic pre-disposition, access to medicines, lack of reporting as a result of ignorance, standard of living, life expectancy, etc. all surely have a potential equal or greater bearing on the influences for and prevalance of cancer in those countries than the simple ingesting of anti-oxidants.
What if? What if it were true? What if scientists took twins that had been separated, with one living in the east and the other in the west, and determined that the daily spicy entree or the daily cup of tea made a difference? Wouldn’t that be news that rocked the world?
So, if it is true, why don’t we hear about it in the daily news? Yes. I know the RDA and the Food Pyramid are guides for healthy living. I know I should eat more salad. I know I should do a lot of things less. And, I know about anti-oxidants. The ingredients for a healthy diet are available.
But, a preventative diet??