One of the most concerning things I’ve heard in my medical practice, was when a cancer patient asked her doctor what she should eat during her treatment, and her physician answered, “you can eat anything you want.”

He couldn’t have been more wrong. Because we truly are what we eat, during times of challenge for the mind or body, nutrition is one of the most important factors that allow the body to heal. When we talk about cancer-fighting foods, we must consider three ways in which food helps our system defend itself:

1. Foods That Reduce Inflammation: Inflammation has been associated with many chronic diseases like atherosclerosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and many types of cancer. Nutrition is a powerful way to protect our cells from inflammation.

2. Foods That Prevent Cellular Damage: Antioxidants have a powerful effect on our immune system and help to prevent disease. They do this by fighting free radicals, which are a byproduct of normal cellular function but they can produce cellular and DNA damage when they accumulate. This occurs during times of stress to the body, like physiological change, emotional stress, and physical disease.

3. Detoxifying Foods: These foods help the body’s natural detox organs to eliminate toxins and residue.

Phytonutrients = The Magic Ingredient

The majority of nutrients that have antiinflammatory, antioxidant, and detox properties are found in plants. Plant foods—like fruits and vegetables—contain macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fiber,) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). But they are also packed with compounds known as phytonutrients.

Simply put, phytonutrients are active compounds that benefit humans, particularly in the area of cancer prevention. Phytonutrients can lower the risk of cancer, the side effects of cancer treatments, and reduce other health risks and problems.

Phytonutrients provide plants with sensory characteristics such as their color, flavor, and smell, but they also protect plants from damage—this is why they’re so powerful. Most cancer-fighting foods have more than one phytonutrient, so their benefits are not limited to one area among the benefits of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, or detoxifying.

Here are seven foods that have a powerful impact on fighting cancer.


Kale is rich in fiber, which helps improve digestion, and a healthy digestive system is key to maintaining whole health. Kale also contains iron that helps transport oxygen, enhance cell growth, and promote proper liver function.

The amount of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids in kale gives it anti-inflammatory properties: one cup/ day gives 10 percent of the RDA recommendation for omega-3 fatty acids. It has vitamin A and calcium—even more than milk—so it helps prevent osteoporosis (which can be a side effect of some anti-cancer treatments).

It’s also considered a detox food because of its content of fiber and sulfur. Sulfur is an important part of many liver enzymes that help eliminate toxins or drugs. Choose organic kale for the highest source of vitamins, minerals, and to reduce chemical intake.


Papaya fruit has a high content of vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, which are potent antioxidants. It also contains a protein-digesting enzyme called papain, so it enhances digestion, which can be impacted during treatment. Make sure to choose non-GMO papaya to reduce toxin intake.


Berries are packed with polyphenols like tannic acid and ellagitannin, which stimulate the elimination of carcinogens and inhibit cancer growth. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits. They have favanols, anthocyanins, and hydroxycinnamic acids, as well as other phytonutrients like resveratrol; all are very potent antioxidants.

Plus, berries are easy to consume—add them to whole grain cereal, smoothies, or yogurt. Choose organic berries for the highest source of vitamins, minerals, and to reduce chemical intake.

Whole Grains

Whole grains—like quinoa and oats—provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help prevent cardiovascular disease. But recent research shows that their content of phytonutrients give them the capacity to prevent some types of cancer. They contain ferulic and ellagic acids; these are antioxidants that block free radicals, but can also protect cells from radiation damage. Choosing non-GMO whole grains will help reduce your toxin intake.

Green Tea

Green tea has many health benefits that researchers believe are related to the phytochemicals it contains. Of these phytochemicals, the catechins are the most studied in cancer patients. Catechins are also found in other fruits like apples, grapes, and avocadoes. The benefits of green tea include the reduction of vascular neo-formation, a phenomenon necessary for the reproduction of cancer cells. It contains potent antioxidants and is helpful to detoxify and assist the liver in eliminating toxins.

It’s important to notice that black tea is fermented, and this process partially eliminates the catechin content. Remember that a 10-minute infusion of green tea is necessary for the catechins to be liberated.

Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower)

Cruciferous veggies have anti-cancer properties because of their content of phytonutrients like sulforaphane, flavonols, and kaempherol, all, which reduce oxidative stress (cellular damage due to free radicals and peroxides). Broccoli also contains vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant.


The lycopene content in tomatoes has been associated with increased survival rates in prostatic cancer patients, and a decreased risk of suffering from this type of cancer. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant, but tomatoes also have a group of compounds called “ the red family” and the combined action of all these contents, make them efficient in preventing cancer.

Other foods that have been found to fight cancer include olives and olive oil, turmeric, ginger, mushrooms, dark chocolate, and red wine.

The American Institute for Cancer Research states that no food in isolation can effectively lower cancer risk. So the best advice is to eat a variety of plant foods daily—including those on this list—to ensure the most protection against cancer.

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By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, and P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina

You may have noticed headlines about the rise of prescription drugs as a major cause of addiction and death by overdose. Pain pills are overshadowed by illegal drugs like heroin and

their dangers maked by a certain air of respectability. Yet America is in the midst of an epidemic of painkiller overuse as well as addiction. As a nation we constitute only about 5% of the world’s population, but we consume some 80% of the prescription drugs called opioids, the strongest and most addictive pain pills, that go by names like Vicodin, OxyContin, Dilaudid, codeine, and Percocet. We consume 99% of the global supply of a particular opioid called hydrocodone, which is used in combination with other drugs for pain relief but also cough suppression. In 2014 the FDA approved a new version of a pure hydrocodone despite the objections of its own medical advisory panel (which voted 12 to 2 against approval) and 30 states. Today opioid overdose deaths (one every 30 minutes) exceed deaths from motor vehicle accidents as well as the combined total of deaths by heroin or cocaine overdose.

How did we get here? The pain-relieving properties of opium have been known for thousands of years, but because of its dangerous side effects and addictive properties, it has generally been reserved for more severe forms of acute pain. This changed in the mid-90s when doctors became more lax about prescribing opioids over a longer period of time. Pharmaceutical companies launched marketing campaigns, and medical use of opioids in the US increased

tenfold over the next two decades. This was a gamble between relieving the pain of patients and the risk of overuse, a gamble that obviously hasn’t paid off. Mounting evidence suggests that long-term opioid drug use triggers a vicious circle of continued pain and addiction. Citing the predictability of such an outcome, some counties in California and Illinois have sued the makers of opioid drugs for misinformation campaigns.

Pain has become the most common reason that people see doctors–more than 100 million Americans are reported to suffer from chronic pain, a number that exceeds the combined total of people suffering from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and stroke. Is there another way to resolve chronic pain besides the disastrous course we’re on?

The first step toward an alternative is to view pain as a mind-body experience that is highly subjective. As such it can often be approached through a phenomenon called “self- efficacy.” The brain contains many pain-relieving chemicals, and these can be triggered

mentally, which is why taking a placebo leads to pain relief in a significant proportion of people. (The reverse is also true through the nocebo effect, where a harmless substance induces pain or fails to relieve it when the subject is told that this is the expected outcome.)

In a related example, people who thought they were getting expensive pain pills reported more pain relief than those who thought they were getting generic drugs even though both groups were given the same inactive placebo. Likewise, bigger placebo pills work better than smaller ones, and injected placebos work better than oral ones. In all of these findings, subjects are unwittingly calling upon the self-regulation of pain.

Nor is this just the mind playing a trick of us. Brain scans show that a placebo, when effective, changes the brain in the same way as do active pills, and these changes can be found in the spinal cord, not just the brain. The implications are strong for chronic pain over an extended period, too. Studies in arthritis patients have shown that the placebo effect can last over two years. In sum, self-efficacy is more powerful and more long-lasting than is generally realized, even among physicians.

If you suffer from chronic pain, where did it originate? Our latest understanding is that about half of our pain sensitivity is thought to be genetically determined and the other half by a mixture of variables: cultural and religious background, mood, past experiences with pain, and the surroundings (e.g. having a good support structure or not). Women feel pain differently

from men, even as newborns, and are more likely to report painful medical conditions. African Americans tolerate experimental pain less than Whites, perhaps due to greater vigilance.

The point is that subjectivity plays a key role in the degree of pain each of us feels from the same stimulus. As the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius noted in the second century A.D., “if you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” That’s why a child who’s about to have some blood drawn can be distracted with a new toy and feel no pain,

and why long-distance runners can work through their pain from a desire to win. Pain can thus serve as a strengthening activity, the “no pain, no gain” motto of athletes.

Religion and spiritual background play their part, too. Researchers at Oxford University used brain scans to study how religious beliefs affect the pain response. Subjects were shown either an image of the Virgin Mary by a 17th-century Italian painter or a nonreligious painting by Da Vinci (Lady with an Ermine). After looking at each image for half a minute, they were given mild electric shocks and asked to rate their pain. Devout Catholics and atheists responded to pain similarly after seeing the Da Vinci painting, but devout believers rated their pain lower after seeing the Virgin Mary. Brain scans showed that the devout Catholics were engaging more

of their ventromedial cortex, a brain region known to be involved in the placebo effect, which apparently made their pain less threatening.

In Hinduism pain affects the body, arising from a person’s karma, but it doesn’t touch the soul or higher self. In the Bhagavad-Gita Lord Krishna tells the warrior Arjuna that “weapons do not cut it, fire does not burn it…the self is indestructible and timeless.” An understanding that all

pain is temporary gives believers mental strength to put it in proper context and to cope without falling into depression or self-blame. The nonreligious can achieve similar levels of coping through mindfulness, yoga or various forms of meditation. A 2011 randomized controlled three-month study of Iyengar yoga in 313 patients with back pain showed that how their backs functioned at 3, 6, and 12 months was superior to the usual medical-care group if

they took up yoga.

Love is another potent pain reliever. Studies have shown that a 20-second hug can relieve pain and stress by acting on nerve cells to release pain-relieving brain chemicals such as oxytocin and reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

The upshot is that pain management has come a long way since the era when the placebo effect was shrugged off by most doctors as “not real medicine.” Placebos trigger a person’s own

brain to relieve pain, but this happens unwittingly–the element of self-deception is present. Removing this element ruins the placebo effect, but it opens the way for conscious, self-aware techniques. Clearly we are not suggesting that anyone should take pain lightly or that you should treat any medical pain entirely on your own. No one should stop taking prescription opioid painkillers abruptly, either. What we are suggesting is that the long-term solution to America’s opioid drug epidemic lies in changing the self-efficacy environment. Painkillers should come after a patient has explored the power of the mind-body connection, keeping up the search for the best and most efficacious techniques. The field of self-care is burgeoning, and pain should become a central part of that if we want to end our dependency on drugs whose prolonged overuse is so dire.

Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 80 books with twenty-two New York Times bestsellers including Super Brain, co-authored with Rudi Tanzi, PhD. He serves as the founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Join him at The Chopra Foundation Sages and Scientists Symposium

Take a moment to check out ‘Self Directed Biological Transformation Initiative – SBTI’ on Indiegogo and share it with your friends. Get perks, make a contribution, or simply follow updates. If enough of us get behind it, we can make ‘Self Directed Biological Transformation Initiative – SBTI’ happen!

P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine.


Research shows that yoga is a natural anti-depressant.

But if you’ve ever been depressed, it’s hard to get the body moving. That’s because the body follows the mind – sorta like a trusty dog. Speaking of trusty dog – Downward-Facing dog pose is the pose of all poses because it’s an all-over rejuvenating stretch that helps to shake off the webs of depression in the body. Below is a step-by-step instruction for practicing Downward-Facing Dog.

The American Yoga Association says just a few minutes of yoga three times every day can balance your body and mind and get your depression on the run.

How does it work? The benefits of yoga for depression have been studied since the 1970s. One recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked at brain scans of people practicing yoga and found that the exercise boosted their levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric GABA (low levels of GABA are linked to depression and anxiety). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that there is growing evidence to support the following observations:

  • Yoga can help you learn to manage stress better.
  • Yoga can improve your mood and sense of wellbeing.
  • Yoga can positively alter your brain and blood chemicals.
  • Yoga can help you cope with anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

There are many types of yoga, most of which combine physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Hatha yoga is the most popular type of yoga practiced in the United States; it focuses on simple positions that flow from one to another with time taken for breathing and meditation. Click on my schedule from above tab  and sign up for my Gentle Hatha class.

Getting Started With Yoga

  • Do some research on the yoga programs available in your area. Keep in mind that there are many training programs for yoga instructors but no official licensing requirements; ask about prospective instructors’ training and experience.
  • Tell your yoga instructor what you want to get out of your practice.
  • Ask how physically demanding the type of yoga is.
  • Try some different styles until you find the one that fits your needs and abilities.

If you are feeling depressed or have a history of depression, yoga may help you better manage. Practicing of yoga will help you fight depression by harnessing the healing power of the mind and the body.

Step by Step Instructions for Downward-Facing Dog pose – or the Sanskrit term, Adho Mukha Svanasana:

  1. Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders and slightly forward. Spread your fingers wide on the mat and press down into the padding underneath the knuckles. Curl your toes under.
  2. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor – point your tailbone to where the wall and ceiling meet. At first, keep your knees slightly bent and stay up on tip toes. Squeeze the upper thighs back towards the back of the thighs – firming up the muscles in your legs.
  3. Then with an exhale, push the upper thighs back and stretch your heels back towards the mat – one heal at a time until you feel ready to bring both heals back toward the mat. Don’t worry if both heals don’t come down to mat – the idea is to just move the heals back toward the mat – lengthening and stretching the hamstrings.
  4. Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.

Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It’s also an excellent yoga asana all on its own. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rests in Childs Pose.

There is a lot being said lately about using sunscreen and exposure to the sun.  I recently read an article circulating on social media about a new study that “Blows the Lid on Suncreen (find it here: While I’m happy that this article has created space for a conversation surrounding the toxins in the products that we so mindlessly slather over our bodies each day – it’s sometimes hard to dispel myth from truth.

The only way to be absolutely sure of what’s in your sunscreen is by making it yourself. Reduce your toxic load of chemicals with this safe sunscreen recipe:

DIY Safe Sunscreen Recipe

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fractionated coconut oil

1/4 cup beeswax

2 tablespoons zinc oxide

1 teaspoon vitamin E

2 tablespoons shea butter

12 drops Helichrysum essential oil


Add everything except zinc oxide and Helichrysum essential oil in a medium-sized glass mixing bowl.

Fill a medium saucepan with a couple of inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the glass bowl on top of the saucepan so that the saucepan is cradling the bowl. As the ingredients start to melt, stir occasionally to mix.

Tip: Use a popsicle stick to help stir for an easier cleanup.

Once all ingredients are melted, remove from heat and let the mixture cool for three minutes before adding the essential oil and zinc. Test out the consistency by letting it cool completely, if it’s too hard you can add more coconut oil by re-melting, then adding the zinc and essential oil. Just depends on the consistency you desire.

Tip:  Adding additional zinc oxide will increase the SPF factor. Other great essential oils for sunscreen Lavender and Sandalwood, but it’s important not to substitute the Helichrysum.

Pour into a pint-sized tin or mason jar and store in a cool place (like a refrigerator). Use within six months.

*You can purchase most all these ingredients online or at your health food store

With all the hype about detoxes and cleanses circulating today, it can be overwhelming to know how to actually detox the right way.

Ayurveda considers this build-up of toxins to be the underlying cause of all disease. So how do you minimize the toxins that come into your life, and maximize the toxins that go out?

Toxins enter our worlds by what we eat, drink, breathe in, and process in any way. Here are 10 ways to reduce the toxins in your every day to help you restore optimal health and balance.

Stay hydrated: Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of clean, not-too-cold water every day is one of the best things you can do to detox and purify your body in a natural way. Good thing, because it’s also the easiest trick.

Eat clean: Try to stick to organic, pesticide-free foods, and eliminate antibiotics and hormones from your diet.

Meditate: Find time for stillness in your day to cleanse your mind and improve your ability to handle stress.

Move your body: Getting regular exercise is an important step to staying healthy and strong. Whether you enjoy light exercise like yoga or walking, or like to get your heart pumping by running or dancing, build an exercise routine that you’re excited about to make sure you keep it consistent.

Supplement with Detoxifying Herbs: Eating a balanced diet rich with fruits and vegetables is important, but taking it a step further may be your next step. Try adding Ayurvedic herbs to assist with the detoxification process, like Purify, the seven-day total Ayurvedic cleanse system, a supplement we offer that’s made of Ayurvedic herbs and botanicals to eliminate toxic build-up and leave you feeling energized and strong.

Add heat: Break a sweat and hit the sauna or steam room … sweating is a great way build heat and eliminate toxins from your body.

Avoid processed foods, caffeine and alcohol: Try to stay away from ingredients you can’t pronounce, white flour and sugar, caffeine, and alcohol to assist your body’s capacity to process toxins.

Quit a bad habit: Are you a smoker? Pack rat? Chronically sleep deprived? In a bad relationship? Toxins come into our lives in many forms. Consider if you’re participating in any unhealthy patterns or holding onto anything that no longer serves you, and find a way to limit those things in your life.

Regulate and eliminate: Healthy digestive function is important to keep your body eliminating the toxins you build up in the body. If you find you’re “stuck in an elimination rut” and not balanced or eliminating naturally, address those concerns with a health care provider.

Join Denise for a Perfect Health Workshop. Check out the Schedule of Events for details on upcoming workshops.


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