Dr Chetan Deshmukh

Superfoods like lemon and garlic can prevent cancer.

Written by  Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00

The title mentions lemon and garlic but  a lot of people swear by the greatness of Asparagus, gooseberry (amla), green chillies, apples, papaya, strawberries, groundnuts, almonds, figs, broccoli, spinach, fenugreek (methi) tulsi, lemon-grass, dark-chocolate, guavas, pomengranates, ginger, spring onions, mackerels, fish-oil, salmon, cottage cheese, flax-seed, turmeric…………..the list is endless.

So what do these ‘superfoods’ do anyway?

Our body is a complex machine which generates several chemicals as a by-product of various reactions. Some of these chemicals can be potentially toxic and can harm the body in many ways. Some of the abovementioned foods contain chemicals which can neutralize these toxins.

Repairing or replacing cells which have been damaged or worn out is an important function of the body. Some chemicals, like vitamins and other micronutrients are required as building blocks for this function. The `superfoods’ are rich sources of such vitamins and other micronutrients and thus play a vital role in smooth functioning of the body tissues.    

When a cell goes `bad’ (read cancerous), it happens in a series of complicated genetic steps. The final step is acquiring a genetic mutation, which is a stable change in the genetic material. This changed genetic material then brings about abnormal cell production, tendency to spread and replicate endlessly. The penultimate step before acquiring a mutation is called an epigenetic event, a chemical change which leads to a mutation. Some of the abovementioned superfoods have shown the potential to stop this epigenetic event- in a laboratory setting!

No one denies the importance of these superfoods- they all have good properties. It has been shown that consuming these foods regularly is healthy but their role is more in health than in disease. In other words, these foods are more effective in preventing illnesses, not fighting them. In a case of established cancer, consuming one or all of these foods is unlikely to bring about a reduction in the burden of cancer. These foods will certainly help providing essential vitamins and minerals but they cannot be used to treat established cancer. These foods, at best, may be used to complement standard treatments for cancer, not to replace standard treatments.

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Read 4697 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 12:08
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Dr Chetan Deshmukh Consulting at



1. Deshmukh Clinic & Research Center,
2. Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital,
3. Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, Maharashtra, India.


Kolhapur Cancer Center, Gokul-Shirgaon MIDC, Kolhapur-Kagal Road, Kolhapur. Maharashtra, India.


Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Near Gulabrao Patil Medical College, Miraj, Maharashtra, India.