"People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food."
In the United States the top two consistent, leading causes of death every year are cardiovascular disease and cancer. Contrary to popular understanding, these conditions in all of their manifestations, are most often linked (85-90% of the time) to patterns and choices in our lifestyle. From lack of exercise, to the standard American diet, to smoking, to environmental toxin exposure, to poor coping mechanisms in navigating stress and trauma, these chronic conditions develop predictably as a result of factors largely within our control.
While genetic factors can make someone more susceptible to developing these chronic health conditions, the field of epigenetics has shed light on the fact that genes can be turned on and off in response to methylation patterns. Consuming a diet rich in the methylation adaptogens that promote balance--such as the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, and radishes) can dramatically influence whether or not cancer promoter and cancer suppressor genes are switched on or off. Furthermore, plants being loaded with anti-oxidants routinely mop-up cellular damage and decrease inflammation. Cellular damage is well known to increase the risk of DNA changes which can in turn lead to an increased risk of cancer development.
Thus, the diet central to reducing one's risk of all forms of cancer is a whole food plant based diet--where a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains dominate the plate. And if the cancer-prevention piece alone were not enough, the only diet in the world that has been shown to consistently treat and reverse Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular and Coronary Artery disease and the arising sequelae from these conditions is also a Whole Food Plant Based diet.
Therefore, when it comes to health, the single greatest thing any of us can do for ourselves is to conscientiously manage what we eat every day and 90% of the time to focus on plants while minimizing the highly processed foods, white sugars, saturated fats, and enriched flours. We would do well to lean in to the words of Hippocrates, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food."