Lung Cancer and Broccoli, what do they have in common?

Lung cancer is diagnosed 2226 times each year in New Zealand. Lung cancer kills 1628 men and woman in New Zealand each year and this figure is rising. It is one of the most preventable cancers because according to the American lung cancer Association, smoking tobacco contributes to up to 90% of all lung cancer deaths. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely and woman thirteen times more likely to develop lung cancer than non smokers. And smokers aren’t just harming themselves; hundreds of deaths each year are attributed to second hand smoke. Non smokers have a 20-30 percent higher risk of developing lung cancer if they are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke.

If despite all the evidence and warnings, you’re currently a smoker, the most important step you can take is to stop. The benefits to quitting are immediate. According to the American cancer society, just 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure drops. Within a few weeks, your blood circulation and lung function improve, within a few months; the sweeper cells that help clean the lungs, remove mucus and reduce the risk of infection start to regrow. And within a year of quitting, your smoking related risk of coronary heart disease becomes half that of current smokers. And simple dietary changes may help to roll back the damage wrought by carcinogens in tobacco smoke.

It’s important to understand the toxic effects of cigarettes on the lungs.  Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that weakens the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to disease and handicapping its ability to destroy cancer cells. At the same time, tobacco smoke can damage cell DNA, increasing the chance for cancer to form and flourish in the first place.

To test the power of dietary interventions to prevent DNA damage, scientists often study chronic smokers. Researchers rounded up a group of long time smokers and ask them to consume twenty five times more Broccoli than the average American-in other words, a single stalk a day. Compared to Broccoli avoiding smokers, the broccoli-eating smokers suffered 41 percent fewer DNA mutations in their blood stream over ten days. Is that just because the Broccoli boosted the activity of the detoxifying enzymes in their livers, which help clear carcinogens before they even made it to the smokers cells? No, even when DNA was extracted from the subjects bodies and exposed to a known DNA-damaging chemical, the genetic material  from the broccoli eaters showed significant less damage, suggesting eating vegetables like broccoli may make you more resilient at a sub cellular level.

There are many studies concluding eating broccoli has an anticancer effect in on cancer cells.

Please go ahead eat as much broccoli as you can and “Love the food that loves you back”

References:NZ cancer registry, US dept of health and Human services. How tobacco smoke causes disease. Riso P, Martini D, Moller P, et al, DNA repair activity after broccoli intake in young healthy smokers. Mutagenisis. How not to die,  Michael Gregar 2015

If you want to try and stop smoking please visit Or phone 0800 778 778

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Feta

Broccoli is in season throughout the whole year.


Serves: 8

  • 1 head small cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 185 pitted black olives
  • 220g fetta cheese, crumbled
  • Italian salad dressing, to taste


Preparation: 15min › Ready in; 15min

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, olives and feta. Add enough dressing to coat, toss and refrigerate overnight.
Cancer fighting ingredients in this recipe

Cauliflower: Cauliflower has been shown to have chemo-preventive agents that stall early phases of cancer development to help shut off tumour growth. Studies have demonstrated that cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower can effectively inhibit the development of chemically induced carcinogenesis, acting as an anti-mutagen that halts tumour cells from further reproducing.

Tomato:  As an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.  According to the American Cancer Society, some studies have shown that people who have diets rich in tomatoes may have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, especially cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach.

Olives: The phenolic compounds in olives have shown anti-tumour capabilities particularly in the breast, colon and stomach. There is promising evidence that olives are some of the best cancer-fighting foods around. Olives are a high-antioxidant food that mainly provide polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have proven anticancer, anti-diabetic, anti-aging and neuro-protective effects.

Feta cheese:  contains good amounts of Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) research suggest CLA improves body composition and helps prevent diabetes and cancer. It also provides helpful probiotics for a healthy gut and immunity booster

Reference: Authority Nutrition, Organic facts,, R Katz, Dr William Li, Medical newstoday, Natural news, Nutritional facts, life with greens, Dr Kirsten Brandt-University of New Castle UK, Greenmed info,Dr Axe, Medical news today, Sanford focus, American institute of cancer research

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