Holistic medicine and diet have long been considered to be cures for an array of ailments, from athlete’s foot to heart disease. But molecular medicine professor Michael Wargovich of UT San Antonio wanted to see if eating only truly natural foods could actually help mankind’s fight in the battle against Cancer.
Wargovich and his team at the University of Texas are currently studying the ability of green tea – often claimed to help prevent cancer – to actually do as it claims. He isn’t interested in wives tales, anecdotes, or folksy wisdom. He wants to find out if that wisdom is accurate — or just talk.
They’ll soon begin research on the Indian neem tree next, a popular ingredient in toothpaste.
Wargovich and his Cancer-Conscious group of researchers were inspired by reports made by the World Health Organization that said global cancer hotspots would be moving south as the population swells and more people start living a Western, industrialized lifestyle.
“The things that we’ve found are protecting us against cancer are disappearing as everybody tries to be homogenized and Western and going to fast-food places,” he said.
His point is well taken. Developed, westernized and industrialized nations hold all of the top rankings for cancer risk according to World Cancer Research Fund International. They also found that risk for cancer was 1.7 times higher in industrialized vs. non-industrialized nations.
The belief of Wargovich and his UT San Antonio associates is that diet plays a large role in the incidents of cancer among industrialized societies. As such he is using a two-pronged methodology:
- Discover why it is that certain items help preventing cancer so that a healthy, cancer-preventative diet can be developed.
- Devise alternative methods of preventing cancer that avoid pharmaceutical intervention.
Wargovich used the comparison between cancer and a car that has lost its brakes:
“It doesn’t only break the brakes, it breaks the cables. It breaks the steering wheel. Anything that can put a regulation on a tumor cell is broken by a tumor cell,” he said. “Some of these natural products put the brakes back on.”