< Can Healthy Eating Reverse Some Cancers?

< Can Healthy Eating Reverse Some Cancers?

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's the TED Radio Hour from NPR. I'm Guy Raz. On today's show, ideas about where we're headed in the fight against cancer, and we've been hearing about some of the super-advanced research that's revolutionizing our approach to cancer. But what if fighting cancer could be as simple as a healthy breakfast?

DEAN ORNISH: (Laughter).

RAZ: Yeah, what did you have?

ORNISH: I had a bowl of whole-grain cereal with some blueberries and some low-sugar soymilk.

RAZ: So listen up here. Take some notes. This is Dean Ornish. He's a professor of clinical medicine at UC San Francisco. But he's probably best known for the Dean Ornish Program. It's a lifestyle that includes...

ORNISH: A whole foods, plant-based diet, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products, moderate exercise, such as walking half an hour a day, various stress management techniques, yoga and meditation, and social support - really, love and intimacy - or in simple terms, you know, eat well, move more, stress less and love more.

RAZ: And all of these things, he says, could help prevent, maybe even reverse, conditions like heart disease or type 2 diabetes and even slow the progression of some cancers. Now, that idea might not seem new today, but Dean Ornish was one of the very first doctors to actually test it out about 10 years ago.

ORNISH: So we began a study with 93 men who had biopsy-proven prostate cancer and who had elected, for reasons unrelated to our study, not to be treated conventionally.