International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Congress Logo 33rd World Vegetarian Congress
Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 4 - 10, 1999
'Vegetarianism is the Way'
an unforgettable visual, cultural and gastronomic experience

Dr. Nithat Sirichotrat

Vegetarian Food, the way to Prevent Cancer - on Friday january 8th 1999

I left Thailand in 1977, to pursue my education in the United States. I graduated with my Bachelor degree in 1980. In 1981 I worked full time as a laboratory assistant at the clinical laboratory of Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC). From 1982-1986, I was working part time at LLUMC and pursing my Master degree in Public Health part time.

After earning my M.P.H degree, I studied medicine at Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, from 1987 - 1990, before switching to Dr. P.H program in Preventive Care I did my internship at Kaiser Permanente (Fontana) Hospital, Tobacco Use Reduction Now program of San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Center for Health Research of Loma Linda University, and Center for Health Promotion of Loma Linda University.

In 1992, I came to Bangkok for 3 months, to collect data at the National Cancer Institute, for my doctoral dissertation Besides collecting data, I was invited to participate in several meetings of the National Committee on Control of Tobacco Use at the Ministry of Public Health.

My interest is to educate people about diet, exercis, tobacco & health, and stress management. Chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, osteoperosis, and cardiovascular diseases, can be prevented through lifestyle management. The trend for these chronic diseases are on the rise in the Thai population, which is one of the reasons for me to return and work in Thailand.

As a Seventh-day Adventist, I was invited to come and work for the Mission Health Promotion Center (MHPC), which is owned and operated by Bangkok Adventist Hospital. As a non-profit organization, Bangkok Adventist Hospital is well known for the last 2-3 decades of its Health Education programs, such as the 5-day plan to stop smoking. By working with the staff at MHPC, I hope to continue and strengthening, the tradition of Bangkok Adventist Hospital to assist and educate the people of Thailand, to have good health and prevent diseases.

DIET AND CANCER

In 1991, a research study at University of Southern California reported that over 90% of all cancers in the U.S. were preventable. The study indicated that one-third of all cancers in the U.S. caused by cigarette smoking. In Scientific American special issue on cancers, September 1996, reported that major causes for two-third of all cancers in America were cigarette smoking and diet.

Saturated fat and red meat has direct correlation with many cancers such as colon and prostate cancers. Anti-oxidants in fruits and vegetables are believed to have potentials to prevent cancers because they neutralize free radicals from causing cancer. Many fruits and vegetables have natural elements which prevent several cancers from growing and spreading. Lee W. Wattenberg from University of Minnesota was a pioneer in phytochemicals research, including other vitamins such as A, C, and E, and other natural components of plant-based food, which have the ability to prevent cancer.

Dithiolthiones is a natural chemical found in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, which helps in prevention of cancers in lung, colon, and bladder. From animal experiments, sulforaphane is another chemical found in broccoli, which may prevent cancer by increasing a certain enzyme production by liver. This enzyme then neutralize harmful products of oxidation. Genistein is another chemical found in soybeans, which prevents cancers by several methods. One way is by keeping tiny tumors from getting connected to capillaries which carry oxygen and nutrients. Without these, the tumor can not grow or metastasize.

Since 1985, National Cancer Institute of the U.S. has two major on going projects regarding beta carotene, which is a chemical found in carrot. These two projects concluded that beta carotene has the ability to prevent lung cancer. Garlic has allylic sulfide, which prevents stomach cancer. From comparative study between two population of Chinese in Shandong province, the population in Cangshan commune had 13 times less incidence of stomach cancer than the population in Qixia commune. This may be due to the people in Cangshan commune on the average consume about 20 grams of garlic per day, while the people in Qixia commune seldom take garlic. Those who eat garlic have lower concentration of nitrites in gastric juice, which means garlic prevents nitrites production. Nitrites is the major cause for stomach cancer.

National Cancer Institute in U.S., in cooperation with the Chinese had a research project on onions and garlic. The research indicated that those who consumed garlic and onions would have less chance of stomach cancer compared to those who did not. Benjamin Lau, MD, PhD, from Loma Linda University, California, conducted a research on garlic. The research indicates that garlic decreases incidence of bladder cancer, because garlic has the ability to strengthen the immune system, which kills or getting rid of cancers from the body.