Inspired Nutrition – Jenny Phillips

Jenny speaks such sense……..

”Can diet play a role in cancer prevention & recovery?

Bodies are not like cars, we don’t run on spare parts, rather everything we require is miraculously made from the foods we eat and the air that we breathe. So how can food choices not play an active role in any health related condition? What you eat can either promote health or take it away… junk food deprives you of nutrients, real food gives them in abundance.

The medical world is just starting to wake up to the power of nutrition as an adjunct to orthodox treatment.

I see first hand every day the impact that a NUTRITIOUS diet has on health, wellbeing and recovery. Supplements may also play a role, and a skilled practitioner will assess your own individual nutrient status either by case history or using laboratory testing. Whilst there is an abundance of nutrition advice on the internet, by working with someone with both experience and rigorous training, you will optimise the benefit and ensure that your supplement regime is appropriate alongside your medication.

So what about cancer?

The focus of medical attention will be on arresting, shrinking and removing your cancer. It treats cancer as an invader and seeks its destruction. Time is of the essence because any spread to other organs is far more difficult to deal with. A nutritional approach can and does work alongside this treatment by:

– Supporting your immune system

– Facilitating detoxification

– Stack the odds in favour of healthy cells and against cancer cells

– Correct any underlying functional imbalance

Your immune system

Think of your immune system as your very own army, on surveillance 24/7 to protect you by effectively dealing with bacteria, viruses and other unwelcome visitors. The strength of an immune system is why one person may succumb to an infection whilst another in the same household, exposed to the same germs, will not be affected. At each round of chemotherapy your white blood cells, which comprise a large part of your immune army, will be tested to ensure sufficient recovery before the next round of treatment.

Facilitating detoxification

Toxic compounds result from the body’s own biochemical processes (rather like the exhaust of a car), from the breakdown products of medications, or can be ingested or absorbed through the skin. The liver is the primary organ to breaks down toxic compounds into less harmful forms, which are excreted via the bile and eliminated during a bowel movement. These use a number of enzymes known collectively as cytochrome P450 that facilitate a 2 step process to convert fat soluble toxins into nontoxic water soluble compounds. An imbalance on either side of the process can be harmful.

If the level of phase 1 detoxification exceeds the capacity of phase 2 there can be a build up of toxic intermediaries that can cause tissue damage and inflammation. Substances which speed up phase 1 include alcohol, nicotine, char grilled meats, iron deficiency and a high protein diet. High levels of antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E, coenzyme Q10, selenium) assist with neutralising excessive levels of free radicals.

Where phase 1 is too slow there can insufficient removal not just of toxins but also hormones and histamine which are also broken down by the P450 enzymes, and can contribute to increased levels of inflammation. Nutrient deficiencies including amino acids (from proteins) or diets high in carbs slow phase 1, whereas some natural compounds can stimulate it. These include quercetin (from onions), resveratrol (red grape skins), garlic and green tea.

Phase 2 is also important and this involves conjugating (joining) a molecule to the now water soluble intermediary to enable excretion via the bile. Glutathione is an amino acid and powerful antioxidant involved in phase 2. It is derived from protein in the diet and specifically cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower etc) are an excellent source. B vitamins (particularly B12, B6 and folic acid) are also essential. High homocysteine levels (measured in blood or via urine) can indicate a lack of these vital nutrients. Sulphur from eggs, onions and garlic provide the raw materials for the sulphation pathway.

Having a well functioning detoxification system is vital to good health and steps to strengthen removal of toxic and inflammatory molecules is essential in health recovery. It is particularly relevant in cancer therapy to assist the removal of medications from your system once they have done their job.

It is however pertinent to abstain from supplements two days either side of chemotherapy.

Sugar and cancer

Current NHS dietary advice is way behind the emerging science so please do not follow recommendations to base your meals on starchy carbohydrates (sugars) or to eat sugary foods to ‘keep your weight up’.

All carbohydrate – whether from chocolate, buns, carrots, apples or toast, for example – break down to glucose (sugar) which is transported in your blood stream (blood sugar) and used by all cells to make energy. Cancer cells LOVE sugar. They have many times more insulin receptors on their cell surfaces to provide them with this ‘energy fix’ (insulin helps glucose to enter the cell). This fact is used to study tumours using MRIs, a recent technique developed by University College London (google MDT sugar cancer to read the article). So regulating your sugar intake is a vital step in your journey of health recovery. The best way to do this is to follow a low Glycaemic Load (GL) eating plan.

Oxygen and cancer

Way back in 1931 Otto Warburg won his first Nobel Prize for his work showing that cancer cells thrive when cellular oxygen levels are low. This is because cancer cells meet their energy needs primarily by fermentation, an anaerobic process, whereas regular cells use aerobic methods.

So… breathe deeply. Meditate. Exercise gently. And reduce inflammation and toxic loads which impair the natural flow of blood, lymph and energy.


Ph is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution – it is measured on a scale of 0 (acid) to 14 (alkaline). The pH of your blood is meticulously managed at 7.35 (where 7 is neutral). However the pH of the intercellular environment is dependent on the balance of molecules contained therein. It is generally regarded that an alkaline diet is beneficial for health.

Alkaline foods will be rich in the alkalising minerals – particularly potassium and magnesium. Acidic foods tend to either be devoid of these nutrients or high in acid forming molecules such as sulphur or nitrogen.

In essence, fruit and vegetables are alkalising; high protein foods (such as meat & dairy), wheat and processed foods tend to be acidic.

Correcting underlying function

One of the ways that nutritional medicine can complement traditional practice is that it seeks to identify and correct areas of underlying imbalance by working in harmony with your body. This helps not only in recovery but is an essential strategy for preventing recurrence. There are a number of excellent functional tests available to assist in establishing contributing factors. These may include:

– Bowel health and elimination

– Liver detoxification capacity

– Nutrient status

– Oxidative stress

– Stress, mood and sleep patterns

– Energy levels etc etc

A skilled practitioner will help you to access testing, will interpret results and liaise with your oncologist as required.”

About Jenny Phillips

Jenny has been working with nutrition for 10 years, since her own recovery from cancer. She brings a fresh and creative approach to healthy eating, focussing on what you can eat, not what you can’t, and disagrees with the whole concept of being on a diet. Instead she promotes food that is fun, fast and fabulous that can be adapted to personal circumstances and budgets.

Jenny has a first Degree in Chemistry, an MBA from Henley Business School and a Degree in Nutritional Medicine from Thames Valley University. She is also a qualified yoga teacher.

In addition to running a busy practice in Buckinghamshire and London, Jenny runs the Real Food Real Fast cookery school with colleague Jeraldine Curran. She specialises in enhancing metabolism through dietary intervention and is equally at home in the kitchen as with liaising with Medical professionals and assessing laboratory results. Her case load includes weight management, energy improvement and working with patients with complex conditions such as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.

©Jenny Phillips CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapist 07904 438411