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What is Budwig's diet?

The Budwig diet was created in the 1950s by Johanna Budwig, a German scientist. Flaxseed oil and cottage cheese, as well as vegetables, fruits, and liquids, are included in the diet regularly. Processed foods, meats, the majority of dairy products, and sugar are all forbidden. Budwig felt that combining cottage cheese with flaxseed oil, a polyunsaturated fatty acid-rich diet, would increase cellular function.

Cottage cheese and flaxseed oil were recommended by Dr. Budwig. She believed it increased the availability of omega-3 fatty acids to bodily cells. She also felt that the oil may slow the progression of cancer. Flaxseed is high in omega-3, a healthy lipid that may help to lower levels of certain chemicals linked to cancer. It also includes phytoestrogens and lignans, which may have anti-cancer properties.

Foods to eat

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A staple of the diet is the "Budwig combination," which consists of flaxseed oil, cottage cheese, and honey.

Cottage cheese can be substituted with other dairy products such as yoghurt or quark (a strained, curdled dairy product), but flaxseed oil is required in this diet.

The Budwig Diet recommends the following foods:

Fruits: oranges, bananas, berries, kiwis, mango, peaches, plums and apples

Vegetables: cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kale, spinach and broccoli

Legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, and peas

Fruit juices: grapefruit, pineapple, grape and apple

Nuts and seeds: walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and almonds

Dairy products: yoghurt, cottage cheese, goat's milk, and raw cow's milk

Oils: flaxseed and olive oil

Beverages: green tea, herbal tea and water

Dr. Budwig also suggested spending 20 minutes a day outside to:

  • Improve sun exposure and vitamin D levels
  • Assist regulate blood pressure
  • Control cholesterol and pH levels in the body

Foods to avoid

The Budwig Diet forbids processed foods, added sugars (save honey), refined grains, and hydrogenated fats.

Pork, shellfish, and processed meats are prohibited, even though many varieties of meat, fish, chicken, and free-range eggs are permitted in limited amounts.

Foods to avoid according to Budwig Diet

On the Budwig Diet, the following foods should be avoided:

Meats and seafood: pork and shellfish

Processed meats: bacon, bologna, salami, and hot dogs

Sugars: table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, agave, and corn syrup

Refined grains: pasta, white bread, crackers, chips, and white rice

Fats and oils: margarine, butter, and hydrogenated vegetable oil

Processed foods: cookies, convenience dinners, baked goods, french fries, pretzels, and sweets

Soy products: tofu, tempeh, soy milk, edamame, and soybeans

Why do cancer patients follow a Budwig diet?

The Budwig diet is used by cancer patients because flax seed provides omega 3. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to have some effect on cancer cells in studies. The omega-3 fatty acid lowers the amounts of some compounds linked to cancer.

Lignans and phytoestrogens are other compounds found in flax seeds. They have anti-cancer and hormone-regulating properties.

However, experts are currently looking into it. There is insufficient data to suggest that this diet can help humans avoid or cure cancer.

Mechanism of Action

Dr. Budwig created the diet based on the theory that cancer is caused by a reduction in oxygen absorption by cell membranes in the absence of omega-3 fatty acids such as linolenic acid. While malignant cells undergo metabolic alterations such as enhanced aerobic glycolysis and fatty acid production, the function of omega-3 fatty acids in cancer aetiology and therapy is yet unknown. Proinflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) alpha and Interleukin-1 beta have been demonstrated to be reduced by polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil. Antineoplastic effects were also proven by omega-3 fatty acids, which increased intracellular reactive oxygen species while reducing protumorigenic prostaglandins. Supplementing with flax oil raised the amount of total phospholipid fatty acids in erythrocytes, although the implications of this discovery in cancer treatment are uncertain. By downregulating growth factors and boosting p53 expression, flaxseed supplements also reduced the proliferation of human prostate cancer and breast cancer in vitro. Furthermore, lignans, phytoestrogens found in whole flaxseed, may have anticancer characteristics as well as hormonal impacts.

Budwig thought that mixing cottage cheese with flaxseed oil increased the availability of vital fatty acids across the plasma membrane, resulting in enhanced aerobic cellular respiration. Cottage cheese consumption has not been examined for its influence on omega-3 fatty acids bioavailability. The Budwig diet forbids processed fats, saturated fats, animal fats, processed foods, and sugar because they are considered to interfere with oxygen absorption and cellular respiration. People who eat lacto-vegetarian diets have a reduced risk of gastrointestinal cancer than non-vegetarians, according to epidemiological research, however, these studies suggest association rather than causality.

Side Effects


This may cause the following adverse effects:

  • Frequent bowel motions
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Wind
  • Indigestion


A few allergic responses have also been reported. A high dosage of flaxseed combined with insufficient water might result in intestinal obstructions (obstruction).

Some medications may interact with flaxseed. It can prevent some medicines from being absorbed. If you take them with flaxseeds, that is.

A healthy diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables. However, limiting your food may not be the best option for you. If you skip specific food categories, you may not obtain enough nutrients for your body to function properly. You could also be able to shed some pounds.

If you have cancer, you may already be weak and underweight. To deal with sickness and therapy, you'll need to consume more calories than normal. Before attempting any diet, see a nutritionist. Do so, especially if you've lost weight since your cancer diagnosis or if you're having trouble eating a regular diet.

Sun exposure

Melanoma and other skin cancers are more likely if you spend a lot of time in the sun. Wear the proper safety equipment.


The Budwig diet, which was created in the 1950s by Dr. Johanna Budwig, is an untested cancer therapy that includes several daily doses of flaxseed oil and cottage cheese, as well as vegetables, fruits, and juices. Sugar, animal fats, seafood, processed meals, soy, and most dairy items are prohibited; regular sunbathing is encouraged; and coffee enemas are frequently used.

Budwig thought that a combination of flax oil and cottage cheese would increase cellular function and that cancer was caused by a deficiency of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Clinical studies have not been published in any peer-reviewed medical publication, even though she produced books and articles to give anecdotal evidence and biochemical processes of the diet. Although polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in flaxseeds, such as omega-3, have been proven to have anticancer properties, there is no evidence that such a diet is beneficial in preventing or treating cancer in humans.

While a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits might be good for your overall health, restrictive diets can put you at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Sunburn and skin cancer can occur as a result of excessive sun exposure.

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