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Protection from Colon Cancer

About Lisa Schmidt

Lisa Schmidt is an expert in the sciences of nutrition and behavioral health change. As a nutritional therapist, she specializes in weight loss, healthy weight promotion, and disordered eating. Other therapeutic specializations include grief, loss, anxiety, depression and couples counseling. She is on the faculty of Arizona State University's School of Social Work, teaching courses on Mindful Eating, Sustainability, and Stress Management.

Kale - The Best Health Food!

Kale: cancer fighting, filled with antioxidants, helps you heal

March is Colon Cancer Awareness & Prevention Month, dedicated to helping people of all ages learn about their risks and how to improve the odds in favor of a cancer-free life.

According to the National Cancer Institute, for the great majority of people, the major factor that increases a person’s risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing age. Risk increases dramatically after age 50 years; 90% of all CRCs are diagnosed after this age. Incidence and mortality rates are higher in African Americans compared with other races. The history of CRC in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk. A personal history of CRC, high-risk adenomas, or ovarian cancer also increases the risk. Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease, have a much higher risk of CRC starting about 8 years after disease onset and are recommended to have frequent colonoscopic surveillance.  A small percentage (<5%) of CRCs occur in people with a genetic predisposition, including familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis coli.

Increased risk factors include obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, limited physical activity, and a diet high in saturated fats and low in fiber.  Not all fats should be avoided, and the “essential” unsaturated fatty acids known as omega-3 and omega-6 appear to be helpful in ensuring optimal health.  It is relatively easy with our modern diets high in processed foods to get plenty of omega-6 fatty acids, which are abundant in seeds and nuts, and the oils extracted from them. Refined vegetable oils, such as soy oil, are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers and sweets in the North American diet as well as in fast food. Soybean oil alone is now so common in fast foods and processed foods that an astounding 20 percent of the calories in the American diet are estimated to come from this single source.

Optimal health comes from balancing your consumption of essential fatty acids by minimizing processed food consumption and increasing your consumption of foods high in omega-3 found in oily fish or fish oil supplements, walnuts, flax seeds and omega-3 fortified eggs. Combine balancing omega-3 and omega-6 with decreasing your intake of saturated fats from red meat and dairy products and you have a nutrition prescription for optimal health!

There is evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk for colon cancer.  In one large study, men who ate at least 10 servings a week of tomato-based foods reduced their risk for the disease by 45 percent, with experts suspecting that the protective agent is lycopene, a carotenoid and antioxidant found mostly in tomatoes and tomato products. Men following this type of eating plan, known as the Southern Mediterranean diet, eat high amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, olive oil and fish.

A second diet known to be associated with longevity and reduced risks for cancer is the traditional Japanese diet, which is high in green tea, soy, vegetables and fish, and low in calories and fat.  Both of these diets are low in red meat. Incorporating powerful anticancer nutrients found in colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds are recommendations that make sense for both good health, and great taste.

The Green Goddess Breakfast Drink
Start your day with this nutrition-packed green drink that is easy to prepare, delicious and filled with cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds to increase your omega-3 intake at breakfast. This green drink also is great later in the day as a snack.  Enjoy!

Serves 1 to 3
1 ripe banana, peeled and broken into pieces
1 medium apple, cored and cut into chunks
1 ripe pear, cored and cut into chunks
1 lemon, juiced
2 to 3 cups water (I use 2 cups)
3 to 4 lettuce or spinach leaves, rinsed
3 to 4 kale leaves, rinsed and torn
1/4-cup fresh parsley leaves
2 to 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
Remove the tough stems from the kale and break the kale into pieces.  Place the banana pieces, apple chunks, pear chunks, lemon juice and water into a blender.  Blend on high, stopping as needed to push the fruit down.

Then add the lettuce leaves, kale pieces, parsley, and mint leaves; blend again until very smooth.  Add more water if needed and blend until completely smooth and brilliant green.

Nutrition information: Calories (per serving) 158; Total Fat 1.1 g; Sodium 26.3 g; Potassium 626.9 mg; Total Carbohydrates 39.5 g; Protein 2.3 g; Dietary Fiber 6.4 g; Sugars 7.8 g

4 thoughts on “Protection from Colon Cancer

  1. I LOVE the Green Goddess drink! I know this might sound bad, but I make it without the kale, since I can’t use as much as I get when I buy it and not a big kale fan. But, even without, and with extra spinach, the drink is awesome

    • Hi Lori! That is a great adaptation to use more spinach, less kale. You might try just using one small kale leaf – remember to strip off the “backbone” of the leaf. Also nice and milder is swiss chard – use the same way. Happy drinking and be well!

    • Lori

      Hi Lori! That is a great adaptation to use more spinach, less kale. You might try just using one small kale leaf – remember to strip off the “backbone” of the leaf. Also nice and milder is swiss chard – use the same way. Happy drinking and be well!

    • LisaSchmidt

      Hi Lori! That is a great adaptation to use more spinach, less kale. You might try just using one small kale leaf – remember to strip off the “backbone” of the leaf. Also nice and milder is swiss chard – use the same way. Happy drinking and be well!

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