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Protection from Colon Cancer

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

Your Diet and Breast Cancer – What’s your risk??

Sesame Kale

Your Diet and Breast Cancer – eat to improve your recovery, prevent a relapse, protect from illness

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we focus in October on the second-most common cancer among women in the United States. In 2015 alone, an estimated 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed, and 50,000 U.S. women are expected to die from the disease. However, in the same year more than 2.5 million will survive due to improved treatment outcomes.

Factors that affect cancer risk

While there are many factors that influence your chance of getting cancer, scientists believe nutrition has a major impact. Over 30 years ago, the National Research Council published a report called Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer, showing the evidence then available linking specific dietary factors to cancer of the breast and other organs. Research since then has only confirmed the strong connection between diet, cancer and survival outcomes.

Breast Cancer by Geography

For instance, in Asian countries such as Japan, we see low rates of breast cancer, while Western countries have cancer rates that are many times higher. The protective difference is thought to be the traditional Japanese diet, which is low in fat and primarily plant-based. By comparison, the standard American diet is centered on animal products, leading Americans to overeat fat and under consume other important nutrients. Diets that are low in animal fat but high in fiber, carbohydrates and vitamin A seem to help cancer prognosis. For reasons that are not entirely clear, vegetables and fruits, and the vitamins they contain, help keep the cells of the body in better working order. Vegetables and fruits are not only important to help to prevent cancer, but also to improve outcomes following treatment.

Foods that Prevent Cancer

While no one food can prevent or cure cancer, the combination of foods you choose to eat seems to make a difference. Experts recommend a predominantly plant-based diet including a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. A plant-based diet means eating mostly foods that come from plants: vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and beans. Plant-based foods are cancer-fighting powerhouses because they have less fat, more fiber and more cancer-fighting nutrients. These three elements work together in a synergistic way, supporting your immune system and helping your body fight off and recover from cancer.

Shifting to a more plant-based diet is simple!

Choose unprocessed foods, close to their original form. For a visual reminder, think of filling a plate at least two-thirds full of whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit.

Use these tips to enjoy more plant-based foods:

  • Breakfast: Add fruit and a few seeds or nuts to whole grain breakfast cereal  such as oatmeal.
  • Lunch: Eat a big salad filled with beans, peas and combinations of veggies. Pile extra lettuce and tomato (plus any other veggies you can!) on sandwiches. Choose whole grain bread. Enjoy a side of veggies: Suggestions include carrots, sauerkraut and cherry tomatoes.
  • Snacks: Choose fresh fruit and vegetables. Grab an apple or banana for snacking. Raw veggies such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, jicama and peppers are excellent with a dip such as hummus. Make trail mix with nuts, seeds and a little dried fruit, and eat in modest amounts (suggested serving ¼ cup).
  • Dinner: Add fresh or frozen veggies to pasta sauce or rice dishes.  Or top a baked potato with broccoli and low-fat yogurt, sautéed veggies or salsa. Replace creamy pasta sauces with sautéed vegetables or tomato sauce made with healthy olive oil.
  • Dessert: Choose fresh fruit topped with Greek yogurt drizzled with maple syrup. A single square of dark chocolate is a healthy indulgence!

Enjoy this easy recipe featuring cancer-fighting dark green leafy kale, which is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus, you’ll get added flavor from garlic, sea vegetables and sesame oil, which also are powerful cancer preventers. Enjoy this recipe hot or chilled.

Sesame Kale

1 large bunch kale
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted organic sesame seeds
1/8 cup dried sea vegetables (optional)

Prepare sea vegetables per package directions. Mince garlic. Wash kale, strip the leaves from the spines and tear into bite-size pieces. Heat sesame oil to medium; add garlic and sauté until lightly browned.  Add kale, sea vegetables, water and soy sauce and cook until kale is just wilted, approximately 2 minutes. Be sure not to overcook. Add sesame seeds and serve.

Nutrition information: Calories per serving (1 cup): 181; Total Fat 12.6g; Sodium 311 mg; Total Carbohydrates 14.8 g; Protein 5.0 g; Dietary Fiber 2.9 g; Sugars 2.2 g; provides 181% daily RDA for Vitamin A; 24% Calcium.

Eating real food matters

Springtime has come to the desert!  As I travel around the Sonoran Desert Preserve, I see the signs of spring everywhere.  Even in the barren desert, spring brings life and new beginnings to my surroundings.  I am reminded of the restorative power of nature, and the ways that all living things go through periods of dormancy, and new life.  It’s never too late to create the life you want – look to the desert for inspiration!

The Desert is Blooming!

The Desert is Blooming!

Have you thought about the impact that eating and drinking “non foods” has on your body?  Have you thought about the difference between real food and food like substances?  It can be helpful as you work towards a fuller relationship with food and your body to think about how real food impacts your life, and how non foods interfere with your body’s natural workings.

There are three types of food like substances – processed, junk, and fake foods.  Processed food is made from real food that has been put through chemical processes and is filled with chemicals and preservatives.  Some examples of processed food include beef jerky, canned tea, jam, hot dogs, and low or non fat yogurt with sugar or sucralose.

Are Omega-3s Good or Bad?

 

Whole Foods, Mostly Plants

Eat a wide variety of whole foods, mostly plants, to protect and promote health

Who said this?  “Based on the available data, even though there may be no clear cardiovascular benefit from prescribing omega-3 supplements, aside from helping to reduce triglyceride cholesterol levels, I still say it’s very important for my patients to have a plant-based diet with omega-3 rich fatty fish as part of a heart-healthy Mediterranean-like dietary strategy which holds benefits probably above and beyond individual omega-3 pill supplements.”

David Friedman, MD, chief of heart failure services at North Shore-Long Island Jewish’s Plainview Hospital in New York

In conversations with family and friends, we discuss conflicting information published regularly about nutrition and diet.  Some family members think that it is difficult, if not impossible, to figure out what to eat. One day, information claims Omega 3s are essential – and consumers are encouraged to buy Fish Oil and other dietary supplements.  Other times, like yesterday’s news about the lack of scientific evidence for Omega 3s in supplement form, some feel compelled to flush supplements down the drain.

Have IBS? Eat for Digestive Health

IBS affects 1 in 7 Americans

IBS affects as many as 50 million Americans – a very common disorder

Between 10 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population is affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yet the cause of the common digestive disorder is unknown. Lifestyle-related stressors, poor diet and overeating often exacerbate symptoms, but the opposite also is true: Adopting a whole foods-based, happy belly diet filled with foods that promote digestive comfort is a delicious prescription for digestive ease.

IBS is considered a “functional disorder,” because it refers to a set of symptoms rather than a specific disease. It often causes significant discomfort, though it is not considered a serious health threat. IBS is not related to inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Typical symptoms include abdominal bloating and soreness, gas and alternating diarrhea and constipation.