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Posts tagged ‘Breast Cancer’

6 Thanksgiving Staples That Contain BPA

6 Thanksgiving Staples That Contain BPA

The Breast Cancer Fund tested a number of canned Thanksgiving staples and found some disquieting results:

For half of the products tested, a single 120-gram serving of the food contains enough BPA to show adverse health impacts in lab studies. Have some pumpkin pie after your green bean casserole and gravy, and the amount of BPA delivered to each holiday diner adds up to a concerning chemical dose.

BPA levels in the canned foods we tested were all over the map, even among cans of the same product made by the same company.

What follows are the seven canned Thanksgiving staples that the Breast Cancer Fund tested for BPA and a suggestion for a healthy alternative. The seventh item was not found to have BPA, though the company that makes it said that it does use BPA in the cans.

1. Green Giant Cut Green Beans (by General Mills)

Instead of opening cans of green beans and cream of mushroom soup for a green bean casserole, use fresh green beans or frozen ones.

 

Green Beans

Photo by ccharmon

 

2. Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

Instead of using canned soup (which is also high in sodium), the Breast Cancer Fund suggests making your own mushroom sauce using fresh mushrooms and stock (which can be purchased in Tetra Pak cartons).

 

Mushroom Soup

Photo by noricum

3. Campbell’s Turkey Gravy

Being a vegetarian, I’m not exactly a big consumer of gravy from turkey drippings. Here’s the Breast Cancer Fund‘s suggestion if you feel your meal is not complete without gravy:

Traditional gravy made with pan drippings and flour can be tricky, especially when it comes at the end of meal preparations when everyone is standing around waiting for the gravy to thicken so dinner can start. If you traditionally use canned gravy to avoid this spectacle but want to avoid the BPA, try buying gravy ina cardboard Tetra Pak carton or in a jar.

 

Turkey Gravy
Photo by Cameron Nordholm

 

4. Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn, Cream Style

Here’s the Breast Cancer Fund’s alternative: “Cook frozen corn with some cream, salt, pepper and butter. Add flour or corn starch to thicken.” (But maybe go light on the salt if you’re watching your sodium, and easy with the sour cream and butter if you’re watching your cholesterol and fats.)

Of course, if it were summer, you could use fresh corn and shuck it off the cobs.

 

Boiling/infusing the corn into the cream

Photo by star5112

 

5. Libby’s Pumpkin (by Nestle)

Some stores do carry pumpkin in Tetra Pak cartons. Or you can go all-out and use an actual pumpkin:

Sugar pie pumpkins are readily available at many grocery stores, or you can substitute another type of winter squash, like butternut. Making a pie from scratch takes a little more work, but is worth the effort. And nothing beats the smell of roasting pumpkin in the oven.

 

Just over two cups
Photo by sundaykofax

 

6. Carnation Evaporated Milk (by Nestle)

The Breast Cancer Fund suggests some substitutes:

Instead of evaporated milk, use heavy cream (you may want to add a little less than the recipe calls for since it can be richer and thinner than evaporated milk). Another option is to evaporate the milk yourself. Store-bought evaporated milk is just milk with about 60 percent of the water removed. Simmer milk on the stove until it is reduced by just over half to make your own.

 

Heating up the milk
Photo by amyf

7. Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce

The Breast Cancer Fund did not find BPA in canned cranberry sauce, though Ocean Spray says that it uses BPA in the cans.

Nonetheless, how about making some cranberry sauce with actual fresh cranberries?  I’ve made my own for the past few years and it’s quite easy: you simply boil fresh cranberries in equal parts sugar and water. I like to add some ginger and/or a twist of orange or lemon zest, too. The results are different from the gelatinous version from a can, but still very good.

 

November 21, 2010

Photo by sleepyneko

Leesa recommends choosing only fresh or frozen  organic foods!

Happy and safe eating this Thanksgiving holiday!

By Kristina Chew

Photo by MinimalistPhotography101.com

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
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  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
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Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

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13 Reasons to Love Pomegranates

13 Reasons to Love Pomegranates
One of my favorite fruits, pomegranates offer more than just incredible  taste—they are nutritional and healing powerhouses. Here are 13 reasons to start  eating pomegranates or drinking their juice if you aren’t already:

1.  Anti-aging effects:  Pomegranates contain  plentiful amounts of antioxidants. They rate high on the U.S. Department of  Agriculture’s ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)—a measure of how  well free radicals are absorbed. Pomegranate juice measures 2860 on this  scale.

2.  Kidney protection:  New research published  just days ago in the journal Renal Failure showed that an extract of pomegranate  prevented kidney damage and protected the kidneys against harmful toxins.

3.  Liver protection and regeneration:  More new  research published in the journal Toxicology and Industrial Health showed that  pomegranate juice not only protects the liver, it helps it to regenerate after  it has been damage.

4.  Immune-boosting:  Pomegranates and pomegranate  juice are packed with  immune-boosting vitamin C—an essential and quickly depleted nutrient at this  time of year.

5.  Anti-allergic:  Pomegranates are high in  substances called polyphenols which have been shown to reduce the biochemical  processes that are linked with allergies.

6.  Protects against heart disease:  New research  published in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that pomegranate improves the  body’s ability to synthesize cholesterol and destroy free radicals in the  vascular system.

7.  Prostate-cancer protection:  Research  conducted at the University of California, Riverside, and published in the  journal Translational Oncology indicates that pomegranate  juice and pomegranate extracts caused cancer cell death.

8.  Breast-cancer protection:  Scientists at the  University of California, Riverside, also studied the effects of pomegranate  juice and its nutritional components: luteolin, ellagic acid, and punicic acid  against breast cancer.  They pubished their results in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and concluded  that pomegranate juice and its extracts “are potentially a very effective  treatment to prevent cancer progression…”

9.  Skin-cancer protection:  Consumption of  pomegranate was associated with a decrease in both main types of skin  cancer—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, according to new  research in the British  Journal of Dermatology.

10.  DNA-protection:  The antioxidants and/or  phytonutrients in pomegranates also appear to interact with the body’s genetic material for  protection.

11.  Blood pressure normalizing:  Early research  published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that  pomegranate extract may help prevent blood pressure increases associated with  eating high fat meals.

12.  Metabolic syndrome regulating:  Research  published in the journal Food and Function shows that pomegranate helps  regulate blood sugar, improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, decreases  inflammation, and improves numerous other factors involved in metabolic  syndrome—frequently implicated in obesity and often a precursor to diabetes.  Because of these effects, pomegranate may aid weight loss.

13.  Anti-infectious:  New research published in  the journal Food  and Chemical Toxicology found that an extract of pomegranate increased  the effectiveness of a drug used against gram-negative bacteria.  Many  gram-negative bacteria are known for drug resistance.

How to Enjoy  Pomegranates:

You can eat them fresh on their own for a delicious snack or dessert.

Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on a salad for a beautiful and nutritious  addition.

Drink unsweetened bottled pomegranate juice devoid of preservatives. I  recommend diluting 1 part water to 1 part pomegranate juice to avoid blood sugar  spikes and crashes.

Use a splash of pomegranate juice in salad dressing to jazz up a plate of  greens.

Add some pomegranate juice to your favorite smoothie recipe.

Enjoy pomegranate juice with citrus juices for a delicious citrus  cocktail.

I’d love to hear how you are enjoying pomegranates or pomegranate juice.

(For those you want to conveniently enjoy the benefits of pomegranates, Leesa recommends www.chews4health.com/Leesa!

By Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/13-reasons-to-love-pomegranates.html#ixzz2Emq1WFTA

4 Remedies to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

4 Remedies to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Dense breasts is more than a descriptor of breast mass. It’s a  condition that can have health consequences.

This week, children’s book author Judy Blume announced on her blog that she  recently received a diagnosis of breast cancer after getting a routine  ultrasound, and then underwent a mastectomy. She made a point of saying that her  dense breast tissue had made her cancer impossible to detect through either a  physical exam or mammogram.

Breast density can indeed prevent mammography from highlighting suspicious  markings. The dense tissue literally blocks the view. That’s why an ultrasound  is the better detection option for women who have dense breasts.

Not surprisingly, hormones are a big factor in many breast-related  conditions. Young women have more circulating hormones; therefore, their breast  tissue is typically dense. That’s because breast tissue contains estrogen  receptors, a destination for circulating estrogen. When the liver can’t break  down the body’s excess estrogen, then the risk of estrogen-related breast cancer  increases.

Fat also plays a role in breast density. Because estrogen loves fat,  premenopausal women who are overweight are generally more at risk for breast  cancer because their fat stores are greater than in women of normal weight. And  fat stores in the breast will attract estrogen.

However, even slim premenopausal women who ingest more estrogen than normal  through the environment–or through estrogen-mimickers in products, including  skin care items, cosmetics, and plastic containers–are also at risk for denser  breasts, if their livers are not helping rid the body of these substances.

Postmenopausal women produce only a small amount of hormones through their  adrenals. These hormones are converted, in the fat cells, to estrogen and  progesterone. However, postmenopausal women’s livers, which have often become  more toxic over many years, may not be up to the task of breaking down even the  small amount of circulating estrogen in their systems. Another factor that can  increase breast density is hormone replacement therapy.

The good news is that a woman with dense breasts and too much circulating  estrogen can take action to improve her condition. Here are four potential  remedies and strategies that can help.

1. Eliminate coffee and caffeine. Coffee contains  methylxanthine. Chocolate contains theobromine. Both substances, derived from  xanthine, are stimulants that are associated with creating fibrous tissue in the  breast. By going cold turkey off these two items for several days, a woman can  determine whether her breast tissue is sensitive to either coffee or  chocolate.

2. Go easy on red meat. Unless you buy certified organic  meat, you don’t know what hormone-related feed the animal has ingested. Also,  too much fat congests the liver, which in turn prevents the liver from breaking  down estrogens and other toxins.

3. Try iodine. If a patient has dense breasts, a small daily  amount of iodine–between 150 and 300mcg–from an OTC brand may help. (This iodine  supplement is not the first-aid iodine that one puts on wounds.)

Iodine helps support thyroid hormone production, which subsequently can  decrease estrogen stimulation of breast tissue. Women should also eat seaweed,  which is an iodine-rich food.

4. Eat cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels  sprouts, and cauliflower all containindole-3-carbinol, a compound that helps the  liver break down estrogen into more benign components. The detoxifying qualities  of these cruciferous vegetables make them an excellent choice for women with  dense breasts.

By Dr. Laurie Steelsmith

Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and  licensed acupuncturist whose specialty is women’s health. She’s the author of a  new book, Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her  Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine (Hay House, 2012) and the  bestseller Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural  and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness. Learn more at www.drlauriesteelsmith.com.

Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

 Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

A Harvard study published in the Annals of Neurology indicates that eating a diet high in blueberries and strawberries can slow brain aging and  cognitive decline by up to two and a half years.

Dr. Elizabeth Devore and her team of researchers at Harvard Medical School  analyzed data from the lengthy Nurses’ Health Study in 1976.   Questionnaires were completed every four years since 1980 to assess the  frequency of berry intake and the intake of 31 different phytonutrients called  flavonoids.  In 16,010 participants over the age of 70 between 1995 and  2001, cognitive function was tested every two years.

The researchers found that those participants who consumed a high amount of  blueberries or strawberries had slower decline in cognitive function test scores  during the follow-up period than those whose intake of these fruits was  lower.  The results were an average delay in cognitive decline due to aging  of up to 2-and-a-half years.

Both blueberries and strawberries are excellent sources of  flavonoids, which reduce inflammation.  This is possibly the  mechanism that is causing the positive brain health effects.  The same  study also found that a high intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were  also linked to the beneficial cognitive effects.

Anthocyanidins are a type of flavonoids responsible for the red, blue, or  purple colors in berries and other foods.  While the effect of consumption  of other anthocyanidin and flavonoid-rich foods was not assessed as part of this  study, it is likely that they will have similar brain protective effects.   Other sources of anthocyanidins and flavonoids include:  blueberries,  cherries, cranberries, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries and to a lesser  extent in almonds, apples, cocoa, and peanuts.

Other research shows that they decrease free radical activity in and between  brain cells. They also inhibit the production of histamine, making them a  natural anti-histamine without the drowsy side effects of many pharmaceuticals.  Numerous studies show that anthocyanidins have anticancer and antitumor  activity, and one study concluded that anthocyanidins may demonstrate  chemotherapeutic activity against breast cancer.

When it comes to heart disease, anthocyanidins help reduce high blood  pressure and improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat. In tests on  rabbits, anthocyanidins demonstrated significant reduction in the  development of atherosclerosis. They also appeared to protect  against heart attacks linked to certain asthma drugs.  They even  have stronger antioxidant properties than either vitamins C or  E.

Adapted from The Phytozyme Cure.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Spring is finally here and along with it starts the cascade of vibrant  superfoods.  Obviously, some take a little longer than others, but here are  my picks for the top 10 spring superfoods.  Enjoy!

Artichokes—A medium-sized artichoke is loaded with fiber (about 10 grams) and vitamin  C. It also contains plentiful amounts of the heart- and muscle-health minerals  magnesium and potassium.  It’s also high on the ORAC list of foods that have  high antioxidant values.  High amounts of antioxidants translate into reduced free radicals linked to aging and disease.

Asparagus—An excellent source of nutrients like vitamin K  which is necessary for bone health and folate, asparagus also contains good  amounts of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, manganese, potassium, magnesium,  and selenium.  Its high folate content makes it especially good for pregnant women who have higher folate needs than most  people.

Chives—Potent in antibacterial, anti-yeast and  antifungal compounds, chives has many similar properties to its  relatives garlic and onion.  Chives also help boost glutathione levels in the  body.  Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier and anti-cancer compound.

Collards—Research shows that collards are among the best  foods for lowering cholesterol levels due to its superior ability to bind to  bile acids in the intestines.  Collard also shows excellent anti-cancer  properties thanks to its naturally-occurring components, including:  glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin.

Kale—Proven to lower the risk of bladder,  breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer, kale is among the best superfoods  available.  Great for building healthy bones largely due to its high calcium  content, kale also improves the body’s detoxification systems by increasing  isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the vegetable’s glucosinolates.  Researchers  have identified over 45 phytonutrients in kale, including  kaempferol and quercetin, giving it impressive antioxidant and  anti-inflammatory properties.

Rhubarb—High in fiber, vitamins C and K, rhubarb stalks (not  the leaves which are poisonous), rhubarb is an excellent spring food but most  people don’t know what to do with it.  Sorry, dumping cups of sugar into it for  jams and pies wrecks any superfood qualities this food might otherwise have.  I  enjoy it stewed or added to chutneys.

Spinach—Not just for Popeye anymore, spinach is high in  iron, calcium, beta carotene (which turns into vitamin A in your body), and  vitamin K, which is important for bone and blood health.  The chlorophyll gives  spinach their green color and is a powerful blood cleanser.  High in neoxanthin,  which is proven to aid prostate health, spinach also contains the phytonutrients  lutein and zeaxanthin which strengthen the eyes and help prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts.

Spring greens—Spring greens contain high amounts of calcium  and magnesium needed for strong bones, muscles, and a relaxed nervous system.   Like spinach, they also contain the blood cleansing  phytonutrient chlorophyll.

Strawberries—Just eight strawberries pack more vitamin C  than one orange.  Whether you want to evade heart disease, arthritis,  memory loss, or cancer, these berries have proven their ability to  help.

Watercress—If ever there was a vegetable made for smokers,  watercress is it.  In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition, researchers found that eating raw watercress daily increased the  ability of cells to resist free radical damage to DNA, which reduces the  risk of cell changes linked to cancer.  Their research showed that this protective benefit was pronounced in smokers.  But, anyone can  benefit from this spring nutritional powerhouse.  It is also high in beta  carotene (essential for skin and eye health), B-complex vitamins (important for  nerves, energy, and mood balance), and vitamin E (critical for skin and immune  system health).

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

 

5 Foods Every Woman Should Eat More Of

5 Foods Every Woman Should Eat More Of

For busy women of all ages, five foods boast high scores in essential nutrients — iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, in particular. Best of all, these foods are easy to find at practically every grocery store, no matter where you live, and each of them takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

1. Broccoli
Broccoli is practically unrivaled among all foods when it comes to protecting against cancer. Its powerful phytonutrients not only help neutralize carcinogens, but they also stimulate detoxifying enzymes that help the body rid itself of cancer-causing and other harmful toxins. Indole-3-carbinol, another compound found in broccoli, is particularly healthy for women; it’s been shown to reduce the risk of breast and cervical cancers and helps suppress the spread of existing cancer. This green vegetable also happens to be one of the richest food sources of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has shown protective benefits against ovarian cancer.

What’s more, broccoli is a superior source of folate, a B vitamin that’s needed for making and protecting DNA, producing new blood, forming new cells, and synthesizing protein. Folate has also been tied to a decreased risk of some cancers in adults.

But there are a couple of reasons why this nutrient is crucial for women’s health in particular. First, folate is one of the most essential nutrients for pregnant women. It supports proper development of the fetal nervous system and protects against neural tube (birth) defects. Second, research shows that women are twice as likely as men to experience depression, and numerous studies have linked folate deficiency with depression. The good news: There’s also evidence showing that boosting folate levels can increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression.

An added bonus: As a natural diuretic, broccoli helps reduce bloating and water retention associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Broccoli is an excellent source of dietary fiber and of vitamins C, K, and A, and it’s a good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein. It’s also high in calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E. Many of these nutrients work in partnership: Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron; vitamin K anchors calcium to the bone; dietary fiber promotes better absorption of all nutrients.

Quick and healthy tip: For optimal taste and nutrition, steam broccoli florets for no more than five minutes, or until they turn bright green. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt to taste.

2. Onions
Onions have many healing and health-promoting properties: They’re anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and a natural blood thinner. Rich in chromium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber, onions are also a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, tryptophan, folate, and potassium.

This bulbous vegetable is used to combat cancer, arthritis, and osteoporosis, and it helps fight infections, colds, fevers, and asthma. Onions also help prevent constipation, increase blood circulation, improve gastrointestinal health, promote heart health, and are thought to help lower blood pressure and triglycerides.

Onions are a healthy whole food, there’s no doubt. But they’re particularly good for women, who are four times as likely as men to develop osteoporosis — and who are at even higher risk for osteoporosis during and after menopause. Onions help prevent bone loss by destroying osteoclasts, a type of bone cell that’s responsible for the breakdown of bones. In effect, onions work like bisphosphonates, a type of medication that’s commonly prescribed to treat or prevent bone disease. But unlike those potent drugs, onions bust up osteoclasts without dangerous side effects. And, like broccoli, onions are a potent cancer-fighting food; high onion consumption has been linked to a whopping 25 percent reduced risk of breast cancer and a 73 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

Quick and healthy tip: Keep a container of diced raw onion in the fridge to add to meals all week — it’ll spice up a sandwich or salad, and it’s an easy addition to quick stir-fries. Sautee the onion in a tablespoon of oil, then add the rest of the ingredients in roughly the order of how long they take to cook; the onion-infused oil will add a great flavor to the whole dish.

3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, watercress, cabbage, turnip greens, collard greens, and arugula share similar nutrient profiles, featuring impressive scores of vitamins K, A, and C; calcium; potassium; beta-carotene; manganese; folate; magnesium; iron; and dietary fiber.

Well-known research tracking 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study found a 40 percent decrease in the incidence of ovarian cancer in women with the highest dietary kaempferol intake as compared to women with the lowest intake. Along with broccoli, kale is one of the best sources of kaempferol — which has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Kaemperfol is also found in tea as well as in Brussels sprouts and other greens.

Spinach is extremely high in iron, which protects the immune system and helps the body produce energy. It’s especially important for menstruating and pregnant women, who require higher levels of this nutrient. However, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies for all women. Iron deficiency causes anemia and low energy due to decreased oxygen being delivered to the cells. You can find iron in most leafy greens; other good sources include chard, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce.

Dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach, kelp, and turnip greens are also excellent sources of magnesium, which plays a significant role in many key biological processes. This miracle mineral has been credited with a slew of health benefits, including lowering high blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, strengthening bones, aiding in sleep, relaxing muscles, and relieving stress and anxiety.

Here are a few more good reasons to gobble up magnesium-rich foods: According to womenshealth.gov, migraines plague an estimated 29.5 million Americans, and roughly 75 percent of those affected are women. Magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity and recurrence of migraine headaches. And a study of 60 women with urinary urge incontinence found that magnesium supplementation improved the symptoms of overactive bladder in nearly half of participants. Magnesium also aids in calcium absorption, playing a significant role in preventing osteoporosis; several studies on humans have shown that magnesium helps maintain bone mineral density.

Finally, according to Mental Health America, about 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year. It’s estimated that women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. Depression has been linked to low levels of calcium and magnesium, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a study comparing the bone mass of depressed premenopausal women to their nondepressed peers found that the depressed women had reduced bone mass and the most thinning in their hip bones, putting them at higher risk of fractures.

Many leafy greens boast high levels of Vitamin E, which helps stave off menopausal hot flashes. Excellent sources of Vitamin E include mustard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard; you can also find it in spinach, collard greens, and kale. Like broccoli, leafy greens are natural diuretics and are great for combating bloat and water retention.

Swiss chard and spinach are two of the most calcium-dense plant foods on earth. Calcium is a particularly important nutrient for women; it’s needed to build healthy bones and to prevent bone loss after menopause. Women who consume diets rich in calcium and vitamin D are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and to experience premenstrual symptoms. Not only does calcium help build strong bones and teeth, it also plays a role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and regulating heartbeat.

Magnesium and calcium aren’t the only nutrients that contribute to bone health, though. Vitamin K is vital for bone health and plays a unique role in helping prevent osteoporosis. Just because you have sufficient calcium in your diet doesn’t necessarily mean it will find its way to your bones — and that’s where vitamin K comes in. It helps calcium adhere to the bone, aiding in its absorption. In fact, without adequate vitamin K, calcium can deposit itself in joint and muscle tissue, creating painful problems and preventing absorption in the bone. Calcium deposits in soft tissue are more prevalent in women than men, so vitamin K is especially important for women. It’s found in abundance in most leafy greens, particularly spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.

Quick and healthy tip: To get the most nutrition out of your leafy greens, you’ll need to add a little healthy fat to help your body absorb the nutrients. Sautee dark leafy greens in coconut oil over medium heat until just wilted. Optional: Add a small handful of golden raisins while saut�ing, or serve with a small handful of raw pine nuts.

4. Beans
No matter what type of bean you choose, each tiny package is bursting with a rich array of nutrients. Beans are an incredibly rich source of folate, fiber, tryptophan, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium, and they’ve been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast cancer.

Hands-down one of the best food sources of fiber you can find, one cup of cooked pinto beans contains nearly 15 grams of fiber (along with a score of other essential nutrients) — but you’ll find plentiful fiber in all bean varieties. Fiber is a wonder nutrient that fills you up, regulates digestion, lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, helps control weight, and has a preventive effect on diabetes and heart disease. Women’s risk of heart disease increases significantly with menopause.

Potassium is vital to the health of every type of cell in our bodies, and you can find good amounts of this mineral in lima, pinto, and kidney beans. Potassium plays an essential part in bone strength, muscle function, and nerve function. Numerous studies have shown a positive link between dietary potassium intake and bone mineral density in pre-, peri- and postmenopausal women, suggesting an important role in preventing osteoporosis in all women. In addition, the Nurses’ Health Study, which recorded data from 91,731 female participants over a 12-year period, found that women with the highest dietary potassium intake were only 65 percent as likely to develop symptomatic kidney stones as compared to their peers with the lowest dietary potassium intake.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid with several important functions. One of them includes the ability to raise serotonin levels in the brain. For this reason, beans and other foods high in tryptophan can help regulate appetite, improve sleep patterns, and boost your mood.

Like other beans, soybeans are an excellent source of dietary fiber. And just one cup of cooked soybeans also provides a whopping 29 grams of protein. Furthermore, studies have linked the isoflavones found in soybeans with improved bone density in postmenopausal women who previously had low bone mass; researchers believe these compounds may play a significant role in preventing bone fractures. Soy isoflavones have also been credited with easing menopausal hot flashes.

Quick and healthy tip: Although dried beans are the healthiest option since they don’t have added sodium, the canned variety will do just fine as long as you rinse the beans in a colander before using them. For a quick and healthy homemade hummus, combine one can of garbanzo beans; one tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and tahini; half a teaspoon of cumin; and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth and serve with crudites. (White beans make an excellent substitute for garbanzos.)

5. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and iron, and it’s a high-quality source of protein. A word of caution: Independent studies comparing the nutritional content of wild and farmed salmon showed the farmed variety had drastically reduced levels of protein and healthy omega-3 fats. Farmed salmon were also found to have significant levels of carcinogenic substances and other toxins, as well as higher levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats. If you’re eating for health, opt for the wild variety.

Salmon is one of the few food sources naturally rich in vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium, maintain proper levels of calcium in the blood, and promote normal bone growth. Due to these qualities, vitamin D is regarded as an important nutrient in helping prevent osteoporosis. Sockeye salmon scores the highest in vitamin D; a four-ounce serving of sockeye provides 739 IU of vitamin D — compared to Chinook salmon, which provides 411 IU for the same size serving.

Vitamin D’s benefits extend beyond good bones, however. Medical and health experts now recognize this nutrient as playing an essential role in overall health. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem that has been linked to depression and multiple sclerosis, two conditions that women are at a higher risk for than men. Researchers have additionally linked low levels of vitamin D with obesity and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Our bodies don’t produce essential fatty acids, so we must get them from our diet. Wild salmon is exceptionally rich in heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which guard against inflammation, reduce the risk of strokes, lower blood lipids, boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and help prevent heart disease. Omega-3s might be fats, but — in moderation — they’re actually pretty figure-friendly: Not only do they slow digestion, which means you feel satiated for longer, but they may also help get rid of belly fat. Several studies link consumption of omega-3s with reduced abdominal fat. Other benefits of omega-3s include a reduced risk of breast cancer and improved brain function. Some research suggests that omega-3s may be helpful in treating depression, although further research is needed in this area.

Quick and healthy tip: Sprinkle salmon fillets with fresh chopped rosemary and black pepper, top with lemon slices, and place under the broiler for ten minutes or until it flakes easily. Leftovers work well the next day crumbled into omelets, sandwiches, or salads.

By Nikki Jong, Caring.com

27 Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

27 Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to promote good health and to help protect against cancer is with your diet. The American Cancer society estimates that one third of all American cancer deaths might be diet-related. The conclusion is really pretty simple: kick cancer-loving food to the curb; embrace healthful food. The foods on this list, prepared by the Cancer Cure Foundation, have the ability to help stave off cancer and some can even help inhibit cancer cell growth or reduce tumor size. The list is not complete–there are other anti-cancer edibles–but this features the all-stars and is an excellent starting point. (Click through to the last page for a printable quick-list.)

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower have a chemical component called indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety. Broccoli, especially sprouts, also have the phytochemical sulforaphane, a product of glucoraphanin–believed to aid in preventing some types of cancer, like colon and rectal cancer. Sulforaphane induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens. The enzymes have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors in tests. However, be aware that the Agriculture Department studied 71 types of broccoli plants and found a 30-fold difference in the amounts of glucoraphanin. It appears that the more bitter the broccoli is, the more glucoraphanin it has. Broccoli sprouts have been developed under the trade name BroccoSprouts that have a consistent level of sulforaphane–as much as 20 times higher than the levels found in mature heads of broccoli.

Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities–2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer. In fact, a substance called falcarinol that is found in carrots has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to researchers at Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). Kirsten Brandt, head of the research department, explained that isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol. This substance is a polyacethylen, however, so it is important not to cook the carrots.

Kale has indoles, nitrogen compounds which may help stop the conversion of certain lesions to cancerous cells in estrogen-sensitive tissues. In addition, isothiocyanates, phytochemicals found in kale, are thought to suppress tumor growth and block cancer-causing substances from reaching their targets.

Mushrooms: Shiitake, maitake, reishi, Agaricus blazei Murill, and Coriolus Versicolor appear to help the body fight cancer and build the immune system. These mushrooms contain polysaccharides, especially Lentinan, powerful compounds that help in building immunity. They are a source of Beta Glucan. They also have a protein called lectin, which attacks cancerous cells and prevents them from multiplying. They also contain Thioproline. These mushrooms can stimulate the production of interferon in the body.

Seaweed and other sea vegetables contain beta-carotene, protein, vitamin B12, fiber, and chlorophyll, as well as chlorophylones–important fatty acids that may help in the fight against breast cancer. Many sea vegetables also have high concentrations of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine.

Sweet potatoes contain many anticancer properties, including beta-carotene, which may protect DNA in the cell nucleus from cancer-causing chemicals outside the nuclear membrane.

Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than bananas and are a strong source of beta-carotene. Scientists believe that avocados may also be useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer), as well as other sources of liver damage.

Chili peppers and jalapenos contain a chemical, capsaicin, which may neutralize certain cancer-causing substances (nitrosamines) and may help prevent cancers such as stomach cancer.

Figs apparently have a derivative of benzaldehyde. It has been reported that investigators at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Tokyo say benzaldehyde is highly effective at shrinking tumors. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says figs, which contain vitamins A and C, and calcium, magnesium and potassium, may curtail appetite and improve weight-loss efforts. Fig juice is also a potent bacteria killer in test-tube studies.

Grapefruits, like oranges and other citrus fruits, contain monoterpenes, believed to help prevent cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the body. Some studies show that grapefruit may inhibit the proliferation of breast-cancer cells in vitro. They also contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid.

Grapes, red grapes contain bioflavonoids, powerful antioxidants that work as cancer preventives. Grapes are also a rich source of resveratrol, which inhibits the enzymes that can stimulate cancer-cell growth and suppress immune response. They also contain ellagic acid, a compound that blocks enzymes that are necessary for cancer cells–this appears to help slow the growth of tumors.

Oranges and lemons contain Iimonene which stimulates cancer-killing immune cells (lymphocytes, e.g.) that may also break down cancer-causing substances.

Papayas have vitamin C that works as an antioxidant and may also reduce absorption of cancer-causing nitrosamines from the soil or processed foods. Papaya contains folacin (also known as folic acid), which has been shown to minimize cervical dysplasia and certain cancers.

Raspberries contain many vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and antioxidants known as anthocyanins that may protect against cancer. According to a recent research study reported by Cancer Research (2001;61:6112-6119) rats fed diets of 5 percent to 10 percent black raspberries saw the number of esophageal tumors decrease by 43 percent to 62 percent. Research reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in May 2002 shows black raspberries may also thwart colon cancer. Black raspberries are rich in antioxidants, thought to have even more cancer-preventing properties than blueberries and strawberries.

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that attacks roaming oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, that are suspected of triggering cancer. It appears that the hotter the weather, the more lycopene tomatoes produce. They also have vitamin C, an antioxidant which can prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer. Watermelons, carrots, and red peppers also contain these substances, but in lesser quantities. It is concentrated by cooking tomatoes. Scientists in Israel have shown that lycopene can kill mouth cancer cells. An increased intake of lycopene has already been linked to a reduced risk of breast, prostate, pancreas and colorectal cancer. (Note: Recent studies indicate that for proper absorption, the body also needs some oil along with lycopene.)

Flax contains lignans, which may have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes. Flax is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to protect against colon cancer and heart disease.

Nuts contain the antioxidants quercetin and campferol that may suppress the growth of cancers. Brazil nut contains 80 micrograms of selenium, which is important for those with prostate cancer. (Note: Many people are allergic to the proteins in nuts, so if you have any symptoms such as itchy mouth, tight throat, wheezing, etc. after eating nuts, stop. Consider taking a selenium supplement instead or work with someone on how to eliminate this allergy.)

Garlic has immune-enhancing allium compounds (dialyl sultides) that appear to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help break down cancer causing substances. These substances also help block carcinogens from entering cells and slow tumor development. Diallyl sulfide, a component of garlic oil, has also been shown to render carcinogens in the liver inactive. Studies have linked garlic–as well as onions, leeks, and chives–to lower risk of stomach and colon cancer. Dr. Lenore Arab, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the UNC-CH (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) schools of public health and medicine and colleagues analyzed a number of studies and reported their findings in the October 2000 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the report, people who consume raw or cooked garlic regularly face about half the risk of stomach cancer and two-thirds the risk of colorectal cancer as people who eat little or none. Their studies didn’t show garlic supplements had the same effect. It is believed garlic may help prevent stomach cancer because it has anti-bacterial effects against a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, found in the stomach and known to promote cancer there.

Rosemary may help increase the activity of detoxification enzymes. An extract of rosemary, termed carnosol, has inhibited the development of both breast and skin tumors in animals. We haven’t found any studies done on humans. Rosemary can be used as a seasoning. It can also be consumed as a tea: Use 1 tsp. dried leaves per cup of hot water; steep for 15 minutes.

Tapioca (I know, not a spice, but listed here for your shopping convenience) is derived from the cassava plant. It is one of the many plants that manufactures cyanide by producing a chemical called linamarine which releases hydrogen cyanide when it is broken down by the linamarase enzyme. Spanish researches have been studying the cassava and attempting to clone the genes from the plant which are responsible for producing the hydrogen cyanide and then transfer it to a retrovirus.

Tumeric (curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, is believed to have medicinal properties because it inhibits production of the inflammation-related enzyme cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2), levels of which are abnormally high in certain inflammatory diseases and cancers, especially bowel and colon cancer. In fact, a pharmaceutical company Phytopharm in the UK hopes to introduce a natural product, P54, that contains certain volatile oils, which greatly increase the potency of the turmeric spice.

Red wine, even without alcohol, has polyphenols that may protect against various types of cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants, compounds that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals. Also, researchers at the University of North Carolina’s medical school in Chapel Hill found the compound resveratrol, which is found in grape skins. It appears that resveratrol inhibits cell proliferation and can help prevent cancer. However, the findings didn’t extend to heavy imbibers, so it should be used in moderation. In addition, alcohol can be toxic to the liver and to the nervous system, and many wines have sulfites, which may be harmful to your health. Note: some research indicates that alcohol is considered a carcinogen, you can switch to non-alcoholic wines.

Soy Products like soy milk and tofu contain several types of phytoestrogens–weak, nonsteroidal estrogens that could help prevent both breast and prostate cancer by blocking and suppressing cancerous changes. There are a number of isoflavones in soy products, but research has shown that genistein is the most potent inhibitor of the growth and spread of cancerous cells. It appears to lower breast-cancer risk by inhibiting the growth of epithelial cells and new blood vessels that tumors require to flourish and is being scrutinized as a potential anti-cancer drug. However, there are some precautions to consider when adding soy to your diet. Eating up to 4 or 5 ounces of tofu or other soy a day is probably ok, but research is being done to see if loading up on soy could cause hormone imbalances that stimulate cancer growth. As a precaution, women who have breast cancer or are at high risk should talk to their doctors before taking pure isoflavone powder and pills, extracted from soy.

Green Tea and Black Tea contain certain antioxidants known as polyphenols (catechins) which appear to prevent cancer cells from dividing. Green tea is best, followed by our more common black tea (herbal teas do not show this benefit). According to a report in the July 2001 issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, these polyphenols that are abundant in green tea, red wine and olive oil, may protect against various types of cancer. Dry green tea leaves, which are about 40 percent polyphenols by weight, may also reduce the risk of cancer of the stomach, lung, colon, rectum, liver and pancreas, study findings have suggested.

by Melissa Breyer

( Leesa also recommends Chews4Health! Chews4Health is a chewable antioxidant!  Visit www.chews4health.com/Leesa to learn more about this vital supplement!)

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