Eating to reduce your cancer risk


First Posted: 4/30/2013

If we only had a magic pill that we could eat to reduce our risk of cancer, wouldn’t that be great.

Some cancers are well researched and we do know how to reduce our risks of developing and treating them.

Others are not so well researched or the research is quite conflicting and we have little defenses.

One thought we do know is that foods contain nutrients and phytochemicals that may help us ward off some cancers.

Fruits and vegetables contain lots of four syllable words called phytochemicals that are hard to pronounce and to understand their detailed pathways in the body.

One example is lycopene.

Lycopene is naturally found in tomatoes. When slightly cooked, it aids in reducing prostate cancer risks.

It is important to eat lots of fruits and vegetables every day along with being active and keeping a healthy immune system. One half of our lunch and dinner plates should be fruits and vegetables.

Whole grains and legumes may also reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Phytochemicals, also known as plant chemicals or phytonutrients, are found naturally in plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

Phytochemicals promote health through acting as an antioxidant, having anti-inflammatory properties and by helping rid the body of harmful substances such as cholesterol and carcinogens.

The two groups of phytochemicals include carotenoids and polyphenols.

Beta carotene and lycopene are, among others, part of the carotenoid group and can be found in orange and yellow produce such as carrots.

Flavonoids, catechins, anthocyanins and phenolic acid are part of the polyphenol group and include all fruits and vegetables.

If you would like a fact sheet on which phytochemicals can be found in which fruits and vegetables, email me at mre2@psu.edu and I will send you a fact sheet or visit http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight.

Here are two vegetables along with two new spices. Together,

they may be just the powerhouses to fight off cancer. Both cabbage and carrots are sources of beta carotene.

Cabbage and Carrots glazed with ginger and turmeric

1 pound fresh peeled, rinsed and sliced carrots or frozen

½ pound fresh cabbage, rinsed and sliced into ¼ inch strips

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

2/3 cup low sodium chicken bouillon

1 Tablespoon powdered ginger, or 6 slices of fresh ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric

Sauté garlic and fresh ginger in olive oil.

Add carrots, cooked until just before tender.

Add cabbage, low sodium broth and seasonings.

Cook additional 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

(If you would like this as a sweeter side dish, add 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar along with seasonings. Cook as recommended.)

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