Tag Archives: cancer

Falling for Apples

Apples

Fresh and cooked apples, apple butter and apple pie are favorites this time of year. The good news: apples are as healthy for you as they are delicious.

An apple a day does keep the doctor away. In fact, this everyday fruit is packed full of key nutrients, including fiber, potassium, folic acid, Vitamin C, flavonoids and disease-fighting antioxidants. Research shows that the phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer1, hypertension2, diabetes3 and heart disease4. An apple peel ingredient slows down cancer cell growth while quercetin reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow and reduces inflammation and heart disease. As an added bonus, the quercetin in apples also has antihistamine properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms4. The slow-digesting pectin fiber in apples also helps with blood sugar control and the high boron content supports strong bones and a healthy brain5.

Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. In a medium-size apple you will find about 10 percent of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital to our health. It helps repair collagen and tissue, maintains bone health and provides antioxidants to lower your risk of acquiring chronic diseases.

 With less than 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber in a medium-size apple, apples make a low-calorie, healthy, crunchy and portable snack. Apples can be incorporated into many recipes and used as a healthy baking substitute, too. This fall, here are some delicious ways to enjoy apples and eat an apple a day:

  • Add sliced apples to your oatmeal at breakfast time.
  • Use chopped apples to add color and crunch to salads, coleslaw, and tuna salad.
  • When baking desserts or holiday treats, swap in applesauce as a healthier baking alternative to oils, butter and eggs. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter or oil, swap in 1/2 cup of applesauce. For eggs, swap in 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg.
  • Enjoy honey-crisp apple slices topped with peanut butter.
  • Try replacing jam or jelly on a peanut butter sandwich with apple slices dipped in orange or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Pair cheese with apples for a healthy snack.
  • Cook apples in a little sugar or stevia and cinnamon for a sweet treat, side dish or oatmeal topping.
  • Use apple butter in place of jam on toast as it contains no butter, just cooked apples that soften and thicken like butter.
  • Zap an apple in the microwave with cinnamon and stevia in the cored out center, as a sweet dessert.
  • Have applesauce as a snack.
  • Add apple chunks to stews, roasts, chicken or turkey dishes, spaghetti or tomato sauces, to add flavor and a natural sweetener.
  • Puree a cooked apple and add to a soup to thicken it (e.g. butternut squash soup).

You can even let apples help you with weight control. To avoid overeating, try eating an apple before a large meal. It is filling, curbs your appetite and satisfies a sweet tooth. Crunching and chewing an apple even reduces your day’s stress level.

Enjoy an apple today, sweet or tart, and add to your health!

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoy a healthy diet and succeed with weight loss, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

 1 Nutrition and Cancer. http://bit.ly/1uXsRr6

2 The Journal of Nutrition. http://bit.ly/1uUGAya

3 British Medical Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5001

4 British Medical Journal. http://bit.ly/1gFBONG

5 Journal of Investigational Allergology. http://1.usa.gov/1swOyaO

6 Environmental Health Perspectives. http://1.usa.gov/1tzLbPF

 

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Foods that Can Help Lower Breast Cancer Risk 

Healthy Vegetables Fight Cancer

Many people are unaware of the important role nutrition plays in fighting off breast cancer and all chronic diseases. A growing body of research highlights diet’s role in not only lowering the risk of developing breast cancer, but warding off re-occurrence, too.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m sharing my top picks for cancer-fighting foods. Take a look at the following list and aim to regularly consume a wide variety of these nutrient-dense foods.

Whole Grains – Whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural plant compounds that help fight cancer.1 Have three a day. Good sources of whole grains include:

  • Brown and wild rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-wheat pasta and bread
  • Whole- wheat cereal flakes
  • Corn
  • Whole grain snacks including whole grain crackers, tortillas and bagels and popcorn. Yes, popcorn!

Fiber – Research has found that fiber helps reduce the risk of breast cancer by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body. In fact, a study reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who consumed the most fiber had an 11 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who ate the least. Aim to consume 30 grams of fiber a day. Good sources for fiber include:

  • Vegetables like romaine lettuce, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower,  broccoli and sweet potatoes
  • Pinto beans, black beans, lentils and kidney beans
  • Brown rice, oatmeal, kashi cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread and tortillas

Vitamin D – Studies have revealed a strong link between vitamin D and breast cancer.3 Women with breast cancer often have low levels of vitamin D and those with higher vitamin D levels have been found less likely to develop breast cancer. Good sources of vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish including salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and canned tuna
  • Vitamin D-fortified milk, orange juice and cereals
  • Egg yolk
  • Fish oils
  • Omega-3 supplements fortified with extra vitamin D

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Research suggests omega-3s reduce inflammation which can encourage breast cancer cells to grow.4 Good sources include:

  • Chia seeds and ground flaxseed
  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Canola oil and soy oil
  • Edamames

Folate – Those with higher folate (a vitamin B) levels have been found to have more than a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest folate levels.5  To reach a healthy level of folate, try to consume 400 micrograms of folate each day. Good sources include:

  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans, black beans
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula
  • Fortified cereals , breads, rice, pasta

Don’t forget that it is your total lifestyle that counts the most – your entire eating pattern of lean meats, healthy oils, whole-grains, colorful beans, fruit, and  vegetables, and low-fat dairy – combined with a healthy weight and regular exercise ( 150 minutes a week), a healthy attitude about life, and relaxation or happy events you plan daily. A  handful of healthy food choices help but nothing compares to a healthy re-vamped TOTAL style of eating and living everyday!  What is good for your whole body helps prevent cancer and energizes your life.

Sources:

  1. Health Benefits with Whole Grains. Journal of Nutrition, May 2011;141(5):1011S-22S. Epub March 30, 2011
  2. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011. bit.ly/qKtsU2
  3. Intake of fish and marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of breast cancer. BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3706. 27 June 2013.
  4. Folate, vitamin B12 and postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women. Cancer Causes Control. Nov 2006; 17(9): 1209–1213.

 

Celebrating National Nutrition Month (Part 2 of 3)

Color Your Plate like an Artist’s Palette

It’s March and color is on your mind! You may be relishing in tabloid analysis of what color of dresses celebrities wore on the red carpet for the Oscars last week. You may be starting to think about what colors of flowers or produce you want to plant in your garden this spring. Or, if you are like me, you’re celebrating National Nutrition Month by discovering the different array of foods you can use to color your plate.

Here are a few examples of foods you can use to color your plate like an artist’s palette this month and all year long:

Color: Green
Foods: Spinach, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprout
Health benefits: Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease, macular eye degeneration, cataracts, inflammation, colon cancer, heart disease, bone loss

Color: Red
Foods: Berry, tomato, tomato sauce, apple, watermelon, radish, pomegranate
Health Benefit: Helps prevent cell damage, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure

Color: Orange
Foods: Sweet potato, carrot, apricot, cantaloupe, orange
Health Benefits: Helps prevent heart disease, stroke, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis

Color: Yellow
Foods: Butternut squash, crookneck squash, corn, pineapple, lemon
Health Benefits: Helps prevent heart disease, stroke, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis

Color: White
Foods: Garlic, onion, pear, black-eyed pea, cauliflower, chick pea, mushroom
Health Benefit: Helps prevent high blood pressure

Color: Purple
Foods: Grape, fig, blueberry, black currant, red cabbage, eggplant, black bean, plum
Health Benefits: Helps prevent memory loss, cancer, heart disease

Help me add to my list. What foods do you enjoy that add color to your plate? Please enter your examples in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out Part 3 of my National Nutrition Month blog series: Count Your Portions before they Count You

For more healthy plate ideas, or to order a copy of my book, visit www.georgiakostas.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my Facebook Fan Page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.