October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reviewed nearly 950 studies on breast cancer and they estimate that nearly 40% of breast cancer cases (about 70,000 each year) could be prevented with lifestyle changes. Women can dramatically reduce their risk for breast cancer by achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active and drinking alcohol in moderation.
AICR Recommendations for Reducing Breast Cancer Risk:
1. Because of the link between excess body fat and cancer, AICR recommends aiming to be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
2. AICR also recommends being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
3. If you drink at all, limit consumption to two drinks a day for a man and one for a woman.
4. AICR also recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Mothers who breastfeed reduce their risk for breast cancer and may help their breastfed children to lower risk of gaining excess weight as they grow.
Foods That Reduce Risk*:
• Beans: Contain plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that protect cells from damage. These phytochemicals (saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid) may also reduce cancer cell reproduction, growth and cancer progression.
• Berries: All berries are excellent sources of fiber and the antioxidant Vitamin C. Berries, especially strawberries and raspberries, contain ellagic acid--an antioxidant that helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens and slow the reproduction of cancer cells.
• Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants to help the immune system neutralize free radicals and fight cell and tissue damage that can lead to disease. An 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice provides more than a day’s recommended Daily Value of vitamin C.
• Cruciferous Vegetables: These super veggies help regulate a complex system of bodily enzymes that defend against cancer. Research studies have demonstrated that components (glucosinolates, crambene, indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates) of these vegetables have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells.
• Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Kale and other dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of fiber, folate (needed for healthy cells) and the carotenoid family of antioxidants that mop up free radicals (damaging substances/cells) before they can cause harm. Orange vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and winter squash are also excellent sources of carotenoids.
• Flaxseed: Flaxseed is the best dietary source of lignans which are phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that appear to mimic the action of estrogen in the body. Studies have shown that flaxseed consumption altered estrogen metabolism exerting a protective effect against breast cancer. Some have questioned whether the plant-estrogen effects from flaxseed may actually increase breast cancer risk. Research studies have not shown that flaxseed increases incidence or recurrence of breast cancer. Consuming 1.5 to 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day appears to be safe and potentially protective against breast cancer. (Note: most flax oils do not contain lignin, unless added by the manufacturer; carefully read product labels).
• Garlic: Garlic and other allium vegetables (onions, leeks) contain many substances that are being studied for their anti-cancer effects (i.e., quercetin, allixin and organic sulfur compounds including allicin, alliin and allyl sulfides). In laboratory studies, components of garlic have demonstrated the ability to slow or stop the growth of tumors. Garlic is also a natural astringent that inhibits bacterial and viral growth. Use fresh or minced garlic for its preventive effects. Garlic may also help to increase the numbers of white blood cells, strengthening the immune system.
• Grapes and Grape Juice: Grapes and grape products (including red wine) contain phytochemicals known as resveratrol and other polyphenols. These phytochemicals possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help to prevent the kind of damage known to trigger the cancer process (initiation, promotion and progression of cancer).
• Green Tea: In laboratory studies, green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer development. Green tea contains about three times more of the cancer fighting substances, catechins, than black tea. Drinking green tea is safe, however, supplements made from green tea can have adverse interactions with aspirin and prescription medications.
• Soy: The isoflavones found in soy (saponins, phenolic acids, phytic acid, phytosterols, and protein kinase inhibitors) are thought to provide protective effects against cancer. In animal studies, diets rich soy foods have been shown to alter the metabolism of breast tissue in ways that may protect against cancer. According to AICR, current research shows that it is safe to eat moderate amounts of soy foods (soymilk, tofu), up to two to three servings per day. Because of the estrogen-like effects of soy isoflavones women receiving anti-estrogen treatments such as tamoxifen, should minimize soy foods and avoid isoflavone supplements as a precaution.
• Tomatoes: Flavonoids (lycopene) found in tomatoes have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that research suggests may help reduce or prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.
• Whole Grain: Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and multiple phytochemicals, a diet rich in whole grains helps to protect cells from the types of damage that may lead to cancer. Some specific substances found in whole grains have been linked to lower cancer risk and include antioxidants, phenols, lignans (see flaxseed) and saponins. Choose whole grain breads and cereals such as 100% whole wheat bread. Other whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain oat cereals such as oatmeal, popcorn, wild rice, corn, kasha (roasted buckwheat) and tabouleh (bulghur wheat).
• Vitamin D Rich Foods: Low fat dairy foods are excellent sources of vitamin D. Most Americans, especially those living in Northern states, don’t get enough vitamin D. Research suggests that vitamin D intake and/or supplementation with vitamin D (about 1200 IUs daily) boosts immune health and may reduce risk for cancer, chronic disease, and colds/flu. Many health care providers are currently recommending Vitamin D supplementation ranging from 1,000 IU to 4,000 IU daily.
*adapted from AICR areas for research funding www.aicr.org
Recipes Using Cancer Fighting Foods
Marvelous Minestrone Soup
1 tbsp. Meijer olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
1 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32 oz.) pkg. Meijer Naturals beef stock
1 (15-1/2 oz.) can Bush’s hot chili beans (do not drain liquid)
2 (14 oz.) cans Italian seasoned diced stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup mini sea shell pasta
1 small fresh zucchini, sliced
Fresh ground McCormick black pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp.)
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a stockpot, add onion, celery and carrot; cook until crisp tender.
2. Add garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes.
3. Stir in broth, bean, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
4. Add pasta, zucchini and pepper.
5. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Enjoy with crusty multigrain rolls.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 152, Fat 5.5g, Cholesterol 17mg, Sodium 531mg, Carbohydrate 19g, Fiber 4.5g, Protein 7.5g
Spinach Salad with Sun-Dried Cherries and Pecans
1/2 pound spinach or baby spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried cherries (or cranberries)
1 apple, unpeeled, quartered and thinly sliced (brush with pineapple juice to prevent browning)
1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. raspberry or balsamic vinegar
1. Combine spinach, pecans, cherries, and apple in a large salad bowl and set aside.
2. To prepare vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, maple syrup, honey, olive oil and vinegar in a small mixing bowl until well combined and smooth.
3. Just before serving, combine vinaigrette and salad, toss and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 245, Fat 12g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium, 137mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Fiber 4g, Protein 3g.
Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and Beans
2 (14.5 oz) cans Del Monte Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
10 ounces fresh spinach, washed
8 ounces Barilla Plus penne pasta, cooked
1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and beans in a large non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
3. Add spinach to the sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly.
4. Stir pasta into spinach mixture and heat through.
5. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 463, Fat 5.9g, Saturated Fat 3.2g, Cholesterol 17mg, Sodium 593 mg, Carbohydrate 80g, Fiber 12g, Protein 24g.
Cannellini Bean & Kale Soup
1 tablespoon Meijer olive oil or Meijer canola oil
4 to 8 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cups chopped raw kale
4 cups Meijer reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 (15 ounce) cans Bush’s white beans, such as cannellini or navy, undrained
4 plum or roma tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped parsley
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onion; sauté until soft.
2. Add kale and sauté, stirring, until wilted.
3. Add broth, beans, tomato, Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper. Simmer 15-20 minutes.
4. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 188, Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 301 mg, Carbohydrate 31 g, Fiber 6g, Protein 11 g.
Tuna Edamame Salad
1 cup Meijer frozen Edamame in shell
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup shredded carrots
1 (6 oz.) can Meijer solid white tuna, water packed, drained
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup Italian dressing
1. Cook edamame according to pkg. directions.
2. Mix edamame, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, tuna, golden raisins and red onion in medium bowl. Pour Italian dressing over salad and toss until combined.
3. Serve with pita bread halves or whole grain crackers, if desired.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 210, Fat 3g, Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 350mg, Carbohydrate 27g, Fiber 4g, Protein 16g.
Asian Salmon with Vegetable Pasta
8 oz. Barilla thin spaghetti, cooked
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. Meijer Olive or Canola Oil
2 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. McCormick red pepper flakes
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup green onion, diced
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets (skin removed)
1 bunch broccolini or 2 cups diced broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 to 1 tsp. minced garlic
1 each medium red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, mix soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp. oil, ginger, orange juice, green onion and red pepper flakes in a shallow pan. Rinse salmon fillets, add to pan – turn to coat and marinate about 10 minutes.
3. Trim tough ends from broccolini. Place broccolini in a microwave save dish with a couple tablespoons water and cook on high about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
4. Heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat; add salmon to the hot skillet, reserving the marinade. Cook until done (when flesh flakes with a fork), do not overcook. Remove from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
5. Wipe out skillet and return to hot stove top. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil, garlic, broccolini, bell pepper and shredded carrots and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes.
6. Add sugar to the reserved salmon marinade, mix well and add to the skillet.
7. Add chicken stock and bring to a slow boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Add cooked, drained pasta and combine well.
8. Divide pasta mixture evenly onto each of 4 plates and top each plate with a salmon fillet. Garnish with diced or sliced green onion if desired.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 515, Fat 25g, Cholesterol 105mg, Sodium 653, Carbohydrate 32g, Fiber 3g, Protein 38g.
Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables
2 lbs pork tenderloin (2 small loins)
5 medium white potatoes, peeled, cut into sixths
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 in. dice
3 medium onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tart baking apple, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tsp. McCormick Herbs de Provence
1 tbsp. Canola oil
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large roasting pan, combine all vegetables with enough oil and the Herbs de Provence to lightly coat, mix well. Add meat, and turn to coat with oil. Nestle meat into the top of the vegetable mixture.
3. Sprinkle mixture and meat with salt, and grind pepper over top to taste.
4. Cover and roast 1 1/2 hours. Check vegetables for doneness. Remove cover and let roast for another 10-15 minutes to crisp potatoes.
5. Remove from oven; re-cover, let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving tenderloin.
Serving suggestion: Serve with steamed broccoli.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 395, Fat 7g, Cholesterol 95mg, Sodium 135mg, Carbohydrate 49g, Fiber 8g, Protein 38g.
Spinach and Cheese Packets
1 (10 oz.) bag fresh baby spinach
1 Cup Bush’s reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz. Shredded pepperjack or Mexican blend cheese, reduced fat recommended
1/2 Cup fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 (8-inch) Meijer whole grain tortillas
1 tbsp. Meijer olive oil
1. Steam spinach in a stockpot with about 2 cups water until just wilted. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Lay spinach on paper towel and blot off excess water. (Shortcut: frozen spinach may be used, thaw and pat dry)
2. In a medium bowl combine beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Evenly divide cheese and place into the center of each of the 8 tortillas; top cheese with the bean mixture.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Fold tortillas into packets (fold bottom up, top down, sides in) and place fold down into hot skillet. Cook until golden brown, turning once - about 5-7 minutes each side. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 252, Fat 8g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium: 260mg, Carbohydrate 26g, Fiber 8g, Protein 19g.