ACTIONS TO HELP PREVENT CANCER
Almost everyone has heard of someone whose life has been affected by cancer. Because of this, the Harris Teeter yourwellness team knew it needed to devote one of its monthly brochures to cancer prevention.
Tremendous strides have been made in the treatment of cancer, but the mainstay of the approach to cancer is, and always has been, preventing its development in the first place. Medical experts do not yet fully understand the how and why of cancer. “The good news is that many research studies show if we follow good dietary and lifestyle habits we can lessen our risk of getting cancer. We do have some control over our health, and Harris Teeter is here to help,” says Dr. Russ .
The Top 6 Things You Can Do To Help Prevent Cancer
1. Stop Smoking (better yet, don’t start!) – It’s rarely easy to quit, but the health benefits associated with stopping smoking are real and significant. You can often feel a change in your overall health for the better within a short time of your last cigarette. In addition, when you stop smoking you also stop exposing others to the harmful effects of cigarette smoke (secondhand smoke is dangerous, too). Tobacco use is associated with lung cancer, as you know, but may also increase the risk of cancers involving the mouth, esophagus, kidney and bladder.
2. Exercise Regularly – You already know about the heart health benefits of exercise, but did you know that regular exercise may help prevent colon and breast cancer? Always speak with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, but commit to exercising regularly to stay well. One of the best ways to get started is also one of the most widely available forms of exercise – a good, brisk walk on most days of the week, maybe try it with a friend!
3. Manage Your Weight Appropriately – Your health care provider can help you assess your proper weight for your height. If you weigh more than what is healthy for you, it’s important to seek help. Important lifelong goals include balancing caloric intake with physical activity, avoiding gradual weight gain as you age, and limiting intake of highly processed foods that may increase inflammation in the body. Being significantly overweight increases the risk of many forms of cancer, including colon, breast and kidney cancers. Ask your health care provider about the many resources available to help you lose weight in ways that are both reasonable and sustainable.
4. Enjoy a Healthy Diet – Harris Teeter's yourwellness brochures offer you a variety of ways to eat well (including an occasional splurge) to maintain optimal health and wellbeing. In general, remember to:
- choose more plant-based foods (vegetables, whole grains and fruit) and enjoy animal protein in moderation.
- enjoy a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables every day.
- eat whole grains instead of those that have been processed or highly refined.
- slowly build up to getting 25-40 grams of fiber each day.
5. Manage Your Stress Healthily – We all experience stress, but very few of us possess adequate means to manage stress well. Stress by itself doesn’t cause cancer, but chronic stress can lessen the effectiveness of the immune system. Recognize and use the healthy ways of managing stress that have worked for you in the past, and explore other means that might also be beneficial (examples include laughter, gentle yoga, and exercise). Believe it or not, a gentle breathing exercise can be very effective at lessening stress.
The 4+7+8 Breath - Dr. Russ learned this technique from his mentor, Dr. Andrew Weil.
After getting into a relaxed position, gently place the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth where they meet the gums, and leave it there for the entire exercise. Quietly breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold your breath to a count of 7, and exhale (making just a little bit of noise) through your mouth to a count of 8. Breathe in gently and quietly to bring in peace and quiet, breathe out gently but a little noisily to get rid of tension and anxiety. Count as quickly or as slowly as is comfortable for you, always maintaining the 4+7+8 cadence. Remember to do this exercise either seated or lying down, as you could get dizzy. Repeat the cycle (4+7+8) four times in a row – you can do the 4-cycle series as many times during the day as you like, provided you allow yourself at least 5 minutes between sets.
6. Get a Regular Check Up - Early detection is important to surviving most cancer diagnoses. Annual physicals help to screen for illness, as well as let your doctor get to know you better.
Check out www.cancer.gov for additional helpful information.
FOODS TO LIVE BY
A number of foods may possess potent anti-cancer actions that, when included as part of a healthy diet program, may help keep us well. Keep these foods and drinks handy, and enjoy them often:
Green tea – while white, oolong and black tea all offer some health benefits, a compound found in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may help protect against certain forms of cancer, including breast and prostate.
Brewing Green Tea : In Japan, the preparation and enjoyment of a cup of tea has been formalized in the tea ceremony. While you need not create a ritual around drinking green tea, the 2-3 minutes of steeping required (using a tea bag or loose tea in a strainer) does provide an opportunity to practice your breathing exercise. Steep in water that is hot but not in a rolling boil to prevent bitterness, and try not to use a sweetener. Then enjoy the aroma as you gently sip one of the most popular beverages in the world.
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts – data suggest these and other cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, watercress, radishes and Chinese cabbage) may help protect against colon, breast and prostate cancers. Broccoli is an excellent source of folate, vitamin C, and fiber and a great option for getting calcium from a non-dairy source.
Foods fortified with vitamin D – evidence for the beneficial health effects of vitamin D seems to be increasing daily, and includes potential anti-cancer activity against breast, colon and prostate cancers, and possibly against pancreatic and skin cancer.
There are very few food sources of vitamin D, which was one of the reasons for the fortification of milk in the 1930s. Vitamin D does exist naturally in some animal products as well as fortified cereals and soy milk. Still, the best sources of vitamin D seem to be 10-15 minutes of daily sun exposure and / or taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
Flaxseed – contains fiber as well as compounds called lignans (a type of phytoestrogen, or plant-based estrogen, that may offer health benefits). Flaxseed may have preventive effects against colon, prostate and breast cancer (use ground flaxseed, not flaxseed oil).
Garlic and onions – a number of studies suggest potent anti-cancer activity against stomach, ovarian, colon and prostate cancers – and your breath really doesn't smell that bad if you chew some parsley afterwards.
Processed tomatoes – lycopene, a potent antioxidant, is found in tomatoes but in higher concentrations in processed tomatoes, like tomato sauce (it is also found in watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava). There is evidence that lycopene may help prevent prostate cancer. Tomatoes also contain vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.
Curry dishes – curry dishes are delicious, but also may offer a tasty way to help prevent cancer. Like the plant turmeric, curry contains a compound called curcumin that is attracting widespread attention among scientists for a variety of potential health benefits, including its anti-cancer potential.
Fiber – diets high in fiber may help prevent certain forms of cancer, most notably colon and breast cancers. The goal is to have 25-40 grams of fiber a day, but the daily intake for most Americans is only about 11 grams! Start to increase your fiber intake slowly, focusing on high-fiber foods like peas, bran cereals, whole wheat breads, dried figs and sweet potatoes.
Whether grilling red meat, poultry or seafood, it makes sense to be cautious. Unfortunately, chemicals are formed during the grilling process that may contribute to cancer – but take heart! Following a few simple rules of thumb can help keep us healthy while enjoying our tasty grilled foods:
- Choose lean meats, and trim excess fat
- Cook your meats at lower temperatures and for shorter periods of time (some experts recommend briefly cooking meats in the microwave before placing them on the grill)
- Make it a habit to marinate your meats for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Use marinades that contain vinegar and / or citrus juices.
WHAT ABOUT SOY?
Whether exploring the taste of flavored tempeh, sipping miso soup, snacking on edamame, drinking soy milk or stir frying with tofu, more and more people have come to enjoy cooking with soy foods. In addition to being tasty, soy foods might also be good for us.
Results of research into the potential benefits of eating soy are both intriguing and confusing. Soy appears to behave as a plant-based estrogen, but also possesses anti-estrogenic activity (remember, both men and women have estrogen in their bodies). Some nutrition researchers suggest that eating soy foods may help protect against certain cancers, especially breast and prostate cancers, but there are problems with interpretation of the evidence.
Much of the supportive data about soy and cancer prevention focuses on people raised in Asia. There soy is introduced early and eaten regularly throughout life, while highly processed foods and red meat (the regular intake of which is known to increase the risk of certain cancers) are eaten rarely, if ever. In Asia the incidence of breast and prostate cancers is much lower than in the United States.
Many questions remain to be answered. If soy foods do indeed protect against some cancers, can protection be expected if we begin to eat soy only in our 30s, 40s, 50s or later in life? Since menopausal women have lower levels of estrogen in their bodies, would eating soy increase the risk of breast cancer? And what recommendations might there be for people who have previously experienced breast or prostate cancer?
At present there appears to be no definite answer regarding how often to safely enjoy soy. More information becomes available each month as this is an area of intense research, and your health care partners can help guide you. For most people it appears that eating soy foods a few times a week can be a healthy part of a well-balanced diet. If you have a history of breast or prostate cancer, or have been told that you may be at increased risk, ask your doctor or nutritionist for their opinion about how often you can safely enjoy soy products. Many experts believe soy foods can be enjoyed in moderation even with a history of cancer.
Farmer's Market Stew
|2 tbsp H.T. Traders extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Farmers Market onion, chopped
3 cloves Farmers Market garlic, minced
2 Farmers Market russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 medium Farmers Market carrots, peeled and sliced
3 ½ oz Farmers Market shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 stalks Farmers Market asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
13 ¾ oz H.T. Traders artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen Harris Teeter green peas
½ cup Farmers Market cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 Farmers Market lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil and add the onions and garlic, saute until they are translucent.
Add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the asparagus and cook over low heat until it is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the artichoke hearts, peas, and cilantro. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes longer. If time allows, let the stew stand for an hour before serving. Heat gently as needed; taste and correct the seasonings, add more chicken broth if needed.
Farmer's Market Curry
|2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Farmers Market russett potato, peeled and diced
1 Farmers Market carrot, diced
½ cup Farmers Market cauliflower florets
½ cup Farmers Market broccoli florets
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp H.T. Traders green curry paste
2 inches Farmers Market ginger root, grated
4 cloves Farmers Market garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp Harris Teeter worcestershire sauce
1 Farmers Market tomato, diced
¼ cup of Harris Teeter frozen peas
1 Farmers Market onion, diced
1 Farmers Market green pepper, diced
5 tbsp Farmers Market cilantro, chopped
In a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth, potato and carrots, bring to a boil then add the cauliflower and broccoli stirring constantly and until tender-crisp. Drain vegetables and place in a mixing bowl, save the chicken broth.
In a mixing bowl combine the tomato sauce, curry paste, ginger, and garlic, mix well. In another mixing bowl combine the spices with the worstershire sauce, add the tomato puree/curry mixture. In a large bowl combine the tomato, peas, red onion, and pepper, add the hot vegetables. Add the curry mixture to the reserved chicken broth and pour over the vegetables. Top with cilantro.
|8 oz HT Naturals soy milk
¼ cup Farmers Market strawberries
¼ cup Farmers Market raspberries
1/4 cup Farmers Market blueberries
1 Farmers Market banana
2 tbsp freshly ground flax seed
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tbsp H.T. Traders orange blossom honey
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
|1 Farmers Market onion, chopped
2 cloves of Farmers Market garlic, chopped
2 tbsp H.T. Traders extra virgin olive oil
14 oz can of Harris Teeter whole peeled tomatoes
14 oz can of Harris Teeter petite diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
2 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock
6 large leaves Farmers Market basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until they are translucent. Cut the whole tomatoes into quarters. Add the tomatoes and juice from the can, tomato puree and vegetable stock to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the basil and season with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Serve over pasta, rice or potatoes.
Salmon with Soy Sauce
|½ cup sweet rice wine
4 tbsp H.T. Traders low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp Farmers Market ginger, finely grated
4 six-ounce Fishermans Market salmon filets
½ cup H.T. Traders organic wildflower honey
1 tbsp Farmers Market lime juice
Stir together rice wine, two tablespoons of soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger in a shallow dish. Add salmon, skin side up, and marinate, covered, at room temperature for 10 minutes.
In a non-stick skillet, place the salmon skin side down over medium heat covered, keep the marinade. Combine two tablespoons of soy sauce, honey, and lime juice with the marinade and simmer over medium heat stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4 minutes.
Spoon sauce over filets.