The Sweet Potato Story

1. Did you know that a medium-sized sweet potato contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin A, nearly a third the vitamin C you need, almost 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake and 10 percent of the necessary potassium?

2. Did you know that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene?  And that the beta-carotene and vitamin C in these tubers work together to rid the body of cancer-friendly free radicals?

3. Well did you know diabetics can eat sweet potatoeswithout worry as they have a low glycemic index?

4. How about the fact that they contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health, especially for women.

It's important to have some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable. Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. This can be 1 Tbs. of virgin olive oil (also recommended for breast cancer suppression) per serving for 4.

Organically grown sweet potatoes are free from the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and inorganic sprays. They cook relatively quickly and are rather versatile, lending themselves both to sweet or savory dishes.
Below is a recipe I adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi , so it fits in with our Anti-Cancer Diet.  Instead of pan frying, we're going to bake these patties, and instead of dairy yogurt we're using soy or coconut yogurt.

SWEET POTATO CAKES (Vegetarian and Gluten Free)

  • 1 3/4 lbs peeled organic Sweet Potatoes, cut in large chunks
  • 2 tsp. organic Butter or Coconut oil, plus more for cooking
  • 2 Tbs. organic Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Tamari sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • pinch of Red Pepper flakes
  • Scant 1/2 c. organic Oat flour (gluten-free)
  • 1 Omega-3 Egg, well whisked

Sauce

  • 1/2 c. Soy or Coconut Yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped organic Dill
  • 2" section of organic Cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. organic Red Onion, thinly sliced (opt.)
  • pinch of Sea Salt and Black pepper

Steam the potatoes until tender throughout. Set aside in a colander to drain and cool.

While the potatoes cook, warm the butter or oil in a cast iron pan. Sauté the green onions in 1 Tbs. coconut oil over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, blend all of the yogurt sauce ingredients, besides the dill, together in a mini blender or food processor. Lastly, add the dill and give it one or two more whirls just to blend. Set aside.

When the potatoes have released most of their moisture, transfer them to a bowl and mix them with the tamari sauce, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and flour to combine. You want the mix to be tacky not wet, add more flour if it seems too moist to hold shape. Add the green onions and egg and mix to combine.

Add enough coconut oil to baking sheet to coat lightly.

Drop potatoes by 2 Tablespoonfuls onto sheet, and flatten into patties. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes, flipping after 6 minutes. Add another 2 -3 minutes if not quite browned on top.

Remove to a plate. Serve with some lightly dressed greens and a generous portion of the sauce. Garnish with a dill stem.

These would be so wonderful with a poached egg and a few leaves of watercress on top.

~ Enjoy!

The Whey Protein Way .. to Better Health

Whey Protein: We’ve known since 2003 that eating curds and whey may be good for more than just nursery rhyme characters. A study showed whey protein may play a role in prostate cancer prevention. Whey is a liquid byproduct of the cheese production process and is rich in protein. Researchers found that when they treated human prostate cells in the lab with whey protein, the levels of an antioxidant called glutathione rose dramatically. Antioxidants like glutathione are thought to fight cancer-causing free radicals.

According to NIH: Whey protein concentrate has been shown to represent an effective and safe cysteine donor for glutathione (GSH) replenishment during GSH depletion in immune deficiency states. Cysteine is the crucial limiting amino acid for intracellular GSH synthesis.

Animal experiments showed that the concentrates of whey proteins also exhibit anti-carcinogenesis and anti-cancer activity. They do this via their effect on increasing GSH concentration in relevant tissues, and may have anti-tumor effect on low volume of tumor via stimulation of immunity through the GSH pathway. It is considered that oxygen radical generation is frequently a critical step in carcinogenesis, hence the effect of GSH on free radicals as well as carcinogen detoxification, could be important in inhibiting carcinogenesis. Case reports are presented which strongly suggest an anti-tumor effect of a whey protein dietary supplement in some urogenital cancers.

Have one to two scoops of  a high quality, low sugar and additives, Whey protein in a Shake or mixed with filtered cool water 4 - 5 times a week.

Make room for Mushrooms.. It's What's for Dinner

Chanterelle Mushroom – Chicken Pie

Adapted from Tom's recipe at www.tallcloverfarm.com

For the vegetarian version, omit the chicken and add three pounds of mushrooms.  This is a great vegetarian pie as chanterelles are meaty little guys with rich texture.

You will need:

  • Two Pie Crusts: Your favorite Whole Wheat,  Spelt (Whole Foods has a wonderful frozen Spelt crust), or Gluten Free crust of your choice
  • 1.5 lb Chanterelle mushrooms
  • 3 T. Virgin Olive oil
  • 1.5 lb organic, free-range Chicken
  • 1 T. whole wheat Flour
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 1 c. Soy Yogurt (Sour Cream if you can eat dairy)
  1. Sauté mushrooms in oil, until tender and most liquid evaporates
  2. Add onion, sauté until translucent
  3. Add diced chicken to pan, cook until tender
  4. Add flour, stir, cook for a few more minutes for thickening
  5. Add lemon juice and yogurt and stir. Let cool to room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 F. Place baking sheet in oven.

Line crust in 9-inch pie plate (10-inch works, too).

Add cooled filling to crust. Place second crust on top and crimp edges. Vent top crust by making 5 – 6 cuts with a knife.

Brush top crust with egg wash (one egg, 1 t. water, mixed).

Place pie on baking sheet in oven, on the middle rack. Bake for 15 minutes, or until top crust begins to brown.

Lower temperature to 350º F, continue baking for another 30 – 35 minutes, until golden and center is firm.

Serve warm (reheats well).

chanterelle mushroom pie Slicin Up Some Chanterelle Mushroom Piephoto credit: http://www.tallcloverfarm.com

Serve with a green salad and roasted balsamic asparagus!

 ~ Bon Apetit!

Eat Wild Thyme for a Wild Time!

Thyme, botanically known as Thymus vulgaris, is a perennial garden herb that has been employed since ancient times for medicinal and culinary uses.The World's Healthiest Foodsnotes that thyme has traditionally been associated with courage, with medieval women giving sprigs of thyme to knights going into battle; it has also been used as an herbal remedy for a host of ailments (PMS, Indigestion, Coughs..). It is an excellent source of iron and manganese, a very good source of calcium and a food source of dietary fiber.Since the 16th century, thyme oil has been used for its antiseptic properties, both as mouthwash and a topical application. Thyme tea, rich in volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols and flavonoids, is a healthy beverage choice. One of the popular culinary herb plants, thyme is native to Southern Europe and Mediterranean regions.

For thousands of years, herbs and spices have been used to help preserve foods and protect them from microbial contamination. Research shows that both thyme and basil contain constituents that can both prevent contamination and decontaminate previously contaminated foods.

Thymol has been found to protect and significantly increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes and other cell structures. In particular, the amount of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes was increased after dietary supplementation with thyme.

In Lebanon we use green and dried thyme extensively.  Dried thyme mixed with sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt is called Zaatar.

It is the main ingredient in the most traditional breakfast food, namely the Man'oushi...or Zaatar pie, which is sold in every bakery and many street vendor carts.

Mom was certain to serve us Zaatar on mornings when we had exams at school.  She said it helped with memory.  Although she wouldn't have known science was behind her belief, she was right!

 (photo courtesy of Stephen Masry)

Culinary Tips

Green wild thyme makes a very healthy salad!  Serve it with grilled meats and fish, or accompanied by Feta cheese and tomatoes for breakfast.  I like to use it in place of Oregano in some pasta dishes.  Dry Zaatar is delicious sprinkled on yogurt, hummus and plain omelets.

You can find Zaatar at most Middle Eastern markets. Make sure you choose Jordanian or Lebanese Zaatar.  There are some inferior products out there that taste like dirt!

Amending Store Bought Zaatar

For each cup of store bought Zaatar (Middle Eastern Thyme mix) you will need:

  • 1 Tbs. dried Sumac (available at Middle Eastern markets in packets or jars) 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 2 tsp. toasted Sesame Seeds (even if there are some in the mix)

Mix all together and store in airtight jars in the refrigerator for 6 months, or freeze for up to 2 years.

Green Wild Thyme Salad

  • 1 bunch of green Wild Thyme, rinsed and leaves picked off stems
  • 1 very small Onion (yellow or white), finely chopped
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped organic Green Onion
  • Juice from 1 freshly squeezed Lemon
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt (opt.)

Mix all together in non-metal bowl.  Serve at room temperature for best flavor.

~ Sahtein! (double health) 

Are You from Brussels? Then Why so Bitter?

The Case of the  Brussels Sprout

This is not the story of a young boy from Brussels and how he wound up in Court....

This is the story of a Sprout accused of being bitter and unfriendly.  The first mention of this sprout is traced to the late 16th century. It is thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near Brussels, after which it was named.

This Sprout is a member of the Brassica family and therefore related to Broccoli and Cabbage. It takes after its Uncle the Cabbage, but is a mini version, with a diameter of about 1 inch.  Don't be fooled by its size however!  And watch what you say because a Sprout grows up with a bunch of 20 to 40 other Sprouts, on the stem of a plant that grows as high as three feet tall!

These miniature-sized vegetables contain the largest content of anticancer phytochemical compounds such as glucosinolates1.

Much like broccoli, the indole-3-carbinol has been found to reduce cancer growth especially for estrogen dependent cancers (e.g. uterine, breast, cervical).

In order to plead the case for this Sprout I lay before you the following:

Character Traits *

  • Brussels sprouts can help us avoid chronic, excessive inflammation
  • You'll find nearly 100 studies in PubMed (the health research database at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.) that are focused on Brussels sprouts, and over half of those studies involve the health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable in relationship to cancer
  • They provide us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether they are raw or cooked. When the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed Brussels sprouts was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine, Brussels sprouts bound 27% as many bile acids
  • The fiber content of Brussels sprouts: 4 grams in every cup makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support.
  • They lend us Anti-oxidant support. In one study examining total intake of antioxidant polyphenols in France (where the Sprout has long been restored to its position of respect) found Brussels sprouts to be a more important dietary contributor to these antioxidants than any other cruciferous vegetable, including broccoli!
  • The detox support provided by Brussels sprouts is extensive. Brussels sprouts are an outstanding source of glucosinolates.  There is evidence from human studies that enzyme systems in our cells required for detoxification of cancer-causing substances can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts.

* HealthDiaries.com: 11 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

It Takes Proper Cooking to Bring Out the Sprout's Goodness!

Perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts have a crisp, dense texture and a slightly sweet, bright, and "green" taste. Steaming the Sprouts increases their health benefit potency.

Steam them

Bring a scant 1/2 inch salted water to boil in a large frying pan or saute pan. Add Brussels sprouts, cover, and cook until sprouts are tender to the bite and water has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes (depending on how crisp you like them).

In a Steamer Basket:   Bring about an inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pot into which your steamer basket or insert fits. Put cleaned Brussels sprouts in the steamer basket, set over the boiling water, cover, and steam until tender to the bite, about 5-7 minutes.

You can toss them with Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil, salt and pepper; with virgin Olive Oil, lemon, salt and pepper; or with Pasta Sauce!

Roast them

  • 1 1/2 lbs. organic Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves discarded
  • 3 tsp. virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. organic Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice.

Rinse Sprouts. Toss all ingredients together.

Place in oven proof dish and roast at 400º for 35 minutes. When done sprinkle with lemon juice and toss.

Braise them

Braising, or slow cooking in liquid on the stove, is a great way to elicit Brussels sprouts' natural, nutty flavor.

~ I rest my case. 

This Chia Seed Walked into a Muffin..

 What's It All About...?

Chia seeds have been a staple food source for the American Native people for centuries. Aztec warriors would eat Chia during hunting trips, and the Indians of the Southwest would eat only Chia seed mixed with water as they ran from the Colorado River to the Pacific Ocean to trade products.

A list of the health benefits this tiny seed offers us:

  1. Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are the best plant source of omega-3's known. They contain over 60% essential fatty acids. They contain more omega-3's than flax-seed. Omega fatty acids are important for concentration and brain health as well as other metabolic processes.
  2. Easy access - As we've discussed here, Flax seeds provide us with fantastic health benefits. Chia seeds are even better than flax in terms of ease of access to the nutrition. Chia seeds do not need to be ground for their nutrients to be available to the body.
  3. Antioxidant protection -They are loaded with antioxidants
  4. Vitamins and minerals - Chia seeds provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc, and even boron (which helps the absorbing of calcium by the body).
  5. Gluten Free - Chia is a gluten-free source of fiber and nutrition: (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
  6. High source of protein - Chia is composed of over 20% protein, which is about 2 to 3 times higher than other seeds and grains. If you are a vegetarian looking for protein sources, check out Chia!  The protein source in Chia is readily digestible and available to the body.
  7. Low glycemic index - Chia has an extremely low glycemic index of 1, and actually helps to lower the rate at which other carbohydrates are converted to sugars.

Unlike flax, Chia seeds won't go rancid and they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body.

When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, Chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.

Chia has a nutty flavor. You can mix seeds in water and add your favorite juice for a refreshing drink.  Sprinkle ground or whole Chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods.

Some Tips...

  1. Blend chia seeds into your smoothie
  2. Make a “lassie” by blending chia seeds, yogurt and fruit juice
  3.  Add ground chia seeds to flour when making bread
  4. Add whole chia seeds to cake batter to make a poppy seed like cake
  5. Add seeds to stews to thicken
  6. Throw some seeds into stir fry
  7. Sprinkle seeds over salad
  8. Pureed fruit, chia seeds and a little fruit juice is a good topping for ice cream
  9. Stir whole seeds into cooked lentil dish
  10. Soak seeds in the beaten eggs and veggies to make a frittata
  11. Cook brown rice in vegetable stock and stir chia seeds through when rice is cooked
  12. Add whole or ground seeds to cookie mix
  13. Mix ground seeds with ground organic, free-range ground chicken and spices to make meatballs

Can you think of more ways to use them? Write and let me know...

Be Well! 

The Overlooked, Misunderstood Dandelion

Once upon a time there was a tall, slender green plant called a Dandelion.  Its name came from 'Dent-de-lion' which means lion's tooth in French.  This is due to its jagged edged leaves. dandelionUnfortunately, when you say 'Dandelion' many people think of the tiny yellow flowers and the stemmed puffs of white wispy hairs that crop up in their lawns, disturbing the otherwise monotonous green blanket of grass.  It is treated like an unwelcome visitor, annoying and over-staying its welcome.

Aaah, if they only knew who this disguised visitor really was, not only would they welcome it, they would shove the grass over to make permanent space for it!

As said; "The war on lawn weeds in general -- not just dandelions -- is based on the notion that "the lawn is meant to showcase the diligence of the person who owns it. According to this view, lawns should be uniformly composed of grass, with no "intruders" permitted.

But others would argue that dandelions bear rather attractive flowers, whose yellow hue complements a green lawn nicely. "While the flower isn't bad," perhaps you object, "the seed head that succeeds it is unsightly." Even so, there are easy ways to minimize the impact of dandelions on the lawn, as long as you're willing to show some tolerance toward their presence. One way is to pluck the flowers as they appear. Another is to eat your weed problems away! "

Unveiling the Dandelion

The Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, which means the "Official Remedy for Disorders", is so well-respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.

According to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. According to data, dandelions are nature's richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.

This perennial has been known since ancient times for its curative properties and has been used for the treatment of various ailments such as infections, bile and liver problems, some cancers, dyspepsia, heartburn, spleen and liver complaints, hepatitis and anorexia. However, its use has mainly been based on empirical findings. There is evidence to suggest it may have anti-inflammatory effects and assist with urinary tract infections in women. 

Note: Due to its high potassium level, dandelion may increase the risk of hyperkalemia when taken with potassium-sparing diuretics.

The Plea

Now will you let it hang out in your yard?  Ok then, here's yet another reason...It's DELICIOUS!!

Sautéed with garlic, cilantro and lemon it beats Spinach in flavor...and  used in salads it adds a nice slightly bitter 'edge', much like escarole.

The following is my favorite Dandelion Greens Salad...it's quick and simple to prepare.'

Hoda's Simple Dandelion Salad

  • 4 cups chopped organic Dandelion leaves
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin (opt)

Combine all in a deep bowl, toss well and serve.

~ Compliments whole grain, lentil and bean dishes. Also good with roasted chicken.

Flax Seeds - Benefits and Use

Flax seeds contain an omega-3 fatty acid known as linolenic acid (LNA). It is thought the LNA content in flax seeds slow the development of some cancers as well as increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy medication.   It decreases the inflammatory compounds that favor cancer development and suppress the immune system.

LNA is also thought to have a direct action on cancer cells, stopping their inability for apoptosis and ability for angiogenesis.

Flax seeds also serves as a leading source of lignans, phytoestrogens that influence the balance of estrogens in the body and help protect against breast cancer.Krups grinder amazon

Flax seeds must be ground fresh and used within 24 hours for their nutrients to be accessible.

An easy way to get flax seeds into your diet is by grinding a tablespoon in a coffee grinder or a mini food processor and adding it to cereal, oatmeal, or mix it in a fruit smoothie.

 

Do not heat the flax seeds because that will destroy the anti-cancer benefits. The omega-3 consumption that is derived from flax seeds is better complemented when omega-6 consumption is decreased (meat, eggs, and various vegetable oils).

Nutrient Analysis

Two tablespoons of ground flax seed provide 4g of fiber, including 2g soluble and 2g insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber binds with water in the stomach, helping to delay stomach emptying time to make you feel full longer, and lowers cholesterol levels.

Insoluble fiber helps to promote bowel regularity and keep waste moving through the body to prevent constipation, per the American Heart Association.

Also, a 2 tablespoon serving of flax seed can provide about 3.5g of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids; 90 to 100 calories; 4g to 5g fat; 3g of protein; and lignans, phytochemicals shown to have antioxidant capabilities that which can help to lower your risk for cancers and heart disease.

Ways to Incorporate Flax in Your Diet

Try adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed to hot cereal, coconut or soy yogurt, applesauce, mashed sweet potatoes, gluten-free bread dough, muffin mixes, condiments and berry smoothies.

Flax seed oil can be drizzled over cooked vegetables, mixed in salad dressings, or even in soups.

Freshly ground flax seeds can be used as a substitute for the fat in a recipe. If a recipe calls for eggs, you can use 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water to replace each egg.

Remember that you are increasing your fiber intake when you eat more flax, so it's important to drink enough fluids to avoid constipation.

~ Cheers!

Garbanzo Beans

Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans originated in the Middle East, the region of the world whose cultures heavily rely on this high protein legume. The first record of garbanzo beans being consumed dates back about seven thousand years. They were first cultivated in the Middle East around 3000 BC. Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. The fiber from garbanzo beans helps supports the energy needs of your intestine.

It is recommended that you consume 1–2 cups of legumes per day, at least 4 days per week, to help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.

Garbanzo beans also contain more concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients. The mineral manganese - a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells - is also provided in excellent amounts by garbanzo beans.

~ Pass the hummus!

Artichoke - The Secret Warrior!

Native to the Mediterranean region, the artichoke is the edible flower bud of a thistle-like plant in the sunflower family. While its thorny leaves may deter us from approaching it; a treasure lies at its heart.

Although artichokes have been eaten for more than 3000 years. California produces 100 percent of the U.S. commercial artichoke crop, rivaled in popularity only in France and Italy.

Artichokes are a good dietary source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2, and includes some folate, manganese, and zinc. Artichokes have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-genotoxic, liver-protective and hypoglycemic activities, as well as reducing cholesterol and ameliorating indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.

There are over 200 scientific articles on artichoke or one of its phytochemical. Researchers at the University of Georg-August in Germany showed that one of its phytochemical interfered with estrogen receptor which promoted the secretion of PSA in prostate cancer. Furthermore, this functional food possesses the ability to inhibit the angiogenesis related to cancer. Other studies demonstrated anti-proliferation and apoptotic proprieties and also inhibit inflammation.

In 2008, scientists from Rome showed that the edible parts of the artichoke had a “marked antioxidative potential” that protects normal liver cells from oxidative stress. It also reduced the viability of cancer cells and led to their programmed cell death, or apoptosis.  (Miccadei S, Di Venere D, Cardinali A, et al. Antioxidative and apoptotic properties of polyphenolic extracts from edible part of artichoke (Cynara scolymus L) on cultured rat hepatocytes and on human hepatoma cells. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60:276-283)

Artichoke extract has been shown to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in triple negative breast cancer cells in the laboratory. Flavone components of artichoke (apigenin and luteolin) have been shown to induce apoptosis across a variety of breast cancer cell lines.

So, artichoke seems like a healthy veggie choice!

You can simply steam or add artichokes to stews, but for those who can't do that every day and want a more consistent ingestion, there are supplements made from concentrated leaf extract. They are not expensive: on the Internet they sell for 5 to 10 cents per capsule.

A standard dose has not been established, but in studies on indigestion patients have taken one to two 320 mg capsules three times per day, preferably with meals.

Resources:

1. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(2):276-83. Antioxidative and apoptotic properties of polyphenolic extracts from edible part of artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) on cultured rat hepatocytes and on human hepatoma cells. Miccadei S, Di Venere D, Cardinali A, Romano F, Durazzo A, Foddai MS, Fraioli R, Mobarhan S, Maiani G. 2. Phytother Res. 2008 Feb;22(2):165-8. Growth inhibitory effect of ethyl acetate-soluble fraction of Cynara cardunculus L. in leukemia cells involves cell cycle arrest, cytochrome c release and activation of caspases. Nadova S, Miadokova E, Mucaji P, Grancai D, Cipak L.

~ Be Well.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (Organic)

Mom said 'Eat Your Veggies'..and we pouted. But Mom was wiser than we ever suspected!
 

Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory, dandelion and Swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of and flavonoids.

Carotenoids are a group of phytonutrients that lend the red, orange and yellow hues to fruits and vegetables...beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, etc..  Carotenoids are present in all living organisms, but humans are not able to make them and must get them from food.

Carotenoids seem to prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants. Some laboratory research has found that the carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.

The Second Expert Report noted probable evidence that foods containing folate decrease risk of pancreatic cancer and that foods containing dietary fiber probably reduce one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer.

Tea for Two? As Long as it's Green!

Two recent large population studies have shown that cancer patients who drink ample amounts of green tea have significantly longer survival rates. No other beverage contains this level of antioxidants. You can replace some of your water drinking with chilled green tea, add lemon, ginger or mint for variety, or add a Chai or Earl Gray tea bag.

Did you know you can cook with green tea?  What a great way to get the recommended amount in your diet.  Replace water or half the liquid called for in a recipe with green tea... for example in baking, soups and stews.

Green tea is unfermented, unlike black teas. White tea is harvested before the leaves are fully open.

DRAGON WELL is the ultimate green tea. It is distinguished by its bright green color.  It has a brisk, full-bodied flavor. The leaves can be added to soups and stir-frys. This tea will cost a little more than other green teas.

GUNPOWDER leaves are rolled in tiny balls that look like the old gunpowder used to. This reduces its exposure to oxygen so it stays fresh longer than other teas. It has a somewhat strong grassy flavor. I like to add almond milk and a bit of Stevia to my tea.

MATCHA powdered tea is made from hand-picked, high-grade Japanese green tea leaves.  Whisk it into warm (not boiling) water) to make it frothy. Matcha works as a dessert ingredient. Scientists at the University of Colorado have found that Matcha has 200 times the concentration of EGCG* compared to commercially available green tea!

Scientists have identified at least one of the mechanisms by which EGCG seems to work to fight cancer: it inhibits a key “signaling pathway,” called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is responsible for transmitting instructions at the molecular level to cancer cells, prompting them to grow and multiply.

SENCHA is the most popular of the Japanese green teas. It has a lightly astringent yet sweet taste. Lesser quality Sencha is called Bancha.

How to Brew:

  1. Never brew your tea in aluminum pots...actually I don't use aluminum against ANY foods or beverages...acids will break aluminum down. )If you wrap pizza in foil and wait a few hours, you'll see holes in the foil it contacted the tomato sauce!)
  2. Use filtered water
  3. Remove water from heat when it starts to stir, but before it boils
  4. Allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes before pouring over tea
  5. Use 1 teabag or 1 tsp. leaves per 8 oz. cup
  6. Cover to exclude oxygen
  7. Allow to steep for 2-3 minutes if bags or cut leaf, and 15-20 minutes if loose, whole leaf
  8. Strain and remove bags
  9. You can use a tea bag twice
  10. Brew a pitcher at a time (3-6 cups), so you can drink it all day,  or brew a pitcher at night and refrigerate for the next day

*Note: EGCG  is a naturally occurring compound that is found mainly in Green Tea. It is a powerful antioxidant and makes up about 30% to 42% of the content of green tea. Catechins like EGCG are much more powerful than vitamins like A, C and E in defending your body against "free radicals", which do all kinds of damage to the body; speeding up the aging process, causing cancer, triggering Alzhiemers disease and other chronic diseases.

Watercress, organic

Here's a surprise...even though it may appear to be a shy little green plant, watercress is grouped in the cruciferous vegetable family (like cabbage and broccoli). It packs the power of Glucosinolates, compounds that cause the release of watercress’ primary anticancer compound, phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC).  PEITC has been found to protect against cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and colon, as well as lung cancer. It has also been found to exhibit great toxicity against cancer cells from leukemia, colon, and prostate cancer.

"Molecular oncologist Professor Graham Packham and colleagues at Britain’s University of Southampton studied a small group of breast cancer survivors, who underwent a period of fasting before eating 80g of watercress and then providing a series of blood samples over the next 24 hours. Results showed that ingestion of watercress led to a rapid rise in plasma levels of ... (PEITC)."  Read full article here.

And you thought it was just a pretty garnish!  Add generously to your salads, sandwiches and sauces!

~ Greenly yours!

Citrus Fruits (Organic)

Studies have proven that eating citrus fruits is associated with a decrease in cancer development. This is particularly true in digestive tract cancers, those of the pharynx, esophageal, mouth, and stomach. Recent studies have found that children who consume orange juice in the first two years of life have a decreased risk of leukemia.

Squeeze lemon juice in warm water and drink before a meal, or use in salads or on veggies.  Eating the rind of organic citrus fruit is highly recommended. I don't mind munching the rind plain. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, you can grate it and add to soups, salads, muffins, salsa, tea...

Lemon juice creates an alkaline environment in our bodies. Most cancers and bacteria can't thrive in an alkaline body. The guiding principle used by the immune clinic I speak of and spent three weeks at in Southern California, is keeping the body alkaline to reverse or halt cancer in their patients.

The phytochemicals in citrus fruits block tumor growth by direct action, restricting their ability to reproduce. Also citrus fruits may have effect on the body’s modulation of carcinogenic substance detoxification.

If you have or had cancer, then only moderate you consumption of oranges and orange juice is recommended since it is high in sugar, but no limit to the consumption of lemons!

~ Pucker up!

Garlic

Garlic, like its cousins the onion and the shallot, is a member of the Allium family that is infamously distinctive for its strong odor. Surprisingly, the origin of garlic’s characteristic smell is also the explanation behind its anticancer abilities. The high content of the odorous sulfur-containing compounds diallyl sulfide (DAS) and diallyl disulfide (DADS) play the principal role in cancer prevention: they have the ability to prevent carcinogenic damage to healthy cells by reducing reactivity of carcinogens with healthy cells and by accelerating the elimination of the harmful carcinogens from the body.  It is also believed that DAS may directly attack tumor cells and destroy them by triggering tumor cell death.

Garlic has been found to be most advantageous in the prevention of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancers. It also may play a role in prostate, breast, and lung cancer.

A Queen's-led team has discovered the reason why garlic is so good for us. Chemistry professor Derek Pratt led the study. Their findings are published in the January 2009 issue of the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

The research team questioned the ability of allicin to trap damaging radicals so effectively, and considered the possibility that a decomposition product of allicin may instead be responsible. Through experiments with synthetically-produced allicin, they found that an acid produced when the compound decomposes rapidly reacts with radicals.

"Basically the allicin compound has to decompose in order to generate a potent antioxidant," explains Dr. Pratt, who is Canada Research Chair in Free Radical Chemistry. "The reaction between the sulfenic acid and radicals is as fast as it can get, limited only by the time it takes for the two molecules to come into contact. No one has ever seen compounds, natural or synthetic, react this quickly as antioxidants."

The researcher is confident that a link exists between the reactivity of the sulfenic acid and the medicinal benefits of garlic. "...until now there has been no convincing explanation as to why garlic is beneficial," says Dr. Pratt. "I think we have taken the first step in uncovering a fundamental chemical mechanism which may explain garlic's medicinal benefits."

  •  Garlic is most effective if crushed, chopped or eaten raw in salad dressings and salsa
  • A clove a day keeps the doctor away, and 2 or 3 will prevent a cold (see my cold remedy under Diet and Nutrition /Herbs and Spices)
  •  If a recipe calls for garlic, wait until the last 10 minutes of cooking to add the garlic
  •  Be careful not to eat too much as garlic can irritate your digestive system... I don't think you'll have any problem eating  3-4 cloves a day
  •  Don’t microwave garlic - it this kills the active ingredients!

I will be adding plenty of recipes that call for my friend the 'stinky rose'.

~ Chewing raw parsley will help get rid of garlic breath!