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Cooking for cancer prevention.

Cooking For Cancer Prevention

Cancer has been known to exist for thousands of years, but until the twentieth century it was a rare disease. Now, however, it is the second leading cause of death in America. Billions of dollars have gone toward research and treatment, but in the fifteen years that followed former President Nixon's 1971 declaration of a war on cancer, deaths from the disease increased by 40%. Where had we gone wrong? Quite possibly in our kitchens.

Dietary factors have been linked with some 50% of cancers. Fats and oils seem to be the prime culprits in cancer of the breast, colon, and prostate and perhaps in other cancers as well. To make a marked difference in lessening one's cancer risk, fat intake may need to go as low as 20% of calories. According to Physicians for Responsible Medicine, "For a person having 2,00 calories a day, this amounts to a limit of about nine teaspoons of oil or fat each day. A cup of whole milk contains almost two teaspoons of fat . . . Just ten potato chips hold about two teaspoons of fat. On the other hand, grains, beans, vegetables and fruits are generally quite low in fat."

Those low-fat foods are also the ones that may have unique properties for cancer prevention. They're rich in fiber, which may deter the onset of colon and rectal cancer, and some of the vegetables and fruits contain substances that have been indicated to protect against cancer. Among these substances are vitamin C (found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers) and beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A found in vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes and in fruits like apricots and cantaloupe. Other naturally occuring chemicals that may shield the body from this disease are the "indoles" and "aromatic isothiocyanates" present in vegetables of the cabbage family: red and green cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower.

Although the diet/cancer connection is not as strong as that linking food intake and heart disease, there is enough evidence to make necessary a few changes in the direction of what could well be an anti-cancer diet. Conveniently, those same changes are heart-healthy and can do wonders for a waistline.

Suggested Recipes

2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups cubed sweet potatoes

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 Tbls. olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

Steam cabbage, sweet potatoes, and onions until tender. Mash cabbage and potatoes together well with a fork. Add onion, salt, and oil; mix all ingredients. Turn into non-stick or lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 [degrees] for 20 minutes. Four servings.

1 bunch fresh broccoli (or 1 box frozen, chopped)
1 tsp. dried onion flakes

1/4 cup diced celery 1/2 cup water

2 tsp. vegetable broth mix

(e.g. Bernard Jensen's Broth or Seasoning)

Dissolve broth in warm water. Arrange vegetables in baking dish. Pour broth over them and bake at 350 [degrees] for half an hour. Serves four.


6 medium carrots

1/2 cup water
1 Tbls. olive oil
2 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. dry mustard Freshly ground pepper

Put oil and water in large fry pan with cover. Add carrots, peeled and cut into julienne strips. Add salt and steam covered until tender. (This should take 15 to 30 minutes, but check after 10 minutes to see if you need to add more water.) Mix the honey, mustard, and pepper, and add to the cooked carrots, stirring well to coat them. Simmer a few minutes longer, and serve immediately.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Vegetus Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Moran, Victoria
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
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