Tag Archives: dried fruit

SUPER IMMUNITY – Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Below is another great article by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  His new book, SUPER IMMUNITY, will be released September 20th…I can’t wait!  To order the book, click here (Amazon) or here (Barnes & Noble).

WHICH FOODS ARE MOST PROTECTIVE AGAINST COLON CANCER?

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 BY JOEL FUHRMAN, M.D.

It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone, and colon and rectal cancers are the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths.1  The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that forty-five percent of these new cases could be prevented by following a few simple lifestyle habits: avoiding processed and red meat, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption.2  But we can do better – imagine the level of protection if we not only avoided carcinogenic foods, but also focused on eating the foods that work on a cellular level to prevent  colon cancer.

So which foods offer us the best protection?

Anti-cancer compounds have been identified in many plant foods: for example cruciferous vegetablesmushrooms, and the onion and garlic family are known to contain substances that can prevent cellular processes involved in cancer development. Certainly, a diet high in fruits and vegetables in general is protective3-5, but many observational studies on diet have not investigated specific food groups, only broad categories like “fruits,” “vegetables,” etc.  But there is a wide range of anti-cancer activity in the wide range of plant foods – for example, kale is more protective than iceberg lettuce.  Identifying these protective plant foods helps us to construct an anti-colon cancer diet.

A recent study aimed to find some specific foods and food groups that protect against colon cancer. Twenty-six years after reporting information about their diets, subjects were asked whether they had undergone screening colonoscopy, and if so, whether they had physician-diagnosed polyps. The majority of colorectal cancers originate from polyps, so polyps are considered a precursor to the development of cancer. This study was part of the larger Adventist Health Study, which studies relationships between diet and chronic disease in members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which emphasizes healthy living in its teachings.

The researchers examined about 25 different foods and food groups. Those that were associated with reduced risk of polyps were cooked green vegetablesdried fruit,legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), and brown rice. All of these displayed dose-dependent effects, meaning that the more of these foods the subjects ate, the more protection they had from colon cancer.6

Green vegetables are rich in folate and isothiocyanates, nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Folate is a B vitamin that is involved in turning genes on and off – this is important in preventing the early cellular events that lead to cancer.  Adequate folate levels are protective against several cancers, including colon cancer. It is important to note, however, that synthetic folic acid from supplements is not protective.7,8  Isothiocyanates are a group of nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables that have a wide variety of cancer preventive properties – they can detoxify or remove carcinogens from healthy cells, kill cancer cells, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and prevent tumors from acquiring a blood supply.9

The protection from beans and other legumes was likely due to their soluble fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes.  Intestinal bacteria ferment these carbohydrates, forming short chain fatty acids such as butyrate.  Butyrate has a number of anti-cancer effects including disrupting cancer cell growth, increasing levels of detoxification enzymes, limiting DNA damage, and preventing tumors from acquiring a blood supply.10-13

High fiber foods, including dried fruit and brown rice (as well as vegetables and beans) help to reduce transit time of gastrointestinal contents through the colon – this reduces the potential contact between dietary toxins or carcinogens and the cells that line the colon.  Reduced transit time is believed to be an important contribution of fiber to the prevention of colon cancer. 14,15  Raisins, probably the most popular dried fruit, have been shown to increase short chain fatty acid production and decrease colon transit time.16,17 In addition to fiber content, dried fruit likely also contributed antioxidant protection of colon cells from DNA damage, which is an early event in the development of cancer.18

Previous studies found a protective effect of berries, citrus fruits, andyellow-orange vegetables, which was likely due to their high concentration of flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants, respectively.10,19,20Additional studies on specific food groups have also found a reduced risk of colon polyps with high intake of green leafy vegetables (many of which are cruciferous), onions, and garlic.12,19

All of these foods contain known anti-cancer compounds, and of course there are thousands of anti-cancer compounds in plant foods that scientists have not yet discovered.  Each of these colorful plant foods contains a spectrum of micronutrients and phytochemicals that work in concert to protect the body against carcinogenic influences. Future studies will continue to reveal these phytochemicals and their anti-cancer properties.

My new book Super Immunity, which will be released September 20, 2011, discusses in depth the connections between diet and cancer.

For Dr. Fuhrman’s references from this article click here.

Book image courtesy of Barnes & Noble.

Image of kale courtesy of diseaseproof.com

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Filed under Books, Cancer, Education, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Ultimate Energy Bar Formula – The No Meat Athlete

I have been following Matt Frazier’s blog, the No Meat Athlete for some time now.  Matt is a running fanatic who is fueled exclusively by plants, thus the title, No Meat Athlete.  Matt ran his first marathon on 2002, but it wasn’t until he became a vegetarian that he qualified for the Boston Marathon.  He has since moved on to ultrarunning…we are talking 50K, 50 miles, and beyond (all fueled by a plant-based diet)!!!  If that is not inspirational, then I don’t know what is. Matt has great tips on his site for running and athletics in general as well as product reviews and recipes (He also sells really cute shirts).  Today Matt has graciously agreed to share his go to formula for energy bars.  We have all bought them, but did any of you realize how easy (and how much less expensive) they are to make at home?  Matt’s sister-in-law came-up with the winning formula.  What’s great about using a formula versus a recipe is how easy it is to customize it to each person’s taste…some people would go gaga for a chocolate peanut butter energy bar and other people would prefer a cranberry walnut bar…to each their own. Today’s Guest Blog will not disappoint.

The Ultimate Energy Bar Formula

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound can of beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • ½ cup binder
  • ¼ cup sweetener
  • ¼ cup soft sweet fruit
  • 1 teaspoon of extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dry spice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats (you can toast them if you want but I can’t tell the difference)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient
  • 1 cup stir-ins

In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice, and salt until smooth.  Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine.  Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine.  If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good.  If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient. Grease 13×9 pan with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Note: You’ll have the most success if you use unsalted, unsweetened versions of the ingredients, and control the sweetness and saltiness through the sweetener and added salt.

Recommended beans

  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Adzuki beans

Recommended binders

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of ground flax seed mixed with ¼ cup water
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • Mashed avocado

Recommended sweeteners

  • Maple syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey (if you’re not vegan)

Recommended soft, sweet fruit

  • Applesauce
  • Mashed banana (about half of one)
  • Chopped dates (remove the pits!)
  • Crushed pineapple

Recommended optional extracts

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Coffee

Recommended dry spices

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  •  Instant coffee

*For stronger spices like nutmeg and cardamom, use just a ¼-½ teaspoon and combine with less intense spices like cinnamon. Recommended dry base ingredient (a combination is usually best)

  • Protein powder (we’re fans of hemp, rice, and pea protein)
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Cocoa (max ½ cup)
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Buckwheat flour

Recommended stir-ins

  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Dry cereal
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Chocolate chips

So that’s the basic formula! To help get you started, here are three variations Christine came up with.  For each of them, follow the same procedure from above for mixing and baking.

Example #1: chocolate black bean happy bars

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa + ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup shredded coconut + ½ cup raisins

Example #2: cranberry-pistachio protein bars

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup binder: ¼ cup of ground flax seed with ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup pistachios + ½ cup dried cranberries

Example #3: maple pumpkin health bars

  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (Christine used more maple syrup in place of the sweet fruit here, for more maple flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup raisin bran cereal

So there you go, three examples to get you started.  But really, the point is for you to create your own, using the basic formula as the framework.  So I hope you’ll do that, and let us know what you come up with! Photo courtesy of the No Meat Athlete. Click here to read the original post.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Breakfast, Dessert, Energy Bars, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian