Eat your medicine
Because poor nutrition causes an estimated 166,000 of more than 500,000 total deaths from cancer each year, the American Cancer Society has compiled a “short list” of foods that can help prevent cancer. The society based the list on extensive scientific evidence identifying these foods as possible cancer fighters. According to the society, three foods or food categories have the most scientific proof of cancer prevention:
• Soybeans. Foods made from this legume, including tofu, tempeh, and roasted soybeans, contain compounds called isoflavones–chemicals linked to a lower risk of acquiring breast and uterine cancers. Asian women have a lower rate of these hormone-dependent cancers than Western women, and the society’s report states that the Asians’ higher consumption of soybeans may be one reason why.
• Bioflavonoids. These nutrients are found in vegetables belonging to the Cruciferae family, such as cabbage and cauliflower. Bioflavonoids may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, according to the society.
• Antioxidants. Grains, citrus fruits, and vegetables contain antioxidants, substances that fight cell-damaging free radicals. Including these foods in your daily diet may reduce the risk of cancer caused by free radicals, the society reports.
Eating one serving of soy products daily, such as one-half cup of tofu, is good preventive medicine, according to Jeffrey Bland’s The 20-Day Rejuvenation Diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that the daily diet include three to five servings of vegetables, two to four servings of fruit, and six to eleven servings of grains.(1)
New to the grocer’s refrigerated section are eggs enriched with omega-3 fatty acids from hens fed a diet containing flaxseed.
The herb is rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by keeping arteries open and unclogged. Essential fatty acids are crucial for normal brain development, joint lubrication, and a well-functioning immune system. They metabolize other nutrients, produce blood, create cell membranes, carry oxygen throughout the body, and regulate cell division.
One egg from hens fed with flaxseed contains as much omega-3 as a four-ounce serving of tuna, another rich source of omega-3. The cholesterol and fat content of the enriched eggs, however, is the same as in conventional eggs.(2)
(1) Harvard Women’s Health Watch March 1997, 4, 7:1.
(2) “New Eggs Coming.” Mayo Clinic Health Letter March 1997, 15:3.