Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Author: Sonja Goedkoop
Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the lead registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.
What time is it? GAME FOOD TIME! Football season is getting intense, and it’s the perfect time to host a party with friends (or rivals) and serve up some crowd-pleasing, cancer-fighting snacks and sides.
Turn up the heat this weekend with spicy homemade sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and foods containing beta-carotene are linked to lower risk of esophageal cancer. Beta-carotene is better absorbed with a little fat which you’ll get from the olive oil in our recipe (below).
Love snacking on potato chips during the game, but want something less greasy? Try these lightly salted, crispy kale chips for a delicious game time bite. Kale is one of many cruciferous vegetables widely studied for their potential role in cancer prevention. (Read more in AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer section.) You’ll hardly know you’re eating kale – these chips are the perfect way to get even picky-eaters snacking on healthy greens!
…What about a winning entrée? Combine two football favorites, beef chili and mac & cheese, with this wholesome recipe for Superbowl Chili Mac.
Let’s face it, some people just don’t love the taste of plain water (myself included). At AICR’s Annual Research Conference this year, the tables were adorned with water pitchers filled with beautiful fruits and vibrant herbs – “Infused Waters.” I didn’t have to force myself to drink water like I usually do – these waters were so appealing that I went back for more.
The water with fresh strawberries and mint leaves was refreshing and ever so slightly sweet. Here’s how to make it:
1. Slice 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
2. Select several sprigs of fresh mint and rinse if needed
Add to 1-2 quarts of fresh, cold water and refrigerate for several hours to let flavors mingle. The longer you let it soak (even up to a day), the more prominent the flavors will become.
The pitcher of lemon and basil water was just as unique and delicious:
1. Slice 1 whole lemon
2. Select 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Add to 1-2 quarts of fresh, cold water and refrigerate as in the previous recipe. This water reminded me of a fragrant, summer herb garden.
As a new dietetic intern at AICR, I enjoyed many thought-provoking presentations at last week’s annual AICR Research Conference. However, just as interesting were conversations we had over lunch and between sessions.
One conversation I particularly appreciated was with author and registered dietitian (RD), Diana Dyer. She is a three-time cancer survivor who changed her own diet and lifestyle for recovery and to help prevent recurrence, as told in A Dietitian’s Cancer Story. Her story has been helpful and inspirational to many cancer survivors.
Now, Diana is an organic garlic farmer in Michigan and as an RD, she shares her nutritional expertise and love of farming with dietetic interns who spend some time with her – and get their hands a little dirty – to learn about growing food.
Why garden? Many cancer survivors find gardening therapeutic, and an important part of the cancer healing process. The physical activity recommendation from the 2007 AICR expert report is to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity doesn’t have to be running or lifting weights. Gardening is a great way to be active while doing something you enjoy – that way you’ll be more likely to keep doing it.
There are other reasons to garden too:
Know where your food comes from – the interns on Diana’s farm learn what it takes to grow food.