What We Googled in 2014 on Food, Drinks and Cancer

Here at AICR, we’re well versed in the latest scientific evidence on food, drink, and cancer prevention. We also know that a lot of people get their health information online, where it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. So what were we searching for this year, when it comes to cancer and foods and drinks? We used the 2014 Google Trends to find out.19024481_s

Alcohol and cancer
This was the most popular search term involving cancer and a specific food or drink, for good reason. The latest research has found that alcohol increases the risk of some cancers, including breast and colorectal. Based on the evidence, AICR recommends that if you do drink alcohol, limit your drinks to 1 per day for women or 2 per day for men.

Coffee and cancer
Coffee had a lot of people searching this year and the news is good for coffee drinkers. While scientists early on used to think coffee increased risk for certain cancers, research now shows a lack of association or even a beneficial effect for cancer risk. In 2013, our latest report on endometrial cancer found that drinking coffee – whether decaf or regular – is associated with a lower risk of this cancer. We’ll drink to that! Continue reading


The Medieval Roots of Ginger (and our Gingerbread Cookies)

Spicy ginger deserves a warm welcome for the holidays as the chill of winter sets in. The root has been grown in Asia for millennia and is used fresh, sliced or minced, in all kinds of savory dishes. Its health-boosting phytochemicals and possible ability to quell an upset stomach also make it popular around the world as a tea, candy and dried and as a ground spice in baked sweets.Candied fresh and ground ginger on rustic table

Historians have traced European use of gingerbread back to the Crusades in the 11th century. Medieval folk would mix together ground almonds, stale breadcrumbs, rosewater, sugar and ginger them press it into molds sometimes carved in the likeness of royal family members or religious symbols. Shakespeare referred to gingerbread in his play “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” and gingerbread was reputedly a favorite food of Queen Elizabeth.

ginger-lemon-cookies croppedToday we have the luxury of flour to use in making fragrant gingerbread loaves and cookies to spice up the winter holidays. Molasses and brown sugar give gingerbread the characteristic taste and chewiness we enjoy today.

AICR’s Health-e-Recipe for Ginger Snaps are crisp outside and soft inside, using less fat as well as some whole-wheat flour to make them better for your healthy, plus cinnamon and a dash of black pepper for extra zing. At 75 calories and only 3 grams of fat per cookie, they’re less unhealthy than some other holiday treats and one or two will satisfy the gingerbread fan in you.

Controlling the Crispness

If you like crisper cookies, use a non-dairy stick shortening that is a blend of oils. Or, for a softer texture, use a soft tub spread instead for cookies that have a crisp outer layer then turn chewy overnight. The softer cookies’ batter can be dropped from a spoon onto your baking sheet.

For more cancer-preventive recipes, visit our Healthy Recipes. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.

For more yummy AICR recipes using ginger, try Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger, Ginger Carrot Salad with Cranberries and Asian Chicken with Honey and Ginger.


New England Gingerbread Pudding, A Classic Holiday Dessert

As someone who considers herself handy in the kitchen, this has been one of the most interesting (unusual?) recipes I’ve ever followed. Mostly because until yesterday I had never heard of cornmeal pudding. In fact, when I was approached by the moderators of this blog to see if I would be interested in evaluating the recipe, my first response after glancing at the ingredient list was “Oh no, they wrote cornmeal, not corn starch!” As you can imagine, I was initially apprehensive about the success of this dish.

But I’m willing to be proven wrong, and I consider myself a bit of a savant when it comes to homemade puddings, thanks in large part to the wisdom of Maya Angelou’s cookbook, The Welcome Kitchen. There are few things more comforting than a nice, warm pudding on a rainy afternoon, so I set to work.

image001I  first preheated the oven to 300 degrees, and then began the pudding by scalding 5 cups of milk in a medium saucepan, a step designed to help to milk mix smoothly with the cornmeal. Because I don’t have a double boiler, I worked over a low heat to avoid burning the pudding. Continue reading