DIY Plant Science: Grow Your Own Purple Carrots in 10 Steps

Last month we wrote about how plant scientists are developing these colorful new varieties of vegetables that contain different cancer-preventing phytochemicals.10520568_s

For the article, I spoke with Philip Simon, PhD from the University of Wisconsin who first introduced the anthocyanin-packed purple carrot in 1992. One of the best things I learned from my talk with Dr. Simon is that with a little bit of time and patience we can recreate the process at home! This can be a great activity for kids and adults alike.

The first step in the plant breeding process is to get the vegetables to flower. For most vegetables such as peppers or squash, flowers are the norm (think, stuffed squash blossoms). For carrots and other root vegetables, flowering is a bit more involved. They only flower after being exposed to cold. So, here’s what you do:

Step 1: Buy a bunch of carrots with the green tops on; chose both purple and orange.

Step 2: Cut off the tops of the greens leaving about an inch of green stem Continue reading

Study: Eating Nuts for Lower Cancer Risk

Nuts are in fashion, nutritionally speaking, especially for heart health. Now, a new study finds that if you eat a handful of nuts several times a week that may help lower your risk of cancer.

Study results on nut consumption and cancer prevention have been inconsistent. In this systematic review and meta-analysis published in Nutrition Reviews, the researchers evaluated 36 studies – both large population studies and clinical trials – examining the relationship between eating nuts and risk of cancer or type 2 diabetes.

By comparing people who ate the most nuts (typically at least 4-5 times per week) to those who ate the least (typically 1 time per week or less), the researchers found that the high nut eaters had 15 percent lower risk of cancer overall. In specific cancers, they found lower risk for colorectal, endometrial and pancreatic cancer. They did not find any significant difference for risk of type 2 diabetes. Continue reading

A Vegan Saag Packed with a Medley of Cancer-Protection

spinach-saag-and-golden-tofu copyFans of Indian food know that saag is a spinach sauce seasoned with cumin, turmeric and other spices that have cancer-preventing qualities. Our new Healthy Recipe for Spinach Saag (pronounced sog) uses health-protective soy as the protein in this delicious dish.

Restaurants feature saag made with paneer, a type of Indian cottage cheese. Paneer has a similar texture and color to firm tofu, made from soybeans. Soy adds protein, nutrients and a set of phytochemicals called isoflavones to your foods.

In this recipe, the tofu is given an appetizing golden color from sautéing first in neutrally-flavored canola oil. If the canola oil doesn’t produce enough of a golden effect, stir in a pinch of turmeric as you sautee it. When you add the tofu to the spinach sauce, it will absorb the flavors of the turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala spice mix and onions. Continue reading