Pass the Pumpkin: Three Other Fall Healthy Favorites

Though pumpkin has begun to take over the fall scene, there are many other fruits and vegetables to enjoy this time of year – all toting cancer protective nutrients. From apples to zucchini, here are three new ways to enjoy some familiar Autumn fruits and veggies.canstockphoto20734490

Zucchini Fries: Instead of the usual roasted vegetable, give zucchini fries a try. They’re a great alternative to traditional fries and offer less calories and lots of flavor.

Making zucchini fries can be a bit of a tedious process, but the end result is well worth it.

To make “fries,” leave on the skin and cut the zucchini in half width-wise. Then cut it into quarter-inch “planks” length-wise. Dredge the fries in egg white, flour, and a mix of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. You can substitute breadcrumbs for Panko crumbs for extra crispiness. Bake your fries at 400 degrees until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce or plain. Your family will definitely ask for these again.

Mashing rutabaga and turnips: Both rutabagas and turnips offer a natural sweetness and are lighter than mashed potatoes, making a perfect mashed potato substitute for something different. Continue reading


The Genes in Your Coffee (and Cancer-Protective Compounds)

Quick: what do tea, chocolate and coffee all have in common? There’s actually a lot they share – including many cancer-protective compounds – but for all who answered caffeine, that’s the big one.CoffeeBeansCup_dreamstime_13158097_blog

Now a research team has sequenced a draft of the genome of the coffee plant, finding that the caffeine compound has probably evolved independently of tea or chocolate. The researchers sequenced the plant Coffea canephora, which reportedly accounts for almost a third of the world’s coffee production.

The study was published on Friday in Science.

In all, the scientists identified about 25,000 protein-producing genes in the plant. (Humans have approximately 21,000 genes.) When they compared the coffee genome to the DNA of tea and chocolate they found coffee’s caffeine enzymes are more closely related to other genes within the coffee plant than to caffeine enzymes in tea and chocolate.

Compared to the grape and tomato, the coffee plant contains larger families of genes that relate to the production of flavonoid and other compounds, which contribute to the smell of coffee and are studied for their health benefits. Continue reading


3 Staples for Last-Minute Healthy Meals

With summer unofficially ending soon, its back to hectic work and school weeks for many. And sometimes it’s challenging to plan out your meals for the entire week. Or you get home late, tired and realize cereal or ordering pizza is the easiest option. black beans macro

We’ve all been there, and I’ve found the best way to avoid this is by keeping a few healthy foods in my kitchen at all times that I can easily make into a more nutritious, cancer-protective meal. My staples aren’t always the same – what I have usually depends on the time of year or recent recipes I’ve tried. Right now, here are three of my staples:

1. Can of no-salt beans (garbanzo or black beans, usually) – Beans are a good source of protein and fiber and low in fat. They are also inexpensive and you don’t have to worry about them spoiling quickly. Use the beans on a salad or in place of meat in something like tacos.

2. Spinach – This is a good source of fiber and cancer-protective carotenoids. The nice thing about this leafy green is that you can eat it in a variety of ways – for instance, you can sauté it with a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice or you can use it as your greens in a salad. If you find it starting to wilt, just cook it up! Continue reading