Weight Loss, Cancer Prevention and Health: Why Vegetables and Fruits Matter

If you’ve been working hard to eat more broccoli or blueberries, headlines like “Fruits and vegetables don’t lead to weight loss, study says” can drive you crazy. You may wonder if it’s worth the effort. I certainly hear from people questioning whether they can trust any nutrition and weight loss messages when they see headlines like these.NAP-Plate-v02

Make no mistake about it, fruits and vegetables are a key part of a cancer-preventive diet. And they can play a role in getting to and staying a healthy weight – important for lowering risk for eight cancers and other chronic diseases. Even the authors of that recent study acknowledge that in their paper. So why the confusing messages?

Here’s what that study was about: The authors say that health organizations promote increasing veggies and fruit for weight loss without explaining the need to also decrease overall calories. So they looked for studies that tested the idea that simply adding vegetables and fruit to your diet will lead to weight loss. Continue reading


A Spicy and Healthy Spinach Salad

mexican-spinach-salad croppedJuly’s hot weather salad days are here. If you’re looking for a more exciting salad that bites you back, try our Health-e-Recipe for Mexican Spinach Salad.

Poblano chiles spice up these greens, which by themselves contain important cancer-fighting substances. They’re used in cuisines from hot climates where spices can help to cool you off by making you perspire. Chiles also contain plant compounds called capsaicin, which lab studies suggest may help keep unhealthy inflammation at bay.

Feta cheese, pumpkin seeds and crunchy corn chips for garnish also make this salad interesting. Top it with our easy honey-lime dressing, which you can use on other salads as well. To make it a more complete meal, add a half-cup of chopped roast chicken breast to each serving (for another 150 calories and lean protein).

Find more delicious cancer-fighting recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.


Is eating organic food better for reducing my cancer risk?

Is eating organic food better for reducing my cancer risk?

It’s one of the most asked questions we get – especially now, with a new review of the research suggesting that organics contain more antioxidants than conventional foods.canstockphoto20873615

With all the research on fruits, vegetables and other plant foods and cancer, AICR hasn’t had a lot to say about organics. There has been relatively little research on organics and cancer risk, with no clear conclusions except one: eating a diet that is mainly from plants – whether they are organic or conventional – reduces the risk of cancer.

The new analysis, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, included 343 studies from 1992 to 2012. (1992 was when the European Union started regulating organic farming; about 70% of the studies were from Europe.)

The authors looked at how organics and conventional plant foods compared in vitamins, minerals and groups of phytochemicals that have shown antioxidant — and cancer-protective — activity in lab studies. The researchers also compared levels of pesticide compounds.

Continue reading