Sea Cucumbers: Possible Cancer Fighters?

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This beautiful picture of a translucent sea cucumber — released last week by the Census of Marine Life and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – reminded me of some interesting research presented at AICR’s conference.

SeaCucThe lab research, presented in a poster session, found that a compound in sea cucumber decreased the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice and decreased cancer growth in cells. Previous lab studies have found that this same sea cucumber compound  — called Frondoside A – inhibited the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells.

The research is still only in the laboratory phase but if you want to try a new seafood, look for dried sea cucumbers in Asian markets.  (Sea cucumber are a common delicacy in many Asian dishes.)

Sea cucumbers are pretty fascinating. They are generally cucumber-shaped and there’s over 1,000 different species of them. To escape predators, sea cucumbers can jettison some of their internal organs, and then grow them back again.

You can see more newly-identified deep-sea organisms here.

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    Marvelous Mushrooms

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    From button and cremini to Chinese “cloud ears” and portabellos, mushrooms  come in all shapes and flavors. They are used often as a meat substitute when cooked because of thFD002153_47eir sFD002152_47atisfying taste and texture — as in grilled portabello sandwiches that stand in for burgers on many restaurant menus. But they’re easy to prepare and enjoy at home: This week’s AICR Health-e-Recipe pairs warm, savory mushrooms with dark greens, garlic and shallot — all found to have high amounts of phytochemicals and fiber for cancer prevention. Mushrooms themselves are being studied for potential cancer-fighting compounds. Fit them into your meals with whole grains like barley or in a delicious crostini appetizer for guests this holiday season.

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