Study: How Supermarket Samples May Boost Cancer-Fighting Food Purchases

When you get a grocery store food sample, do you end up purchasing that item or something similar? If so, join the crowd – many people do. And now, says a new series of studies, if you think that food sample is healthy – whether it is or not – that can prime you to fill your grocery cart with healthier foods.

For supermarkets, the studies offer insights into helping their customers towards the healthier foods. But the study also offers some important take aways to help “prime” your home environment to shape healthier choices for your family, including more cancer fighting vegetables and fruits.

The authors conducted a series of studies to determine if food samples can set people up to make choices for either healthy or less healthy food items. In the first study 120 participants received an apple, cookie or no sample at the beginning of their shopping. The researchers then counted the number of fruits and vegetables samplers purchased at the end of shopping and found that apple samplers purchased more vegetables and fruits than cookie and no samplers. Continue reading


Diet Swap Alters Gut Bacteria, Signs of Colon Cancer Risk

What you eat can play a big role in preventing colorectal cancer, with research showing that fiber-filled foods lower risk; red and processed meats increase it. Now a study hones in on how diet can affect risk, showing that swapping a high-fiber healthy diet for a low-fiber western-style diet alters gut bacteria and signs of inflammation that may play a role in colon cancer.Choice between healthy apple and unhealthy hamburger

The study is published in Nature Communications and it adds to a growing body of research on how our bacteria – our microbiota – play a role in cancer risk.

For the study, researchers flipped the diets of 20 African Americans and 20 South Africans for two weeks. All the participants had colonoscopy exams before and after the diet swap.
The Americans were served African-style foods, almost quadrupling their fiber intake to an amount equal to over 3.5 cups of beans. At the same time, they cut their calories from fat in half. Africans went the opposite direction, dramatically cutting their fiber and upping their fat intake.

After two weeks on the African diet, the Americans had less markers of inflammation in the colon while those same markers increased among the Africans eating the less healthy diet. There were also opposing increases and decreases of the compound  butyrate, which forms from digesting fiber and is linked to lowering colon cancer risk. The American group was producing more butyrate; the Africans on the American diet less. Continue reading


Yummy, Healthy Singapore Noodles

singapore-noodlesYou’ll find curries in Indian restaurants and noodles in Chinese restaurants, but you may not find curried noodles unless there’s a Malaysian place in your neighborhood. If not, we offer AICR’s healthy version of Singapore Noodles, a dish that blends Chinese, Indian and Malay influences in a cancer-fighting dish using whole-grain brown rice noodles.

Like Singapore, an island nation that grew up as a multicultural trading post in the Southeast Asia next door to Indonesia, Singapore Noodles is a mixture of diverse ingredients. Vegetables, rice vermicelli, shrimp, egg and chicken are sautéed with curry powder. Curry itself is yet another mixture of spices ranging from ginger and turmeric to pepper and cardamom. In this recipe, we add a little more turmeric, a mild-tasting spice that is related to ginger. Both are anti-inflammatory spices that studies indicate may help to reduce cancer risk.

The health-protecting spicy red onion, bell peppers, scallions and cabbage are commonly used in Singapore Noodles. Adding egg to stir-fries is also a feature of Malaysian and Indonesian cooking. To include the egg’s bit of saturated fat, we’ve changed the traditional bits of pork (a red meat) in this dish to chicken or turkey breast and used a few small shrimp to produce an authentic flavor. A touch of sesame oil at the end makes it perfect and still lower in fat than you’d find this dish to be in most restaurants.

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