Trans fats banned; what that could mean for your cancer risk

In three years, you won’t be seeing foods with added trans-fat on your grocery shelves, thanks to action from the federal government announced today. The step was taken primarily for heart health but it’s a great opportunity to help you shift to a more cancer-protective diet.

Trans fats are liquid fats that are partially hydrogenated, which makes them last longer on the shelf. A few years ago, you could spot them as an ingredient in many snack and packaged foods, such as margarine, cookies, pizza and chips. (There are also natural trans fats in meats and dairy but only in small amounts and these are not linked to heart health risks.)

Back in 2002, a report found a direct link between trans fat increasing risk of clogged arteries. Manufacturers had already begun phasing out trans fats, mostly replacing them with palm oil. Now, the FDA is mandating all food manufacturers cut partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat over the next three years.

That’s good news for heart health.

Plant and Animal Fats

Fats that fit well on The New American Plate, 2/3 – 1/3 way of eating.

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Flavonoids in Your Foods, Here’s Where to Get Them

Every time you eat chocolate covered berries or drink a cup of tea, you are getting a dose of flavonoids! Flavonoids are compounds found in plant foods that are well studied for their role in preventing cancers, as well as other chronic diseases.

A new study on flavonoids is highlighted in Cancer Research Update. This study of Australian women looked at the role of flavonoids in preventing death from all causes, including cancer and heart disease specifically. Researchers found that women with the highest intake of flavonoids experienced 62% fewer deaths during the course of the 5 year study compared to those who consumed the least, with similar lower risk from cancer and hear disease.

Flavonoids are generally divided into 6 groups. Foods provide different flavonoids and so may have different health benefits.

Flavonoids

Source: USDA Database for Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods

The women in this study consumed most (about 80%) of their flavonoids from black tea, which contains flavanols. The women were not, however, eating many foods like Continue reading


Small Weight Loss, Healthy Heart and Cancer Risk

Obesity and heart disease is making headlines again today with a major new analysis on how overweight and obese people can cut their risk of the disease.Fat Cells_canstockphoto2438218

Coming a week after the release of new obesity guidelines, both pieces of news highlight how a lifestyle that prevents heart disease also prevents cancer. Obesity and overweight is a cause of seven cancers.

Today’s analysis, published in The Lancet, suggests that overweight and obese people can cut their risk of a heart attack by almost half by reducing their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, even if they don’t lose weight. They can lower their risk for stroke even more, about 75 percent.

But even with these risk factors under control, if you are overweight or obese, you are still probably at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to someone at a healthy weight.

In last week’s release of new guidelines for heart health, much of the news — and controversy — focused on the statin recommendations. But there were also new guidelines Continue reading