Potatoes: Bad Guys or Cancer-Fighters?

Read an article about foods you shouldn’t eat and white potatoes may well be on the list. The starchy staple is linked in some studies to overweight and obesity and we lag far behind in getting enough non-starchy veggies, like leafy greens, summer squash, broccoli and colorful peppers, all shown to lower risk for several kinds of cancer. But are potatoes so nutrition-poor we should never eat them?

Potatoes’ bad nutritional reputation probably stems more from how we are eating them, rather than the spud itself. share-of-potato-sources-for-us-consumersA recent report from the USDA Economic Research Service shows that, depending on where we eat them, one-third to two-thirds of our potatoes are chips or fries. Even at home, we eat potatoes as chips more than any other way.

Consider that a small serving of fries or chips is double the small potato’s calories, 10 times the fat and less than half the vitamin C. We just need to re-think the potato on our plate, not eliminate. Continue reading


Resistant Starch May Reduce Red-Meat Colorectal Cancer Risk

Eating high amounts of red meat increase risk of colorectal cancer while fiber-filled food reduces the risk, AICR research shows. Now comes a study that offers one possible explanation for both links, finding that diets high in red meat and a type of non-digestable fiber have opposite effects on a group of genetic molecules.Chuckwagon Chili Con Carne

The study was published in Cancer Prevention Research.

Study researchers focused on a type of fiber called resistant starch. Our bodies don’t digest resistant starch in the small intestine. Then in the gut, bacteria convert resistant starch into the compound butyrate. In lab studies, this compound protects against colon cancer.

For the study, 23 participants, ages 50 to 75, switched between two types of diets. In one diet each person was given 300 grams — about 10 ounces — of raw lean red meat a day. That’s about the equivalent of a cooked 8 ounce burger. The other diet had the same red-meat content plus a butyrate resistant starch formulation. Each person was on one diet for four weeks then after a four-week washout period, switched to the second diet for four weeks. Continue reading


A Fresh Veggie Quinoa

quinoa-and-broccoli croppedFirm, tender cauliflower and broccoli florets pair beautifully with quinoa in our Health-e-Recipe for Quinoa with Cauliflower and Broccoli.

Both of these cruciferous family vegetables are well known for their cancer-fighting compounds, especially isothiocyanates and indoles. And broccoli and cauliflower are even more protective in this dish, which also uses bell peppers, onion, garlic and oregano. That’s because each ingredient offers its own set of cancer-preventive phytochemicals, which reinforce the others. Eating a wide variety of vegetables improves the odds of reaping their health benefits.

Quinoa is a whole grain that may rank highest in protein content, providing 8 grams per cup. Along with the vegetables, it also contains cancer-fighting fiber. To add protein but keep it light, serve this dish with some diced chicken breast or baked fish.

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