Heart Healthy Mediterranean Diet May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

canstockphoto13663884For years, we’ve heard a lot about the heart health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. Now an analysis from a randomized trial suggests this diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts, may help lower risk of breast cancer.

The analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is from the PREDIMED trial – a 6 year study that includes data from over 4000 women, 60-80 years old and at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The women had been assigned to follow one of three diets, a Mediterranean diet where they received extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with provided mixed nuts, or they were advised to follow a low fat diet. The women had quarterly sessions with a dietitian to assess how well they were following the diet.

At the end of the study, the women following the Mediterranean diet with olive oil showed a 62% lower risk of malignant breast cancer than the control, low fat diet group. When researchers put the olive oil and nuts groups together, there was a 51% relative risk reduction compared to the control group. Continue reading

Giving the Gift of Flavor

I love giving food-related gifts during the holiday season. They are fun for everyone, from food connoisseurs to your friend whose idea of cooking is boiling water for pasta. I try to give gifts that are tasty, healthy and encourage the recipient to try something new. While everyone indulges a bit over the holidays, it’s great to help others prevent cancer through healthier food and fitness-related gifts.

One of my favorite ways to flavor and season vegetables is also turning into one of my favorite gifts to give. Working with individuals trying to lose weight, I often hear people talk about how much they dislike vegetables. Flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil can change that.


Why olive oil? It’s rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and including it in your diet can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, since olive oil is also high in calories, highly flavorful oils – like lemon or walnut – can boost the taste of your food with small amounts. Continue reading

Packing Whole Grains for Lunch, Recipe

If you’re trying to eat healthier at work — after all, its National Employee Wellness Month —  packing a lunch that’s high in fiber can give you lasting energy for the workday while helping you prevent cancer. Take our Health-e-Recipe for Lemon Brown Rice Pilaf.canstockphoto8528856

Toss this rice with a little tuna or salmon (buy it canned in water, then drained) plus some leafy greens and salad veggies for a complete meal. You can make a batch for a weekend meal then divide the leftovers into single portions and refrigerate or freeze them for lunches throughout the workweek.

Roasting lemon slices make brown rice tangy, and it’s an easy step that only takes a little time. When coated with olive oil and roasted, lemons’ natural sugar caramelizes into a rich dark brown that coats the rind. Continue reading