Posts Tagged ‘American Institute for Cancer Research’

Projected new cancer cases in 2016 will exceed 1.5 million. What can we do to avoid being oneWord cloud for Healthy Eating of those statistics? Excessive body weight is a definite link for increased risk of certain cancers. Two-thirds of U. S. adults are overweight or obese. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), one-third of all cancer cases hinge on three weight-related factors.

Eat Smart:    AICR recommends vegetables, fruits, and whole grains make up two-thirds of the meal. More than one-third of people surveyed by AICR claimed cost influenced their failure to eat healthy. The following include AICR suggestions to lower food costs plus my own thoughts.

  • Choose lower-cost fresh produce such as carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, oranges and foods in season. Many of these foods, especially vegetables, keep for longer periods of time so stockpile them when grocery stores run specials.
  • Stock up on canned foods. Canned fruits and vegetables are convenient and economical. Grocery stores also run specials on many canned items. To save on costs, choose store brands that in most cases are as nutritious as name brands.
  • Keep frozen foods on hand if space permits. Frozen foods are quick and easy to prepare and retain nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Move More:    Many claim a lack of time as their reason for failing to exercise. Easy ways to move more  include:

  • Take five-minute walking breaks. Sitting all day at work or at a desk is detrimental to health. Short breaks will improve physical well-being while giving your brain a break as well.
  • Include the family. Use TV commercial breaks for activity challenges for the entire family. Children often relate well to simple family games that involve movement.
  • Try new activities or resurrect old ones. Often sedentary past-times have replaced previously active ones. Find a family member or friend to join you in former active interests or join a class involving your favorite activity.

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Next to smoking, excessive weight is the single most important factor in lowering the risks of at least ten different kinds of cancers. In April 2016 the AICR released an updated report relating stomach cancer to extra body weight bringing that number to eleven. The report confirmed other food-related issues that also increased stomach cancer―consuming three or more alcoholic drinks per day and eating bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats.

More than half of the American population are unaware that weight is linked to their risk for cancer. Many find losing weight difficult and don’t know where to begin. The AICR “Cancer-Fighting Fridge” makes other recommendations in addition to those already stated.

  • Swap white processed grains for whole grains.
  • Make fruit and vegetables front and center
  • Replace sweetened drinks with water and unsweetened beverages
  • Keep easy-to-grab healthy snacks and meal options visible

May 8-14, 2016 is National Women’s Health Week. This is a great time to consider―not only for women but men as well― what you will do to lower your risk of cancer. Women can find additional age-related guidelines to help make more informed choices.

Knowing that too much weight leaves us more susceptible to unwanted cancer, why do we take losing weight so lightly (no pun intended)? Weight-loss is a challenge, but most of us can do it.

And one last suggestion from AICR worthy of note, support and encourage those making an effort to lose weight. Even small amounts of weight-loss benefit health. Don’t wait another day to begin the road to a healthier you and at the same time help others in their quest.

http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/by-age/ (paste into browser if link fails to work)


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Cancer is a universal fear. Yet, so many of the choices we make increase our chances of acquiring this terrible condition. Why do we continue practices that make us more vulnerable? In the last blog, we looked at pros and cons of the effects of moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages on heart disease.

Strong evidence confirms that women who drink even small amounts of alcohol will increase their risk for developing cancer. Alcohol may be responsible for as much as thirteen percent of cancer in women. When combined with smoking, that number increases. Women who only drink wine have the same risk as those who consume beer or hard liquor. Even women who drink as little as one drink are more likely to have certain cancers. The most common types related to alcohol are:

  • Breast: As many as eleven percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer may have resulted from drinking alcohol.
  • Liver: Alcohol is the primary cause of liver cancer.
  • Mouth/throat/ esophagus: Alcohol acts as an irritant to cells which may eventually lead to DNA changes that set the stage for cancer.
  • Colon/rectum: Bacteria convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

The more women drink, the greater the risk of cancer. The exceptions are renal cell cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphomia. Increased amounts of alcohol may lower risks for these two.

For women who stop drinking, the risk for cancer remains bad news. It may take years to return to the risk level of non-drinkers. Even more than ten years after they stop drinking, the risk is greater for them than for those who never drank.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends omitting alcohol entirely. They suggest several ways to cut out or cut down alcohol consumption.

  • Choose smaller servings. Dilute drinks with ice, water, or club soda.
  • Sip slowly and drink less.
  • Alternate with other beverages.
  • Select days to stay alcohol free.
  • Stock refrigerator with alternate beverages such as sparking water or juices.
  • Buy low-or-no alcohol beer or wine.
  • Keep track of the amount consumed each day.

The facts are in. Women who drink even small amounts of any alcoholic beverage are more likely to increase their chances of getting cancer. Is it worth the risk?

Check out the National Institute of Health brochures and fact sheets for more information on the effects of alcohol.



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February is Cancer Prevention Month. If given a choice, who Healthy Foodswouldn’t choose to stay cancer free? Many speak of the dreaded “C” word. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), nearly half of the most common cancers can be prevented. About one-third of those cancers in the United States could be avoided if Americans chose to move more, maintained appropriate weight, and ate healthful foods.

Some of the cancers linked directly to lifestyle include colorectal, breast, endometrial, esophageal, gallbladder, kidney, liver, lung, pancreatic, prostate, stomach, ovarian, and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. Other cancers have also been strongly linked to lifestyle. Here are several steps for cancer prevention summarized from AICR recommendations.

  • Remain lean but not underweight
  • Participate in physical activity for 30 minutes each day
  • Avoid sugary drinks and high calorie foods
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes
  • Limit red meat
  • Limit alcoholic beverages
  • Limit excessive salt and processed foods
  • Avoid supplements that claim to cut cancer risk

On their website, AICR identifies specific foods that fight cancer and why these foods are beneficial in our efforts to combat this feared disease. A major part of many of these foods is their antioxidant content. A few examples include:

Apples – The antioxidant comes from several phytochemicals, namely quercetin, epicatechin, and anthocyanins. The peels have additional antioxidants.

Blueberries – These fruits are one of the highest in antioxidants. They also contribute high levels of vitamins C and K, manganese, and dietary fiber.

Coffee – America’s favorite beverage has concentrated sources of the antioxidant phytochemicals. Chlorogenic acid is a major source of phenols in coffee, and quinic acid is partly responsible for coffee’s acidic taste.

Legumes – In addition to antioxidants, legumes contain lignans (plant-based substances that may act like human estrogen) and saponins (health-promoting complex compounds) and other substances that may protect against cancer.

Dark green vegetables – Vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine, mustard greens, collard greens and others provide excellent sources of carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin plus saponins and flavonoids. These chemicals may possibly protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. They may also inhibit the growth of certain types of cells associated with breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancers.

For an extensive review, AICR gives current research on many other foods that can help combat cancer such as cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, others), cherries, tea, cranberries, garlic, soy, winter squash, tomatoes, whole grains, and nuts (especially walnuts). Prevention isn’t just a one month activity. Include the suggested foods in your diet all year to get the most benefits and help prevent cancer.


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Cancer—the dreaded C word. The thought chills us with the realization of our mortality. What is this frightening disease? Cancer results from the malfunction of genes that control cell growth and division. Most cancers aren’t strongly linked to heredity, but some like colorectal, breast, and prostate are. Most cancers result from damage to genes occurring during a person’s lifetime. It may take ten years or more to detect the effect of factors causing mutant cells.

What if you could avoid getting cancer? February is Cancer Prevention Month. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Americans can prevent one-third of the most common cancer cases by changes in diet, weight, and physical activity. That translates into 374,000 people annually who could go cancer-free with those changes. Next to tobacco use, which estimates say will cause 176,000 deaths in 2014, changing your lifestyle could keep you from getting cancer.

Anyone can develop cancer. No one is immune and the risk increases with age. About seventy-seven percent of all cancers occur in people fifty-five years of age and older. Researchers expect diagnosis of about 1,665,540 new cancer cases in 2014, and that figure excludes some precancerous conditions. Likewise, they expect 585,720 Americans to die of cancer in 2014. How can you keep from being a statistic?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. We hear this over and over. Are we listening? The ACS suggests being as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight. If you are obese or overweight, losing even a small amount has health benefits. Reduce high-calorie foods and beverages, and use up unneeded calories with increased activity.
  • Adopt a physically active lifestyle. The ACS suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Don’t forget the children. They need at least one hour of exercise daily with more intense exercise at least three days each week. Avoid being a couch potato or spending too much time at computers or other sedate activities. Make it a point to get up and move. Even small amounts of exercise help. Physical activity may reduce risks of breast, colon, endometrium, and advanced prostate cancer. Physical activity also seems to improve the quality of life and reduce mortality for those who already have cancer.
  • Consume a healthy diet. If you have followed this blog, you know that’s what it’s all about. Lest I sound like a stuck record, the ACS makes the following recommendations.
    • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
    • Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat.
    • Eat at least two and one-half cups of vegetables and fruits daily.
    • Choose whole grains instead of refined-grain products.
    • Limit alcoholic beverage consumption. Drinking alcoholic beverages increases risks for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectal, breast, and possibly pancreas. Men should limit drinks to no more than two per day while women shouldn’t drink more than one a day. As little as a few drinks per week may slightly increase the risk for breast cancer in women.

 To find out how much you know about cancer, try the quiz at this link. And tune in next week for nutritional claims related to cancer—what you can trust and what you should ignore. Your health is too important to snub warnings. Improve your chances of avoiding cancer.


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With all the festivities and celebrations during the holiday season we tend to forget or perhaps ignore healthy foods. Whether we think so or not, our bodies don’t celebrate holidays. Too many less-healthy foods reap unwanted consequences, either now or later. We also seem to disregard how much we overeat at parties and dinners.

We don’t have to completely avoid holiday favorites, but we can make practical choices and cut back on the amount we eat. Our holiday tradition calls for fresh coconut cake. I doubt any family members will go without, but they don’t have to feel guilty. With determination we can cut back on the portion size of all high-calorie, fatty, salty, or sugar-laden goodies.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) compiled “Smart Secrets for Sensible Celebrations.” The following tips, adapted from AICR, give suggestions for what they term as “healthy indulgences.”

  • Consider Plate Proportions. Cover one-third of your plate with holiday indulgences and the other two-thirds with healthier choices such as salads and vegetables prepared with limited amounts of fat, sugars, and salt.
  • Select Whole Grains. These foods contain cancer-fighting phenols and saponins.
  • Color with Synergy. The combined action (synergy) of nutrients in different foods makes for a healthier diet. The colors of varied vegetable and plant foods supply different phytochemicals that protect the body in many ways.
  • Choose Party-plate Portions. How often do we attend parties sporting tiny plates and a table laden with a vast array of foods we salivate to try? We settle for slivers of this and a taste of that. Do the same with holiday meals. Take small amounts. Remember, one-half cup of cooked vegetables equals about one portion, and a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Indulge in small tastes of calorie-laden foods—nuts, fats, gravies, and sauces—or skip entirely if you can.
  • Balance Beverages. Alcoholic beverages contain seven calories for each gram compared to four calories per gram for sugar. Consider unsweetened beverages and limit or avoid those with alcohol.

With these suggestions, you can cut calories, limit over-indulgence, and avoid feeling like the stuffed turkey.

Enjoy the holidays.

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October is National Apple Month. As fall days grow cooler, we anticipate abundant crisp, tart varieties of apples. The chart below lists some of the most common varieties, their use, and availability.





Yellow to red

Rich, full flavor

Great for salads or to eat raw

September — December

Golden Delicious

Golden yellow

Mellow, sweet all-purpose apple for
baking, salads, and to eat raw


Granny Smith

Evenly colored bright green

Tart, crisp, juicy and excellent for
cooking, salads, and to eat raw


Red Delicious

Bright to dark red

Mildly sweet, juicy

Favorite eating apple



Dark red

Spicy, slightly tart

Great for cider, cooking or eating raw

October – August

Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Research indicates some truth to this statement. Apples and apple products promote weight loss, improve lung function, protect against certain types of cancers, protect arteries against harmful plaque build-up to prevent heart disease, and help those with type 2 diabetes and asthma. According to the US Apple Organization, apples may diminish the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and possibly decrease risks for developing it. Apples may improve immunity and gastrointestinal health due to its pectin content. Also, apples have few calories, about 80 per medium size, and are rich in fiber and other nutrients.

Apples keep well and are great to pack in lunches. Serve them plain or with peanut butter or cheese for a healthy snack.

For a simple, nutritious dessert, slice apples into thin strips, lengthwise, place in a
microwavable dish and cook only until slightly tender. Top with a small amount
of sugar or artificial sweetener and a couple teaspoons of butter or margarine.
Serve warm. Or pan-fry sliced apples in a small amount of margarine/butter until tender and lightly brown. Sprinkle with your favorite sweetener and cinnamon if desired. For special occasions, make apples a la mode by adding a small scoop of ice cream on top of the cooked apples. This treat is as tasty as apple pie with a lot fewer calories.

Apples have become the next superfruit. Learn more and find tasty recipes at one of the web sites below.



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Small tomatoes in Korea

Image via Wikipedia

What could be more refreshing and colorful on the summer menu than a tomato? Whether eaten alone or alongside other fresh summer vegetables, the tangy taste appeals to most. Herbs of thyme, basil, sage, oregano, and dill enhance its flavor in recipes. For many ethnic dishes, tomatoes pair well with chili, cumin, or curry powder for more pungent tastes.

Tomatoes make a great addition to most any sandwich or as the main ingredient. Nothing beats red ripe tomatoes sliced and served on whole wheat bread with your favorite salad dressing or add strips of cooked turkey bacon and fresh spinach. Tomatoes add color, taste, and extra nutrients to many salads. Use as the base for all kinds of interesting combinations from plain cottage cheese to meat salads or in livelier combinations of nuts, cheese, and vegetables. The list is endless.

Not only does the flavor of tomatoes appeal to most, they’re loaded with needed nutrients such as rich sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants includes Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Antioxidants protect against oxidation processes which damage cells and are believed to cause the body to become more susceptible to blood vessel disease, cancer, and other problems.

Lycopene seems to concentrate in the prostate gland and tends to abate prostate cancer. Tomatoes not only may help to prevent cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reports recent studies found that components of tomatoes stopped growth of cancer cells in the breast, lungs, and endometrial.

As summer winds down, enjoy the tasty treat of many varieties of tomatoes. Go to the link below for a great recipe, “Stuffed Tomatoes with Feta and Pine Nuts.”

And the added bonus? Tomatoes are low in calories. Eat and enjoy!


Source: http://www.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=10196&news

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 If you are over fifty years of age, would you classify yourself as growing old or aging gracefully?

January 1, 2011 marked the beginning of Baby Boomers turning age sixty-five. Each day 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the golden retirement age. This new generation of old folks is unwilling to rock away their twilight years.

Growing old has a different definition than the one used by your mother. Lifestyles for senior citizens differ from past decades. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), focus has changed from “just aging to healthy aging.”   

Today’s older population takes more responsibility for their health and seeks to live active, vibrant lives. Old age not only has changed in definition but encompasses a wider age range than other age groups. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), considers those age fifty as senior adults. Age sixty-five marked the initial starting point for Social security. We now see older adults sub-divided into old and oldest-old, those age eighty-five and older. Today, more seniors reach the century mark with close to one million centenarians projected by 2050. Future years may also see more Supercentenarian, those over age 110. Who knows, you may reach that number. That makes age sixty-five look like just another birthday.

How can you stay healthier in later years? The AICR posted a quiz to help identify what you know and don’t know about aging and cancer. You can find the quiz at www.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id-20603                 

The quiz highlights, among other things, benefits of physical activity and eating vegetables and fruits. AICR cites the relationship between diet and cancers of the  mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, lung, pancreas, and prostate. It is never too late to make wise choice to abate the risk of cancer.

May is Older Americans Month. The theme for 2011 is Older Americans: connecting the community. The National Senior Health and Fitness Day is May 25. If you are near the half-century mark or beyond, what are you doing to remain younger by preventing cancer and other illnesses?

Healthy aging is possible. It’s up to you.

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Kale close up in Norddeich, Dithmarschen

Image via Wikipedia

Didn’t want to wear green today? Observe St. Patrick’s Day and celebrate National Nutrition Month’s “Eat Right with Color” with heaping servings of green foods for dinner. Low-calorie, nutritious, and tasty kale makes an excellent choice.

 For many years I was unfamiliar with kale. Cooked greens consumed in my area consisted mostly of turnip or mustard greens. But I knew curly kale made a great garnish for food trays and dishes. I discovered it tastes great, too.

Kale grows abundantly in the warm south during cooler weather. It has become a part of our “green patch.” We mix seeds of kale, mustard, and turnip greens and broadcast (sows liberally) in our small garden. Kale takes little space, even the corner of a flower bed will do. Young tender leaves soon replace those gathered.

Kale, low in calories, has about 18 calories per one-half cup cooked serving. It is a great source of fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Numerous vitamins and minerals found in kale include thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. A serving of kale provides more than the daily need of vitamin C, twice the requirement of vitamin A, and six times the daily need of vitamin K.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, kale and other green vegetables like spinach, deep green lettuces, bok choy, mustard greens, chard, and mesclun (a salad mix) may protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.

For a healthier diet, add this mild-flavored, power-pack vegetable to your meals. Go green with kale.

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Do you anticipate holiday parties and then shudder to think of the calories you may consume? Fret no more. You can enjoy luscious tidbits without piling on extra weight.  Before the next party, consider the following pitfalls and avoid plunging into the calorie trap.

  • Avoid starving yourself all day. Your body fares better if you eat regular small meals during the day. Eat a light snack, like an apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter, before going to the party. You will be less hungry and less tempted to eat too much.
  • Avoid standing near the food table. Park yourself away from food. Talk more, eat less. Resist gulping down extra calories in beverages. Think black coffee, unsweetened teas and colas, or tonic water.
  • Avoid selecting pastries or high-fat dips and sauces. Red sauces usually contain fewer calories than white. White cheeses generally have fewer calories than yellow. Enjoy fresh plain vegetables and fruits. Dry-roasted nuts are nutritious yet lower in calories than many other party foods.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reminds revelers that “Alcohol is a cause of several cancers.” They recommend sticking to one standard serving of alcoholic beverage or a single 6-ounce serving (3/4 cup) of sweeten non-alcoholic drink. Add pieces of fruit to plain sparking water for a refreshing touch.

Select foods carefully during the holidays and take time to savor those you choose. As AICR suggests, “be creative in finding new ideas for flavor and refreshment.” You can enjoy delectable foods without the worry of that proverbial New Year’s resolution to lose weight gained during the festive season.

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