Emma Nutrition

Simplifying the science through cooking and education. When I'm not on Mummy duties…


10 top cancer beating foods!

Many researchers and cancer specialists believe that up to 60% of those deaths can be prevented if we adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute,

“The easiest and least expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet.”

1. Garlic – Garlic contains a number of compounds that can protect against cancer, especially that of the skin, colon, and lungs.

2. Dark Leafy Greens – Dark greens are rich sources of antioxidants called carotenoids. These scavenge dangerous free radicals from the body before they can promote cancer growth.

3. Grapes – Grapes (and red wine) contain the chemical resveratrol, which is a very potent antioxidant that can prevent cell damage before it begins.

4. Green Tea – The flavonoids in green tea have been shown to slow or prevent the development of several types of cancer including colon, liver, breast, and prostate.

5. Tomatoes – The compound lycopene, (which is most easily absorbed from cooked tomatoes) has been shown to prevent prostate cancer, as well as cancer of the breast, lung, and stomach.

6. Blueberries – Of all the berries, blueberries are the richest in cancer fighting compounds. They are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.

7. Flaxseeds – Flax contains lignans, which can have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes. The omega-3 fatty acids can also help protect against colon cancer.

8. Mushrooms – Many mushrooms contain compounds that can help the body fight cancer and build the immune system as well.

9. Cruciferous Vegetables – Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts contain strong antioxidants that may help decrease cancer risk.

10. Whole Grains – Whole grains contain a variety of anti-cancer compounds including antioxidants, fiber, and phytoestrogens. These can help decrease the risk of developing most types of cancer.

Remember, along with a healthy diet, a physically active lifestyle and low environmental toxins are important for cancer prevention.

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Is sitting bad for your health?

Much research has identified obvious reasons not to sit for long periods. The negative health aspects to health of sitting for long periods, such as neck, shoulder or back pain are no doubt familiar to most of us.

However, new research has identified much more serious consequences from being sedentary, which include heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The study found diabetes type 2 risk was elevated by 20% and by 15% for heart disease when seated for a prolonged period. The increase of diabetes may have been due to the effects of glucose and insulin levels in the blood when sitting. The study found that walking for 2 minutes every 20 minutes controlled glucose and therefore insulin levels by more than 20%, than just remaining seated after consuming a test drink (sugar based).

In another study exercise has been shown to increase intelligence! Interviews were conducted at regular age intervals from the age of 11 to monitor levels of exercise. Those who had exercised two to three times per month or more scored higher in memory, attention and intelligence tests than those who had not.

So what exactly is prolonged sitting?

It is classified as anything more than 11 hours per day….which may sound a long time but really it isn’t when you consider that many people sit at work or in front of a TV or computer much of their day and evening. The above study recommended sitting for less than 4 hours per day and that “public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels”.

Now I don’t know about you but I find sitting is very beneficial. As long as it is interspersed with regular activity I feel that it is good personally for reducing blood pressure, stabilising blood glucose and increasing a feeling of wellbeing. When I was working in an office I found the sitting part of my day never occurred for too long a period – hence the constant hallway/tearoom chats and standing up to type or chat on the phone. I was a restless colleague! When I travelled in the car alot (3-4hrs/day) for meetings I was certainly at my peak of unhealthiness!

What to do?

I suggest that regular activity, even simply the motion of standing up or stretching out may be enough to counteract this sitting problem. An ergonomically friendly chair, a good stretch, some deep breathing exercises and a positive outlook have to be better than trying to keep constantly active – that just sounds exhausting right?! This study even backs up this theory stating that “increased mortality risk for prolonged sitting only (occurs) among participants not meeting physical activity guidelines”.

So there you have it. Rest and recuperate but get off your bum regularly and shake it all about!