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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Throw Tomatoes at Cancer

Tomat (oe) or tomat (a), fruit or vegetable? Call it what you will but the lovely red tomato is one powerful food item that really packs an anti-cancer punch.

It’s called  Lycopene; a carotinoid, a pigment that is found in tomatoes, red carrots, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, guava and certain other red colored fruits and vegetables. When lycopene is consumed as a supplement, it doesn’t have the same effect as eating a whole tomato which also contains beta-carotene, vitamin C and phenols, The synergy of this combination is what really packs the anti-cancer one-two.

Lycopene is water soluble meaning your body will absorb it easier when heated with oil. Toss warmed tomatoes with a TBSP of olive oil and spices before pouring over your favourite whole grain or rice pasta. Blend your tomatoes into a sauce or soup or eat stewed on the side.

Lycopene has strong antioxidant properties, which means that it helps to remove free radicals from your body. Free radicals can harm cells and DNA and are thought to cause many different types of cancers, and other diseases as well as some signs of aging. Free radicals can result from smoking, alcohol, excessive sun exposure and exposure to pollution. They are also a by-product of natural metabolic functions.
As lycopene isn't used by the body in other ways, it is left to mop up free radicals. For example, lycopene can collect in the tissues of the lungs, and '"quench" free radicals there, stopping them before they can damage the cells. Lycopene is thought to be particularly effective in preventing prostate cancer, but it may also be effective in preventing lung, stomach, breast and endometrial cancers. Lycopene may be able to provide internal protection from damaging sun radiation and thus helps to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. It is also thought to help prevent heart disease.
Lycopene is non-toxic and although it is not an essential nutrient for human life, it doesn't appear to do much harm in higher doses. At worst, people who have excess lycopene in their blood will turn an orange color, but limiting consumption generally returns the skin to normal in a few weeks.

That’s a tomato a day, an apple a day, a piece of seaweed and flax seed a day. It’s a good thing I’m hungry all the time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Toxins Can Be Flushed

T is for Toxin

Everyday our bodies are bombarded with toxins. They get breathed in or absorbed by our skin from household cleaners, beauty products, plastics and cash register receipts to name a few. These can make you feel tired and sluggish.
Add to that the radiation toxins from medical tests like x-rays and cat scans, environmental toxins floating in our air, the chlorine in our pools, our drinking water, even from the sun above. Some toxins your body stores, like the radiation. Others can be flushed. There are boxed “de-tox” kits available on the market, but Dr. Oz recently suggested they may be abrasive or corrosive to your colon.

The longer these toxins stay in your body, the better the chance of them wreaking havoc on your organs. Your body fights these contaminants, but there are things you can do to give it a hand:
  1)    Drink lots of liquids every day to aid in the flushing process

2)      Drink the juice of half of one lemon every day. It will help your liver cleanse itself.

3)      Try Dr. Oz’s gentle weekend detox program here:

4)      Try eating the occasional meal without meat to give your digestive system a break. Use nuts and beans to give you protein.

5)      Once a month soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of your favourite scent. Lavender is particularly popular for this. Relaxing is also very good for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina  is one of the world’s Superfoods, meaning it has a dozen or more unique properties that promote optimal health. It is a blue-green variety of cyanobacteria and cousin to algae, dulse, kelp, nori and wakame.
Spirulina has the highest concentration of protein found in in any food and has as much iron as red meat. It has high levels of chlorophyll, a known blood builder and can aid in the production of more stem cells found in bone marrow. It has four anti-oxidants in one, including beta-carotene which can increase life span and build the immune system.
Ingesting spirulina makes its anti-oxidant blue and green pigments available to our cells. This will better protect us against UV radiation at cellular level.
I buy a jar of powdered Trophic Pure Essential “Greens Concentrate” locally at the PharmaSave, but have also seen it in health food stores. It has spirulina as well as a list of other cancer-deterrent necessities in it.
 One teaspoon a day to keep my body in optimal kick-cancer-butt mode.

Save Your Life with Self Examination

"S" is for self examination

Prevention is worth a pound of cure. Never did words ring truer than in this day of cancer epidemics.
The key to surviving cancer is early detection.

Unusual lumps, bumps, masses and changes in skin color or texture on different body parts, sudden change in bowel habits and unexplained loss of weight are a few of the common symptoms which go unnoticed but play an important role in exposing a possible cancer or other medical condition.

Forty percent of breast cancers are found through self-examination. Discovering a hard round pea shaped mass in my left breast prompted concerns for an ultrasound which resulted in finding breast cancer in my right breast. The left was nothing but a tiny benign mass. To me, it was a beacon that saved my breast and possibly my life.

About the age when young men start to shave they need to  learn how to check their balls! From 15-35 is the prime age for testicular cancer and self-examination is very important. Over 95% of testicular cancer is cured if discovered early.

Practicing monthly self-examinations will keep you in touch with your body. Getting help from a spouse could be a fun way to “watch your back.” A partner can literally watch your flipside for you to spot any changing moles or new growths.

For more information on how to self-exam :

Oral cancer:

Thyroid cancer:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Radishes: Take A Second Look


Those crunchy, peppery vegetables are not often seen for their powerful health benefits.

Along with vitamin C the radish offers folate, B vitamins and vitamin K as well as essential minerals that include potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, sodium, copper and zinc. Radishes can be eaten raw or cooked in casseroles or soups. The radish greens can be used in salads, stir-frys or sautéed on their own in oil.

While the fiber in the radish helps fight colon cancer, the vegetable also contains a group of compounds called isothiocyanates, which are shown to be effective against other cancer cell lines. Studies have shown that these compounds  can induce cancer cell death.

White, red, purple or black radishes have also been said to prevent many cancers, support the circulatory system and heart, strengthen the immune system, detoxify the body and are a perfect diet food.  A 1/2-cup serving of radish slices contains only 19 calories and 4 carbs.

You can also use grated radish as a poultice for wasp or bee stings or as a facial for red spots to draw out a clogged pore.

Maybe give the radish a second glance when grocery shopping!

Radiation Exposed

 From the American Cancer Association website:
What is radiation?
Radiation is the emission (sending out) of energy from any source. X-rays are an example of radiation, but so is the light that comes from the sun and the heat that is constantly coming off our bodies. There are different types of radiation, and many of them are not linked to cancer.
Types of radiation
Radiation exists across a spectrum from very high-energy (high-frequency) radiation to very low-energy (low-frequency) radiation. From highest to lowest energy, the main forms of radiation are:
·         Gamma rays
·         X-rays
·         Ultraviolet (UV) rays
·         Visible light
·         Infrared rays
·         Microwaves
·         Radiofrequency (radio) waves
·         Extremely low-frequency (ELF) radiation
An important distinction that affects the health risks from radiation is whether the energy is ionizing or non-ionizing.
Ionizing radiation
Ionizing radiation has enough energy to knock electrons off of atoms or molecules. This is called ionization. Ionized molecules are unstable and quickly undergo chemical changes.
If ionizing radiation passes through a cell in the body, it can lead to mutations (changes) in the cell's DNA, the part of the cell that contains its genes (blueprints). This could contribute to cancer, or to the death of the cell. The amount of damage in the cell is related to the dose of radiation it receives. The damage takes place in only a fraction of a second, but other changes such as the beginning of cancer may take years to develop.
Types of ionizing radiation include x-rays, mammograms, gamma rays, some high-energy UV rays, and particles given off by radioactive materials such as alpha particles and protons. These forms of radiation have different energy levels and can penetrate cells to different extents, but all are capable of causing ionization. The worst offenders seem to be CT scans and radiation therapy used for cancer patients.
Does ionizing radiation cause cancer?
Scientists and regulatory agencies agree that even small doses of ionizing radiation increase the risk of developing cancer, although by a very small amount. In general, the risk of cancer from radiation exposure increases as the dose of radiation increases. Likewise, the lower the exposure is, the smaller the increase in risk. But there is no threshold below which ionizing radiation is thought to be totally safe.
Sources of ionizing radiation
People may be exposed to ionizing radiation from 3 main sources:
·         Natural background radiation comes from cosmic rays from our solar system and radioactive elements normally present in the soil. This is the major contributor to worldwide radiation exposure.
·         Non-medical, man-made radiation can come from workplace and other sources, and is also a result of above ground nuclear weapons testing that took place before 1962.
·         Medical radiation comes in the form of diagnostic x-rays and other tests, as well as from radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is currently used to treat some types of cancer and involves dosages many thousand times higher than those used in diagnostic x-rays.
Medical radiation
Ionizing radiation is used in the diagnosis and treatment of some medical conditions. This can be in the form of radiation that penetrates from outside the body, or radioactive particles that are swallowed or inserted into the body.
Imaging tests: Certain types of imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine tests (such as PET scans and bone scans) expose people to low levels of radiation in order to create internal pictures of the body. (MRI and ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation.)
The increased risk of cancer from exposure to any single test is likely to be very small. Still, concerns have been raised in recent years as the average amount of radiation a person is exposed to from medical tests has risen. Children's growing bodies are especially sensitive to radiation.
Because of the very small but real risk, and the fact that radiation exposure from all sources can add up over one's lifetime, imaging tests that use radiation should only be done if there is a good medical reason to do so. The usefulness of the test must always be balanced against the possible risks from exposure to the radiation. In some cases, other imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may be an option. But if there is a reason to believe that an x-ray or CT scan is the best way to look for cancer or other diseases, the patient will most likely be helped more than the small dose of radiation can hurt.
Radiation therapy: Ionizing radiation is an effective way to treat certain kinds of cancer. During radiation therapy, high doses of ionizing radiation (much higher than those used for imaging tests) are directed at the cancer, resulting in the death of the cancer cells. However, this can lead to DNA mutations in other cells that survive the radiation, which may eventually lead to the development of a second cancer.
Overall, radiation therapy alone does not appear to be a very strong cause of second cancers. This is probably due to the fact that doctors try to focus the radiation on the cancer cells as much as possible, which means few normal cells are exposed to radiation. Still, some studies have linked radiation therapy with an increased risk of leukemia, thyroid cancer, early-onset breast cancer, and some other cancers. The amount of increased risk depends on a number of factors, include the dose of radiation, the location in the body, and the age of the person getting it (younger people are generally at greater risk later on).
If cancer does develop after radiation therapy, it does not happen right away. For leukemia, most cases develop within 5 to 9 years after exposure. In contrast, other cancers often take much longer to develop. Most of these cancers are not seen for 10 years after radiation therapy, and some are diagnosed even more than 15 years later.
When considering radiation exposure from radiation therapy treatment, the benefits generally outweigh the risks. However, some combinations of radiation therapy and chemotherapy are more risky than others. Doctors do their best to ensure the treatment that is given destroys the cancer while minimizing the risk that a secondary cancer will develop later on.
Try to be informed before you undergo any treatment or tests and weigh the benefits versus the possible risk.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Q 10 Co-enzyme

I was told by the Nutritionist to take Q-10 during chemotherapy to protect my heart from damage. Lately, I've been reading more about Q-10 and the amazing benefits it can provide:

Coenzyme Q-10 is an important vitamin-like substance required for the proper function of many organs and chemical reactions in the body. It helps provide energy to cells. Coenzyme Q-10 also seems to have antioxidant activity. 
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is naturally found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas.  It is eaten in small amounts in meats and seafood. Coenzyme Q-10 can also be taken as medicine. As we age, we lose the amount of Q-10 in our system.

Many people use additional coenzyme Q-10 for treating heart and blood vessel conditions such as congestive heart failure  (CHF), chest pain (angina), high blood pressure,, and heart problems linked to certain cancer drugs. It is also used for diabetes, gum disease (both taken by mouth and applied directly to the gums), breast cancer, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, increasing exercise tolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and Lyme disease. Some people think coenzyme Q-10 will treat hair loss related to taking warfarin, a medication used to slow blood clotting.

 Q-10 might also increase energy. This is because it has a role in producing ATP, a molecule in body cells that functions like a rechargeable battery in the transfer of energy. Coenzyme Q-10 has been tried for treating inherited or acquired disorders that limit energy production in the cells of the body (mitochondrial disorders), and for improving exercise performance.

Some people have also used coenzyme Q-10 for strengthening the immune systems.
To know more, ask your local nutritionist. 

Borrowed from WebMed:

Quinoa- A Complete Protein

(Pronounced keen-wa)

 Quinoa is a seed derived from a vegetable related to Swiss chard and spinach. Maybe that's why it has so many healthy properties.
Native of South America, Quinoa is used like a grain in cooking and is considered one of the grains and cereals food group. It has more protein than rice, millet or wheat and contains all nine essential ammino acids, not to mention riboflavin, selenium, iron and magnesium.
It's gluten-free and non fattening with a low glycemic index which won't spike your body sugars. Most of the calories are protein and complex carbohydrates which break down slowly in your digestive system. 

Serve quinoa like you'd serve rice: as a side, in soups, salads or wraps or eat like oatmeal. Use quinoa flour in gluten-free cooking. 

The main drawback to quinoa is that the seeds are covered with saponins, which are plant compounds that foam when they're mixed with water, similar to soap. The saponins won't hurt you if you consume them, but they give a bitter flavor to the quinoa seeds. Rinsing them well before cooking will fix this problem.
1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa. Boil in either 2 cups of water or vegetable or chicken broth for 15 minutes with the lid on.You can check on it periodically and give it a stir without worrying. Let it stand off the heat for five minutes with the lid on and then fluff with a fork. 
Try adding salt or other aromatic spices during cooking: A clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a dash of black pepper.
Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa?
Yes! Just use the 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.
Quinoa has a nice chewy texture like rice and is very filling. Once you try it, it might become a healthier staple choice  in your kitchen.