DIETARY CHOICES PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN REDUCING CANCER RISK
Cancer is not a single disease, but the generic name for more than 100 dis eases, all having in common the uncontrolled reproduction of abnormal cells. Although scientists are only now beginning to understand the causes and growth of cancer, there exists a large and growing body of evidence showing that the foods we choose each day play a major part in cancer prevention.
Scientists have long estimated that a large percentage of our cancer risk is related to our lifestyle choices. The international report on cancer prevention from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AIRC), “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective,” found that 30% to 40% of all cancers are directly linked to the foods we eat, the exercise we get and how well we watch our weight. And the report estimates that 30% of cancers can be prevented by not using tobacco. What this means is that we have the potential through our daily food and lifestyle choices to make a major impact on the cancer risk we each face in our lives.
The cancer prevention opportunities offered by research and education programs in diet, nutrition and cancer are enormous. It has only been in the last 15 to 20 years that research in diet and cancer has been given more attention and has begun to attract the levels of funding that can bring strong results. Today an increasing understanding of the role of vitamins, minerals, fats, fiber and phytochemicals offers each of us the opportunity to make simple changes for lower cancer risk.
With more than 1.2 million new cancer cases in the U.S. each year, and more than 500.000 cancer deaths annually, programs that can produce even a small reduction in cancer rates offer enormous savings in lives, suffering and medical expense. AICR has been at the forefront of providing education programs and materials to help people learn how to make changes for lower cancer risk. Click here to pop-up a window with the AICR Diet and Health Guidelines for Cancer Prevention. See how many of the recommendations you’re currently following for better health and lower cancer risk.
Currently, there are no guarantees against cancer. But with overwhelming scientific evidence showing that the vast majority of cancers are directly related to our lifestyle choices (with diet and smoking as the two major influencers of cancer risk), there is a great deal that we each can do to reduce our cancer risk.
Instead of grilled chicken, here it is sautéed and nestled in a tortilla with browned onions, crisp-tender green peppers and spiked with jalapeños.
Juice of 1/2 lime
I whole boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. canola oil
1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, cut in 1/2-inch strips
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, cut lengthwise in thin strips
4, 9-inch whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup well drained salsa
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1. Pour lime juice into plastic container just large enough to hold chicken breast. Sprinkle cumin over chicken, being sure to season on both sides. Place seasoned breast in container and marinate in refrigerator, 2 to 24 hours.
2. Add one teaspoon oil to a medium, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add onion, green and jalapeño peppers, stirring to coat with oil. Sauté until onions are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Pep pers will still be slightly crisp. Set aside, Do not clean pan. Option: add grated reduced fat cheddar and avocado in place of onions and peppers.
3. Cut marinated chicken lengthwise into 10 to 12 strips, the thinner the better. In pan used to sauté vegetables, heat remaining oil. Add chicken and cook until no pink shows in center of thickest piece, about 4 minutes on each side. The meat may brown slightly.
4. Place 2 to 3 chicken slices in center of each tortilla. Add 1 tablespoon drained salsa and one-quarter of sautéed vegetables. Sprinkle generously with cilantro. Roll-up tortilla and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings, each containing 179 calories and 4 g of fat.
Cooking for two: Marinate half of chicken breast. Reduce amounts of other ingredients accordingly.
RICH VEGETABLE STOCK
This intensely flavorful broth is great for cooking grains, soups and all kinds of meatless dishes. Remember to freeze some of it as ice cubes so you can use small amounts for steaming zucchini, spinach and other vegetables.
1 medium leek, white part only, chopped
1 medium onion, halved 3 cups (4 to 5 leaves) torn romaine lettuce
2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped zucchini
3/4 cup stemmed green beans, halved
3 ribs celery, cut in 4 pieces each
1/2 cup quartered mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
15 stems parsley
1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes, with 1 cup of their liquid
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. whole peppercorns
1. In large stock pot or pasta pot, place leek, onion, lettuce, cabbage, carrot, zucchini, green beans, celery, mushrooms, celery leaves and pars ley stems. Add 12 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and juice, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let stock cool with vegetables and seasoning. Strain and refrigerate or freeze.
Makes 3 quarts, about 9 servings, each containing 27 calories and less than 1 g of fat.
NEW WALDORF SALAD
We’ve updated a high-fat classic by using fat-free mayonnaise and adding succulent, ripe cherries for brilliant color and juicy taste. To save preparation time, use frozen or canned cherries.
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup pitted, sweet dark fresh cherries, halved
1 cup diced Red Delicious apple
1/2 cup dark seedless raisins
1/4 cup toasted walnut halves
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
4 cups dark leafy greens
In a salad bowl, combine celery. cherries, apple, raisins and walnuts. In measuring cup, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon zest. Toss salad with dressing. Serve over greens of choice.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 51 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the nation’s third largest cancer charity, focusing exclusively on the link between diet and cancer. The Institute provides a wide range of consumer education programs that help millions of Ameri cans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also sup ports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. The Institute has provided more than $65 million in funding for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. www.aicr.org