Thursday, May 12, 2016

Food Synergy: New Cancer Research and a Recipe

Recent research is suggests an increasingly important role for nutrition in preventing and treating a range of conditions, including cancer. In the 1990s, scientists at the University College of Medical Sciences in New Delhi studied mice that had been exposed to a carcinogen that caused breast tumors in 100% of them. When nutritional substances were administered beforehand, the risk of developing cancer was reduced from 50% for the mice who ingested one substance to 90% for those who ingested four nutrients together (described in David Servan-Schreiber’s book, Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life, p. 110).

At Sainte-Justine Children’s Hospital in Montreal Richard Béliveau, PhD, and his team worked with immune-deficient mice that had been injected with cancer cells. Mice that were fed a cocktail of anti-cancer nutrients stayed in better health and developed less serious, slower growing tumors, results discussed in Béliveau’s 2006 book Foods That Fight Cancer.

 A 2013 study headed by Madhwa Raj, PhD, at Lousiana State University Health Sciences Center tested ten nutrients and found them to be ineffective when used individually. However, when researchers selected six of the nutrients and administered them together, 100% of breast cancer cells were killed with no side effects for normal cells.

Live human beings will not necessarily respond the same way as mice or cells in a petri dish. Unless there is more research, these intriguing results will probably be ignored by conventional medicine. Financing such research is likely to be a challenge when a positive result will enrich only grocery store owners. In addition, there may be ethical limitations in designing such studies for people who already have cancer or some other serious illness.

As a creative project, I decided to develop a drink that included four easily purchased foods similar to the nutrients used in the LSUHC study. It is not the most delicious mango lassi you have ever tasted­ – the ginger taste still comes through – but it is certainly drinkable. Will it really help anyone’s health? There’s no way to know for sure, but the drink is cheap, easy to prepare, and safe, unless you’re allergic to one of the ingredients. As an added bonus, the four spices I have used show promise against Alzheimer’s as well as cancer. I’ll be drinking my mango lassi every day along with my usual breakfast.

The Mango Lassi with Anti-Cancer Spices

Time: 15 minutes including cleanup
Servings: 1 large drink

Caution: Turmeric can leave a vivid yellow stain that may be impossible to remove. To avoid damaging clothing and countertops, wear an apron, measure over a plate or cutting board, and wash measuring spoons immediately after use. By itself, turmeric is not well absorbed by the body: mixing it with black pepper and olive oil improves bioavailability, the reason for the somewhat tricky procedure here.

Before you start: Cut a medium banana into thirds and freeze it in a plastic bag.

1 green teabag
4 oz. boiling water
1/3 medium banana, previously frozen
¼ teaspoon wasabi powder
2 level tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder
1 heaping tablespoon Greek yogurt
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1/16 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon olive or avocado oil
Raw ginger about the size of you first thumb joint, peeled andsliced across the grain
A handful of frozen mango chunks (1/2 – 2/3 cup)
Cold water (optional)
½ packet of stevia (optional)

1. Brew teabag in hot water and let cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. To the container of a blender add the 1/3 banana, wasabi powder, whey protein powder, and Greek yogurt.
3. Place a clean tablespoon on a plate or cutting board. Measure turmeric and put it in the tablespoon. Measure black pepper and add it to the tablespoon.
4. Pour olive oil into a measuring spoon over the blender container but don’t add it yet. Lift the tablespoon with the spices and hold it under the olive oil. Add the olive oil to the turmeric and pepper and use the measuring spoon to blend it into a paste in the tablespoon. Now add the paste to the blender and wash both spoons.
5. Peel the ginger and chop it into small pieces – you should have about two rounded teaspoons – and add that.
6. Add the mango chunks and the green tea. Squeeze the teabag to get out all the liquid.
7.  Pulse the mixture 15-20 times to chop hard ingredients, then puree for a slow count of 30.
8. If the drink is too thick, stir in some cold water. If it’s not sweet enough, add stevia.

Note: Ginger is easier to peel and chop if you wet it first. Thanks to Real Simple magazine for this tip.

Update: I have recently learned that I am deficient in alpha-linolenic acid. The fix for this is to take one tablespoon of flax seed oil per day. When I add this to the mango lassi, I find that it cuts back the ginger taste. Flax seed oil is expensive so I probably wouldn't use it if I didn't have the deficiency.

Update: The next post has another example of food synergy, The Pretty Good Almond-Berry Green Smoothie:

Important Update: An Egyptian study showed that curcumin plus EGCG, a green tea derivative, enhanced the effectiveness of chemo in 30 non-Hodgkins lymphoma patients. Twelve of the patients went into partial remission and 18 went into complete remission. The patients remained disease-free for a mean of 8.6 years after treatment.

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