Nourish Me, Starve Cancer
What do these foods have in common?
By now we all know the benefits of eating well to build immunity and prevent disease. We may also be familiar with the benefits of phytochemicals and antioxidants–found abundantly in brightly colored fruits and vegetables–and their ability to bind to oxygen-free radicals in our bodies to prevent potential cancer-causing oxidation. Now, recent research reveals a completely new and exciting cancer-fighting potential of certain healthful foods…the ability to starve cancer cells by stopping angiogenesis (the proliferation of blood vessels), thereby cutting off blood supply to those cells. Among these foods are strawberries, garlic, leafy greens such as kale, olive and grapeseed oils, turmeric, soy, red wine and green tea.
Under normal, healthy conditions, our bodies keep our blood vessel growth in balance. Blood vessels proliferate normally in wound healing, during menstruation, and pregnancy. They also decline when no longer needed so as to keep them in check. When we’re out of balance, too few blood vessels can cause problems including chronic wounds that will not heal, and heart disease, and unrestrained blood vessel growth can signal the presence of many diseases. According to recent research by William Li, M.D., President and Medical Director, The Angiogenesis Foundation, many diseases including cancer, diabetes and maybe even obesity have the common denominator of blood vessel growth gone wild…or angiogenesis.
Cancer starts as a cluster of mutated cells. According to Li, microscopic tumors exist in all of our bodies as we age. When fueled by a blood supply, these tumors can proliferate and become dangerous. Without that fuel these cells can exist and never become a threat. There are several anti-angiogenic pharmaceuticals on the market to treat cancer by curbing blood vessels (Tarceva, Avastin, etc.). Beyond drugs, according to Li, “mother nature has laced a large number of foods, beverages and herbs with naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis.” Eating them can boost our bodies’ immunity and prevent blood vessels from forming and feeding cancer cells.
Curious to learn more? Watch this very informative 20-minute TED Talk by William Li to learn more about the prevention of angiogenesis through what we eat: http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li.html
One Recipe, Two Sauces
1. Cutting Edge Green Goddess Dressing
2. Green Peanut Sauce
I choose organic produce whenever possible. Use the dressing on salad or as a marinade for chicken. Use the peanut sauce on pasta and as a sauce on grilled or sautéed chicken and beef strips for saté.
1/2 cup kale leaves (2-3 leaves), tough part of stalks removed
1 lemon, peeled
1 scallion, cut into several pieces
1/4 cup parsley leaves
5 fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2″ knob fresh ginger, peeled
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 T sesame oil
2 T tamari (or soy sauce if you are not gluten-free)
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t crushed red pepper
STOP HERE FOR DRESSING. FOR PEANUT SAUCE, CONTINUE.
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 additional T tamari
Place all ingredients into a high-power blender and blend until smooth.