Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants, and Cancer

Vitamins

• Essential
• Perform specific functions in the body
• Precursor: converted into an active vitamin in the body
• Fat-Soluble vitamins
o Vitamin A
o Vitamin D
o Vitamin E
o Vitamin K
• Water-Soluble Vitamins
o B vitamins
o Vitamin C

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

• Stored extensively in tissue
• Higher risk for toxicity

Water-Soluble Vitamins

• Easily absorbed and excreted
• Not stored extensively in tissue (except B12)

Minerals

Essential Minerals

•Calcium
•Phosphorus
•Magnesium
•Iron
•Zinc
•Fluoride
•Lodine
•Selenium
•Copper
•Manganese
•Chromium
•Molybdenum
•Sodium
•Potassium
•Chloride

Charged Minerals

• Can combine with minerals of the opposite charge
• Electrical power for muscle contraction and nerve reaction
• Help maintain fluid and acid/base balance
• Initiate enzyme activity

Antioxidants

Free Radical

• Atom that has lost an electron
• Produced by: everyday metabolism and toxic substances
• Play a role in
o Heart Disease
o Cancer
o Emphysema
o Bronchitis
o Premature aging

Antioxidant Vitamins


• Donate electrons to stabilize free radicals
• Vitamin A and Beta-carotene
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Others

Phytochemicals

• Plant chemicals that contain disease-preventing compounds
• Not yet classified as nutrients
• >2000 have been identified
• >100 in one serving of vegetables

Red


• Lycopene, Anthocyanins
• Maintain heart health
• Maintain memory function
• Lower risk of some cancers
• Maintain urinary tract health

Yellow/Orange


• Vitamin C, Carotenoids, Bioflavonoids
• Maintain heart health
• Maintain vision health
• Maintain a healthy immune system
• Lower risk of some cancers

White

• Allyl Sulfides
• Maintain heart health
• Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
• Lower risk of some cancers

Green


• Lutein, Indoles
• Lower risk of some cancers
• Maintain vision health
• Maintain strong bones and teeth

Blue-Purple


• Anthocyanins, Phenolics
• Lower risk of some cancers
• Maintain urinary tract health
• Maintain memory function
• Anti-aging

Others


• Soy Beans, the “Miracle Bean”
o Isoflavones, Saponins
o Decreased risk for heart disease
o Decreased risk for cancer
o May help prevent osteoporosis and reduce symptoms of menopause

• Green tea
o Flavonoids
o Suppress cancer advancement
o Lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol

Supplements and Extracts

• “No evidence that individual phytochemicals extracted from food benefit health”
• “No evidence that vegetable extracts benefit health”

Nutrition and Cancer

Cancer

• Abnormal cells grow out of control
• Second leading cause of death in U.S.

Cancer Development

• Initiation – alternation of DNA
• Promotion – increased number of abnormal cells
• Progression – uncontrolled growth

Fighting Cancer Through Diet

• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
• Eat a varied diet
• Increase fruits and vegetables
• Eat more high fiber foods
• Decrease total fat intake
• Limit consumption of alcohol
• Limit consumption of salt-cured, smoked, pickled, and nitrite-preserved foods

Cancer Treatment

“Unorthodox cures should not substitute for conventional treatments”

Miscarriage and Your Age

Unfortunately, the ratio of miscarriage increases with age because the older you are, the older your eggs are. In addition, older women tend to be more prone to hormonal imbalances that can affect their ability to carry a baby to term. Miscarriage increases more dramatically from the age of 35, which is also when fertility starts to decline more rapidly. But, if you’re in your mid-30s or older, don’t despair; Although you can’t change the quantity of eggs you have, you can definitely improve their quality by following the health recommendations.

Inherited genetic problems If you have recurrent miscarriages, you or your partner might be carrying an inherited genetic problem and should both undergo chromosome analysis (known as karyotyping) to determine if this is the cause.

Fibroids These are benign tumors that can grow anywhere in the body. When they appear in the uterus, they’re known as uterine fibroids, and their position is crucial when it comes to your likelihood of miscarrying. If you have fibroids that extend into the uterus cavity, you may have an increased likelihood of an early miscarriage. This is because the fibroids will interfere with the embryo’s ability to implant in your uterus lining. See a gynecologist to discuss having the fibroids removed.

Bacteria and viruses We come into contact with bacteria and viruses all the time; they surround us, and they frequently cause infection. Unfortunately, there are some infections (such as Chlamydia) that caught early in your pregnancy, can increase your likelihood of miscarriage. In fact, we’ve seen some women who have reported having a fever and feeling very unwell and then miscarrying. Always tell your doctor if you experienced any symptoms like this directly before your miscarriage. In the majority of cases, the link is probably a coincidence, and with any subsequent pregnancy you’re likely to be healthy and carry to term. However, if your infection is in the genitor-urinary tract, without treatment you may miscarry again.

Medication for assisted conception For many women, the fertility drug clomiphene citrate can mean the difference between conceiving and not conceiving because clomiphene triggers ovulation. Unfortunately, clomiphene can also cause your uterus lining to become thinner, making it more difficult for the embryo to attach, which in up to 30 percent of cases will cause a miscarriage.

Problems with hormones The balance of hormones in your body plays a crucial role in your ability to become pregnant. It’s also a crucial factor in the safe development of the embryo into a healthy baby. If there are imbalances in your hormones, you may be at greater risk of miscarriage. For example, your pituitary gland releases luteinizing hormone (LH), which controls the development and release of your egg at ovulation. If the levels of LH in your system are too high in the first half of your cycle (which is often the case if you suffer from PCOS), unfortunately, you’re more likely to miscarry.

Similarly, you have an increased chance of miscarriage If you have lower-than-normal levels of progesterone in your system in the early days of conception. Progesterone is the hormone that the corpus luteum (ruptured follicle) releases after it has expelled its egg – it encourages the lining of your uterus to thicken, in turn helping to maintain your pregnancy in the first delicate weeks. If your doctor tests you for low progesterone and diagnoses a problem, he or she may give you progesterone pessaries or injections in the second half of the cycle to help keep the pregnancy going.

Although you may be predisposed to hormonal irregularities, making them not entirely within your control, you can still take plenty of positive steps to encourage balance. We can’t stress how important it is to follow a good hormone-balancing diet before you try for a baby, so as to minimize the risks that hormone irregularities pose for miscarriage.

Keeping Tabs on Your Tablets

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are staple items in most medicine stashes. But new research sheds light on some inherent risks of taking these over-the-counter drugs. Before you pop your next gel cap, consider these concerns:


The FDA issued new recommendations for warnings and dose restrictions on acetaminophen (Tylenol) products regarding the increased risk for liver damage. Many combination products include the drug, so patients may inadvertently exceed appropriate amounts. If you suffer from liver problems, talk to your doctor before taking acetaminophen, and always follow the dosage limits. Read the fine print on other medications you’re taking to learn if they contain the drug.

A report in the Annals of Renal Medicine found that osteoarthritis patients are 9 times more likely to suffer a heart attack if they take ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve, Motrin) along with aspirin. Long-term use or high doses can also lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. And while the anti-inflammatory is effective in pain management, new research suggests it may hinder the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. So avoid using it to lower fever in standard illnesses. For minor injuries, defer to natural methods, like cold compresses, for reducing inflammation and controlling pain.

In both cases, avoid the “maximum” and “extra-strength” versions, sticking to the lowest potency possible.

Cut the fat – 7 smart swaps


Fats can be sneaky. Even foods that sound like they’re good for you, like granola, popcorn, and vegie chips, can be loaded with them. Take America’s Choice Banana Chips. That sounds like a healthful snack, right? In fact, they have as much fat (10 grams) as 2½ pats of butter – or almost as much as a candy bar. To help you spot foods with hidden fats, we combed through dozens of popular packaged goods and found 7 that are surprisingly high in fat. We also found some smart swaps. So next time you’re about to toss something into your shopping cart, read the nutrition label for that product and similar ones. As you’ll see below, the differences in fat content can be huge. Look at total fat and saturated fat – that’s the kind that can clog arteries and might lead to health problems like heart attack and stroke. If you eat 2,000 calories daily, aim for less than 65 grams of total fat, with saturated fat making up fewer than 20 of those grams. And try to avoid all trans fat.

• Instead of Terra Mediterranean Exotic Vegetable Chips which has calories of 150, total fat of 9 grams in 14 chips (1 ounce) and saturated fat of 1 gram, try Popchips Original Potato which has calories of 120, total fat of 4 grams in 23 chips (1 ounce) and zero saturated fat.
• Instead of Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Sticks which has calories of 270, total fat of 10 grams in 4 pieces (89 grams) and saturated fat of 2.5 grams, try Aunt Jemima Homestyle French Toast which has calories of 220, total fat of 4.5 grams in 2 slices (118 grams) and saturated fat of 1.5 grams.
• Instead of Pillsbury Place’N Bake Crescent Rounds which has calories of 110, total fat of 6 grams in 1 roll (28 grams) and saturated fat of 2 grams, try Pillsbury Biscuits Buttermilk which has calories of 50, total fat of 0.7 grams in 1 biscuit (21 grams) and saturated fat of 0.2 grams.
• Instead of Newtons Fruit Thins Crispy Cookies Cranberry Citrus Oat which has calories of 140, total fat of 5 grams in 3 cookies (30 grams) and saturated fat of 1 gram, try Fig Newtons which has calories of 110, total fat of 2 grams in 2 cookies (31 grams) and zero saturated fat.
• Instead of Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus which has calories of 70, total fat of 6 grams in 2 tablespoons and saturated fat of 1 gram, try Cedar’s Garlic Lovers Hommus which has calories of 40, total fat of 1.5 grams in 2 tablespoons and zero saturated fat.
• Instead of Wish – Bone House Italian dressing, try Wish-Bone Mediterranean Italian dressing, which has less calories, less total fats and less saturated fats.
• Instead of Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers, try Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers Scrabble Junior which has less calories, less total fat and less saturated fat.

Label decoder – keep an eye out for these words on the label when you’re at the store. But pay attention to serving sizes! A true serving can be pretty small, so even if the label says “low fat”, you might be getting more fat and calories than you think.

• Fat free (less than 0.5 grams of fat)
• Low fat (a maximum of 3 grams of fat)
• Reduced fat (at least 25 percent less fat than a similar food has)
• Trans-fat free (less than 0.5 grams of trans fat)

Eat more of these
– while you’re watching out for hidden fats, remember that not all fats are bad for you. Some, namely mono- and polyunsaturated fats, help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL). They might also protect against depression, according to new research.

The popular Mediterranean diet includes lots of foods containing those good fats, such as nuts, olive oil, and fish. Fish that are high in good fats include wild salmon and trout. Other examples are avocados, seeds, and peanut butter.

All fats help fill you up and fuel your body, but limit the saturated kind, which are found in red meat, butter, and cheese and can clog arteries. And all fats add calories, so limit your intake to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories.

What to buy now: Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are one of the most unloved veggies; 69 percent of Americans rarely or never eat them, according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey. But don’t’ let their appearance fool you. These sprouts are superfood. They’re loaded with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, K, and folate. And they pack fiber, potassium, and iron for only about 30 calories for a half cup.

They’re also delicious and won’t even stink up the house – if you don’t’ overcook them. If you’re steaming them whole, start taste-testing at about 4 minutes; they should be tender to the bite. Roasting takes about 25 minutes.

Here’s chef’s secret: Depending on how they’re cooked, – steamed, oven roasted, stewed, or braised in a liquid – they take on different flavors. So if one cooking method doesn’t do it for you, try another before you give up on these nutritious nuggets. Roasting brings out a nutty flavor in the sprouts; to punch it up even more, dress them with hazelnut or walnut oil.

Steamed sprouts taste more like delicate cabbages; drizzle with an Asian-style dressing of sesame oil, soy sauce, and grated fresh ginger. For a heartier, stew- like flavor, try braising sprouts in broth with carrots, pearl onions, and roasted chestnuts. They can even be served raw: Separate the leaves, cut them into thin strips, and toss with a dressing to make a refreshingly different slaw. Here are more tips to bring out their best:

Shop like a pro. Look for tightly closed heads with bright-green color and no yellowing or browning. You may find them sold on the stalk; just cut off the heads with a paring knife.
Size them right. Smaller heads are sweeter and more tender, but if you want to use the leaves alone, bigger heads are easier to work with and faster to prep.

Prep like a pro. Always wash them well and remove and discard any brown or stiff outer leaves. If you’re going to steam, braise, or roast Brussels sprouts, trim the bottom of the stem end, then use a small sharp knife to cut an X into the base so that they will cook faster and more evenly.

Store them right
. You can keep Brussels sprouts in their original container or in a plastic bag for up to a week in your fridge’s veggie crisper.

Chef’s trick: Add cheese and nuts

Serve crispy Brussels sprouts leaves with cheese and almonds as an appetizer: Cut the base off each sprout; separate leaves as you go. Wash and dry leaves in a salad spinner until totally dry. Toss lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 375 ºF for 15 minutes or until leaves start to brown. Bring to room temperature, then toss leaves with a little lemon juice, shaved Parmesan cheese, and chopped Marcona almonds.

Outsmart the Flu

Flu season officially starts this month. But other than incessant hand-scrubbing and getting vaccinated, what else can you do to arm your defenses?

Get buggy. Probiotics are believed to prime your immune system. But skip the supplements, which some studies suggest don’t provide the probiotic punch promised on their labels. Instead, eat more foods that are naturally rich in live and active microflora — like yogurt, miso, fermented sauerkraut, and kefir. Their composition also includes prebiotics — food for the good bacteria — as well as compounds that protect bacterial breakdown from stomach acid and bile.

Snooze. Sleep deprivation is connected to countless health problems plaguing Americans today, including obesity, high blood pressure, and inflammation. But studies show that getting less than 7 hours of zzz a night also raises your susceptibility to colds and flus.

Hydrate. Water is a key to fending off the flu. But many people fall short of the recommended intake. Carry a water bottle with you at all times, and try tea instead of sugary juices, sodas, or coffee. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that L-theanine, a compound in tea, helps sharpen the body’s immune response against infection.