The most common types of brain cancers are gliomas and meningiomas. Gliomas are cancers that grow from glia cells or glial cells, the supportive cells that hold neurons in place. Meningiomas are cancers that grow from the brain covering (meninges)
Aspartame and long term cell phone use are being studied for their link to increased brain cancer risk
It is estimated that 55,000 Canadians are surviving with a brain tumour
Two Awesome Foods to Support Brain Health
Walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols.
Omega-3’s exhibit neuro-protective properties and are critical for normal brain function and development throughout all stages of life.
Polyphenolic compounds found in walnuts reduce the oxidant and inflammatory load on brain cells and improve interneuronal signaling
Avocados contain monounsaturated fats. This contributes to healthy blood flow, which carries over to a healthy brain. Avocados also lower blood pressure, and hypertension is a major risk for decline in cognitive abilities.
Walnut & Avocado Pesto
Pesto Sauce is one of my favourite things to do with basil. So because this is Brain Cancer Awareness month I thought I would experiment with my regular recipe to incorporate a these 2 brain healthy foods.
Let me know your thoughts!
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup packed fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Pulse avocado, walnuts and basil in food processor until smooth
2. Add garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and lemon juice. Pulse until well blended
3. Stream in the olive oil slowly while the food processor is running. It is important to do this slowly to help it to emulsify. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor when needed
No bake energy balls are the perfect little pick me up when your energy is low or your tummy is a grumblin’!
And once you have the basics in place you are only limited by your own creativity.
The basics of a good energy ball include:
Nut or seed butter
A sweetener like honey or maple syrup
Boosters and Tasters.
And this my friends, the Boosters and Tasters, is where you set your energy balls apart from the rest. Boosters and tasters include hemp seeds, chia seeds, cacoa nibs, coconut, chocolate chips, dried fruit and flavourings such and vanilla and mint.
So here is your basic recipe:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nut butter
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
2 Tablespoons of a Booster like hemp
Blend the oats in your food processor until a flour consistency then add the rest of your basic ingredients and your choices of Tasters. Form in to balls, place on a cookie sheet and then place them into the freezer for 10 minutes to set their shape.
There are many functions of food within a cancer protocol. A well structured diet helps to strengthen and prepare a cancer patient’s body before surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. It provides key nutrients for patients going through treatment, helps to lower the risk of infection and it helps to detoxify, strengthen and repair a cancer patient’s body post treatment.
But as important as these functions of food are, often missed or overlooked is the function of food to bring joy and joy can be a hard thing to find when you are going through a cancer diagnosis.
The heart of a house is the kitchen. It is where our bodies and our soles are nourished. It is where we succeed in plating a great meal or laugh at a recipe gone wrong. Food brings families and friends to the table and science shows that eating together has great benefits including greater happiness and healthier food choices.
Eating meals together offers an opportunity to reconnect to those that are central to our being, to those that give our lives meaning. Food is a part of our history. It is a part of the essence of who we are and where we come from. It evokes memories and makes memories.
Gathering in the kitchen and sitting around the table can bring back life as it was before cancer. And although this may only be for a brief time each day, these moments can invigorate and strengthen a cancer patient enough to help them to move forward when the road ahead can seem so hard.
I have done the schooling, the certifications and I will forever continue to expand my knowledge of Nutrition Oncology to better serve the cancer patients that I work with. But to this day I feel that the greatest thing that I have to offer to cancer patients, their family and friends lies not in my book knowledge but in my personal experience with having had cancer. I cherished moments of normalcy, those times when I was just mom again and not a cancer patient.
Many of those moments were in my kitchen. Not when I was using food as a tool in my protocol but when my food was a meal.
Food preservatives are added to MANY of our food items to give them a longer shelf life. They are added to foods that go bad quickly and are found in all kinds of products in our grocery stores.
It is of interest to note that different types of preservatives work in different ways. Some prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Others prevent delicate fats from going rancid.
There are many different types of preservatives used. And while the most commonly used ones are “approved,” this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily healthy. Added to this, foods with preservatives tend to be more processed and less-nutritious foods to begin with. Not a good 1-2 punch for cancer prevention.
So let’s learn more about a few common food preservatives.
Back in the day, before that advent of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve food.
But in today’s day and age, with the advent of refrigeration, salt is not needed for food preservation nearly as much. But our taste buds still seem to crave it on an epic scale. The average American eats over 3,400 mg of sodium per day, well over the recommended 2,300 mg/day. Much of this is because salt is found in many processed foods.
According to Harvard Health:
“… reducing dietary salt (table salt that is only sodium, chloride and iodine) will lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and save lives.”
So, salt is one of those all-too-common food preservatives that most of us will do better with less of.
Nitrites (nitrates and nitrosamines)
Nitrites are preservatives added to processed meats. They’re not bad in and of themselves, but they do turn into harmful chemicals called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Nitrites form nitrosamines when they are cooked at high heat, and sometimes even when exposed to the high acid environment of the stomach.
Nitrites are added to meats to keep the pink-red colour and prevent “browning.” They are found mainly in bacon, ham, sausages and lunch meats.
Of note, processed meats have been linked with colon cancer. Because of the nitrites? Perhaps, but either way, nitrosamines are a confirmed health-buster.
Since nitrosamines (from nitrites) are the bad guys and are formed by cooking nitrites at high heat, what are nitrates?
Nitrates are naturally found in many healthy foods like vegetables. They’re especially high in beets.
Sometimes our enzymes or gut bacteria change these healthy nitrates into nitrites. However, they rarely form nitrosamines.
BHA & BHT
Have you seen BHA & BHT on any packaging? Perhaps on cereal packages or in gum?
“BHA/BHT has been added to the package to help maintain freshness?”
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are preservatives. They are antioxidants added to many processed foods. The main way BHA and BHT work is by preventing fats from going rancid. Are they safe? Well, they’re approved for use as a preservative in small doses. However, some studies have shown that they can cause cancer in animals at high doses.
So how do we minimize our exposure to preservatives?
First and foremost this is best accomplished by eating fresh, whole foods. This will ensure that your diet is low in preservatives and loaded with important nutrients to fuel your good health.
Secondly read your labels. Know what you are consuming. Knowledge is power!