Tag Archives: berries

Fight cancer at the farmer’s market

FoodFacts.com does its best to inform our community of different foods that are beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying healthy has to do with many different parts of a person’s life: diet, nutrition, stress and heredity are among those things that play a role. While there are elements of our lives we just don’t have control over (like our family tree), there are things we can do to reduce our risk of disease.

Certain foods have been identified as helpful in the reduction of cancer risk. These foods are packed with nutritional content. They are typically low in calories and high in fiber.

The American Institute for Cancer research has cited weight control as a key factor in preventing some cancers. In fact, obesity is said to increase the risk of colorectal, esophageal, endometrial, pancreatic, renal and postmenopausal breast cancers.

There are food gwhat-are-cruciferous-vegetablesroups that boast especially beneficial nutritional components that will help control weight and bring countless other health benefits. Here are some food groups that can help you enjoy better health:

  • Cruciferous vegetables – Research has shown that the phytochemical, sulforaphane, found in these vegetables can stimulate enzymes in the body that are thought to detoxify carcinogens before they can damage cells. Indole 3-carbinol and crambene (compounds also found in crucierous vegetables) are also thought to activate detoxification enzymes.
  • Garlic helps protect against stomach cancer, colon cancer, esophageal, pancreatic and breast cancers. Onions, leeks and chives have all shown similar effects.
  • Berries are also high in vitamin C, fiber and ellagic acid, shown to reduce the risk of breast, lung, bladder and skin cancers. In addition, berries have been shown to slow down the growth of cancer cells.
  • Beans - Legumes like lentils, peas and any dried beans are high in saponins. Saponins are phytochemicals found in beans and herbs. They have been shown to be beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol levels, cancer risks and supporting bone health. Beans are also high in fiber.peas
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale, dark lettuces) have carotenoids, which protect against cancer of the mouth, larynx and pharynx. Other research has found that the carotenoids in these vegetables also slow the growth of certain types of stomach, lung, breast and skin cancer cells.
  • Grapes and grape juice are also loaded with resveratrol. The skin of grapes contains most of its resveratrol. Red grapes carry more of the phytochemical than green grapes. Resveratrol is thought to slow the growth of cancer cells and may inhibit tumors in the liver and stomach.
  • Tomatoes sport there beautiful red color because of the phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene is linked to the reduction of the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene and other related anyoxidants have displayed anti-cancer benefits in varying studies with other cancer cells beyond prostate, including breast, lung and endometrial.

FoodFacts.com is excited to continually share with you the food choices that will work to keep you vital, healthy and energetic. All the foods detailed here are tasty

additions to your diet, and they offer protection against cancer, not to mention carrying many other nutrients that benefit your body in a variety of ways. Stock up and get cooking!

A Miracle Fruit?

Foodfacts.com recently came across this article in TIME magazine regarding a “miracle fruit” that changes sour into sweet. How? Read below to learn more!

If you have any foodie friends, you’ve probably heard of miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), a native West African berry that looks like a cranberry, but acts like a psychedelic for your taste buds.

Eat the miracle fruit on its own and it doesn’t taste like much of anything. But let the juices coat your mouth, then consume sour foods — like lemons, limes, goat cheese, beer, vinegar, pickles — and a remarkable thing happens: they all taste sweet.
“Beer tastes like sweet juice. Lemon tastes like sweet orange,” Keiko Abe of the University of Tokyo told Discovery News.

The fruit’s effect lasts for an hour, and like other trippy experiences, it’s more fun to do it in groups. So adventuresome eaters seek out “flavor tripping parties” during which people pop a berry, then gorge on all manner of sour foods. Guinness beer tastes like chocolate. Tabasco sauce tastes like “hot doughnut glaze,” as one flavor tripper was quoted as saying in this story in the New York Times.

This week, Abe reported the key to miracle fruit’s magic. To figure it out, Abe’s research team used cell cultures to test human taste receptors at various pHs. According to Discovery News:

The key ingredient in the fruit, a protein known as miraculin, binds strongly to the sweet taste receptors on our tongues, Abe reported, but it does not activate the receptors at neutral pH.

When acid is introduced, the miraculin protein changes shape in such a way that it turns on the sweet receptors it is bound to, creating a sensation of ultra-sweet without affecting the other flavors in the food.

After the acidic food is swallowed, miraculin returns to the inactive shape, but it remains bound to the sweet receptor for up to an hour, ready to receive a new acid trigger. The strong binding explains the molecule’s lasting effect.

Abe said the sweet-making power of miraculin was stronger than nearly all other known sweeteners. Given that it’s calorie-free, of course there has been no shortage of interest in developing it into a commercially usable sweetener. Perhaps it will be in Japan, where the production of a purified miraculin extract is currently being sought. As for the U.S., however, a 1974 ruling by the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of an extract.


Labeling Tricks

Foodfacts.com came across an article featured on Food Network which discusses how to avoid food labeling tricks which are used to make some foods appear healthier. Check it out below! Have any advice of your own to share?

Food labels are carefully worded to entice shoppers to choose certain items. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found dieters often fall for simple labeling tricks that make them believe certain foods are healthier than they are. Find out the top 5 traps people fell into and how to avoid them.

#1: Fruit Chew vs. Candy Chew
The same food labeled with the word “fruit” verses “candy” had dieters opting for the fruit-labeled boxes with identical chews inside. If it doesn’t contain real fruit, it’s probably the same product with different flavoring. Check the ingredients before you buy!

#2: Pasta vs. Salads

Diners watching their calories often jump to the salad section over pasta, since that seems like the healthier choice. But not always: Toppings like avocado, cheese, beans, croutons, fried chicken or too much dressing drive salad calories sky-high (that’s why they made our top 9 “healthy” foods to skip). Ask the server how the salad is prepared, and if any of the toppings or dressings are optional. Get our tips for swapping out high-cal salad toppings >>

#3: Flavored Water vs. Juice
Find yourself grabbing the “flavored” water because it seems like the healthier choice? That’s what the Journal of Consumer research study found their subjects did. Water seems harmless, but many varieties are nothing more than sugar water. If sugar isn’t added, then oftentimes artificial sweeteners are. A glass of freshly squeezed juice may contain natural sugar called fructose, but also a variety of vitamins and minerals. If in doubt, real, unadulterated water is always a great choice.

#4: Veggie Chips vs. Potato Chips
Think veggie chips are healthier than potato chips? Think again: Aren’t potatoes vegetables?!? Any vegetable fried and made to look like a chip can be labeled a veggie chip, so don’t fall for that labeling trick! If you want chips (whether veggie or potato), be sure to stick to a reasonable portion (about 15 chips).

#5: Smoothies vs. Milkshakes

Milkshakes are loaded with fat and calories, but slap on a label that says “smoothie” and dieters feel they’ve made a healthier decision. Be sure to inquire about the ingredients that go into that smoothie, and keep the portion size reasonable. Get our tips for a healthier smoothie >>

Bottom Line: Don’t fall into the naming trap — if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Do some investigating by reading food label ingredient lists and nutrition facts. If you’re dining out, don’t be shy! Ask the wait staff about menu items.

(Food Network- Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN)