Towards the end of the summer holidays a dear friend of mine found a lump in her breast and was diagnosed with stage one cancer. Recently she underwent a lumpectomy and I went to visit her during her post-op recuperation. I wanted to take something that showed how much I care for her but also something that was helpful. I decided to bring lunch.
Rather than terrify myself by Googling “anti-cancer” diet (to be honest, mine is most definitely not that most of the time) I whipped out my trusty Food Doctor and did my research. Cruciferous foods – broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy and watercress – have renowned anti-cancer properties. They contain indoles, which stimulate the production of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. It is also believed that indoles inactivate excess oestrogens that can cause cancer, particularly of the breast.
I was also informed they should be eaten raw whenever possible to preserve the indole content. I can’t advocate eating raw broccoli but I thought I could perhaps cook it lightly before blitzing into a soup and hope that it retained at least some of its nutrients.
Needless to say, all ingredients should all be organic where possible.
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 bunch of watercress
- ¼ small sweet potato
- Vegetable stock
- Gently try the onion until soft (about 10 minutes) and then add the garlic.
- Slice the sweet potato and add to pan. Cover with vegetable stock and simmer 10 minutes or until done.
- Chop the broccoli into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes until just soft.
- Turn off the heat and throw in the watercress to wilt.
- Blitz in a food processor (to my cost, I discovered that a hand-held blender simply won’t cut the mustard or, to be more precise, the just-cooked broccoli. They require serious equipment.)
Onions and garlic both contain allicin, a sulphur compound which is a detoxifier and garlic also stimulates white blood cells that consume cancer cells. Normally I would use white potatoes as a thickener but as they have a high glycaemic index so here replaced with sweet potato that is low-GI. Low-GI carbs take longer to digest and cause only a small, slow rise in blood glucose and insulin as opposed to the high GI white potato. Excess insulin can lead to increased levels of IGF-1, a protein that has been linked to breast cancer; furthermore, high levels of insulin and IGF-1 are associated with increased hormone levels and an increased risk of breast cancer. Best not go there if you can help it.
Lunch was finished off with a punnet of raspberries (high in ellagic acid which is a proven anti-carcinogen, anti-mutagen and an inhibitor of breast cancer.)
And while all that is very useful and interesting, the main thing is lunch
We all know that prevention is better than cure ladies, so what’s stopping you?