Another Super Soup
World Cancer Day
This Sunday is World Cancer Day and as I have had two very dear friends of mine diagnosed in the last six months I felt compelled to… well, blog doesn’t seem quite the right word (although obviously I am blogging), but to mark this somehow.
The more we talk (and blog) about cancer the more perhaps that people who have been diagnosed with this devastating disease feel that the rest of us are here and willing to support them in whatever way we can and they welcome. World Cancer Day is marked to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. I’m all for that.
Both friends underwent surgery as part of their treatment and had a period of convalescence at home. I visited when I could and for both of them wanted to bring something that showed not just how much I care but also that was helpful. A cake was out of the question; cancer cells love sugar. So I made soup instead.
Having whipped out my trusty book by The Food Doctor I found that 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 (one of my friends had a tumour in her breast removed).
I was also informed they should be eaten raw whenever possible to preserve the indole content. I can’t quite bring myself to advocate eating raw broccoli but I thought I could perhaps cook it for a minute or so before blitzing into a soup with a powerful enough blender, hoping it retained at least some of its nutrients.
Needless to say all ingredients should all be organic where possible.
Broccoli and Watercress Soup
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 bunch of watercress (to taste if you like it peppery)
- 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 just a minute.
- Turn off the heat and throw in the watercress; let it wilt.
- Blitz in a food processor (I discovered that a hand-held blender simply won’t cut the mustard or, to be more precise, the just-cooked broccoli. That requires 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 protein that has been linked to breast cancer. In this soup the small amount of potato provides substance instead of flavour so it makes no odds to whether you use white potatoes or sweet ones.
Lunch was finished off with a punnet of organic raspberries which are all-round good guys (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 to note is that lunch was delicious.
We all know that prevention is better than cure my friends, so what’s stopping you? Make this soup and enjoy by yourself or with those you love.
How you do you care for your friends in need? Do you have a favourite recipe? Next week I’ll be posting a recipe for a gluten-free flatbread that goes with this soup – or any other for that matter. Delicious!