by Lynn Kerrigan
By now, everyone knows that 2001 is the beginning of the real new millennium, though it's a ho-hum time because the world decided to celebrate it a year early when the calendar rolled over its three 9's to three 0's.
Whether it's a new year or a new millennium, it's regarded as the ideal time to make promises you can keep. The reason most of us fail to keep our good intentions is that we bite off more than we can chew. For instance if you need to lose weight (probably the number one resolution), it's better to shoot for a loss of a pound or two a week than to resolve to lose fifty pounds. Setting a realistic goal helps keep us on track.
One of the wisest resolutions we can make is to eat more foods that may help extend our lives or prevent disease. The best way to change eating habits is to break the task down into manageable parts by adding new foods one at a time into the diet. Add disease-fighting foods gradually into your daily menu until all are part of your everyday life. For instance, you may want to start eating a small salad each day using green, red or orange peppers. Do this for three weeks, until it becomes a habit. In the ensuing three weeks, add radishes, broccoli and/or watercress to the mix.
Here are the top cancer fighting foods from the National Foundation for Cancer Research:
Peppers, crisp, sweet and brightly colored. A great source of cancer fighting Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folic acid and potassium.
Crucifers including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips and watercress. All include powerful phytochemicals that help stave off cancer by stimulating protective enzymes, blocking carcinogens from entering cells and suppress tumor growth. Crucifers help guard against bladder cancer.
Berries. Cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and folic acid, high in fiber and potassium and are strong antioxidants.
Water. Mineral, spring and seltzer and decaffeinated tea are the best beverages to drink and play an important role in digestion, nutrient transmission and absorption and temperature regulation and help maintain weight. Try to drink at least 6-8 cups of fluid a day.
Lycopene found in tomato-based pasta sauce, tomato paste, ketchup and salsa contain powerful antioxidant properties. Lycopene consumption may reduce the risk of prostate and certain other cancers, and plays an essential role in the body's defense against aging and degenerative diseases.
Extra virgin olive oil—one of the healthiest types of fat—contains phytochemicals with antioxidants and Vitamin E. Olive oil may help prevent breast and colon cancer.
Apples. Full of cancer fighting phytochemicals and proven to inhibit the growth of both colon and liver cancer cells. Make sure to eat the peel.
Pumpkins, sweet potatoes and acorn squash. These are virtual battalions of cancer fighting carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene.
Source: National Foundation for Cancer Research (800-321-CURE or visit their web site at www.NFCR.org)
February is a month that hosts a myriad of food-related celebrations like Plum Pudding Day (February 12th), Pancake Week (February 21-27) and Gumdrop Day on February 15. There's also Pistachio Day, Chocolate Mint Day, Tortilla Chip Day, Grapefruit Month, Snack Food Month and Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day.
My favorite is Canned Food Month. Canned foods—especially fruits and vegetables—often get the shaft as many people think they're inferior to their fresh counterparts. This is a myth. Unless you're able to eat vegetables plucked right from the vine, you're most likely missing some of their nutrients. Oxidation is a nutrient's worse enemy and the time it takes to truck the goods to the store and the time it spends sitting on the shelves and then in your refrigerator may rob vegetables of a considerable amount of their health-giving properties.
However, canned vegetables (and fruits) are usually picked and canned at peak freshness and therefore, peak nutritional quality.
For more interesting facts about canned foods including wonderful recipes, visit the web site of the Canned Food Alliance at www.cannedfood.org.
This is my last column as the Culinary Sleuth for The Global Gourmet. I've thoroughly enjoyed my stint here, but it's time to move on. In this New Millennium, I've decided to make life look like what I've always dreamed it should be. That means spending more time with my family, especially my grandson, giving back by volunteering time to worthy causes and working only on projects I truly enjoy. I wish you all the courage to do the same.
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This page created February 2001
Copyright © 1998-2001, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.
This page modified February 2007
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