Super Food of the Week:
Tomatoes are a jackpot of riches when it comes to their antioxidant and nutrient benefits. In terms of antioxidants, tomatoes provide a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene in addition to being a good source of vitamin E and cancer fighting phytonutrients including lycopene. Other nutrients found in tomatoes include vitamins A, K, B-vitamins, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, iron, protein, and so much more for hair and health support. Tomatoes are enjoyed all over the world to the tune of about 130 million tons per year. Tomatoes provide cardiovascular support, support for bone health and anti-cancer benefits.
Tomatoes have been repeated linked to improved heart health by two basic lines of research: antioxidant support and the regulation of fats in the blood stream. The cardiovascular system has the greatest need for antioxidant protection in the entire human body. The heart and bloodstream are responsible for delivering oxygen thought the body and antioxidants are needed to keep this oxygen in check. Vitamin E and C and lycopene are the premier antioxidants and heart-supportive nutrients in tomatoes. Lycopene helps to reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels in the blood, thereby helping to prevent heart and cardiovascular diseases. Lycopene has also been linked to bone health and is a growing area in research.
Tomatoes’ track record as a cancer-preventing food is no surprise given the list of 15+ antioxidants found in a serving of tomatoes. Risk for many types of cancer start with chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation and for this reason foods that provide us with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support are often foods that show cancer prevention properties. Tomatoes are the total package in this area. Prostate cancer is the most researched type of cancer in relationship to tomato intake with research having found that tomatoes can help lower the risk of prostate cancer in men.
When shopping for tomatoes chose one that have rich colors. Deep reds are a great choice but tomatoes of all colors provide outstanding nutrient benefits. Whenever possible, try to develop or find recipes that make use of the whole tomato to get the most antioxidant benefits. Tomatoes can always be added to a salad, but they are also a great addition to bean and vegetable soups and sandwiches.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
If you’ve noticed everyone wearing a lot of pink over the last few days it’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone one from NFL players to local community health clinics are going pink to raise awareness and show support in the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women following lung cancer. It is predicted by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation that an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in among women in the United States this year with an estimated 39, 520 deaths. The five year survival rate of breast cancer is over 90% when caught early.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle may help lower your risk of breast cancer as well as other diseases. Being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is the first steps. If you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men. Also breastfeeding is linked to a lowered risk of breast cancer. You should also know your risk of breast cancer though family history and talking with your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer. Getting screened for breast cancer is also important as well. Speak with your doctor about which tests are appropriate for you if you are at a higher risk. Regular yearly mammograms every year starting at age 40 is often recommended if you’re at average risk. Starting at age 20, having a clinical breast exam at least every three years and doing monthly self-breast exams are essential to early detection and thus a higher survival rate. Monthly self-breast exams allow you to know what’s normal for you. If you notice any changes in your breast (lumps, change in size, discharge or a new pain) you should see your health care provider. If you’re worried about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, one way to deal with your concerns is to get as much information as possible. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States thanks to awareness, early detection and research.
Breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease, it’s everybody’s disease. Even men have been diagnosed with breast cancer. There are many organizations that are leading the fight in against breast cancer though research and promoting awareness. If you would like to show your support in the fight against breast cancer and help raise awareness there are literally thousands of ways to do so. People have joined the fight by making donations to research and participating in fundraisers, purchasing items whose manufacturers donate a portion of the profit to breast cancer research, and something as simple as wearing a pink ribbon. Even being a product junkie can help fund breast cancer research and raise awareness as companies that make products for naturally curly hair are getting in on the fight as well.
For more information on breast cancer or ways you can help join the fight you can visit the following websites:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure: ww5.komen.org/Default.aspx
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website: www.nbcam.org/index.cfm
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc: www.nationalbreastcancer.org
For Zumba ® Fitness lovers who want to join the fight: www.zumba.com/partyinpink
For products for naturally curly hair that support Breast Cancer Awareness visit www.naturallycurly.com
Pink is more than just a color, it’s the power to save lives.
Until next week…