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The B's of Prevention: Berries and Broccoli to Fight Cancer.

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Berries and Broccoli Are Your Breasts’ Friends

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates

Hippocrates certainly knew what he was talking about, and I keep this quote close at hand to remind myself that everything I eat will influence my internal body chemistry, and either promote or inhibit good health.

We are told over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I was guilty of skipping breakfast many mornings when I was teaching. I would take the easy road and pack a muffin. I thought I was eating healthy; I did pack a bran muffin, but knowing what I learned from my research, it was very little bran and lots of sugar. We’ll talk more about that later. I learned how important it is to eat my B’s and how powerful these allies are to my good health.

Now for the B’s…

The first B: Berries

There’s no better way to start the day than with fresh fruit. Some of the best are the berry family: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. These delicious “Powerfood” cousins are packed with lots of antioxidants and vitamins and low in sugar. These natural treats that almost everyone loves, provide potent anticancer compounds. Clinical trials on berry consumption and cancer prevention at Ohio State University’s College of Medicine promote the concept of ‘fruitraceuticals’ as opposed to pharmaceuticals for cancer, and emphasize prevention vs. treatment. The magic elements of berries include calcium, folic and ellagic acids, fiber, and various phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants (phyto means "plant" in Greek).

My breakfast now consists of fresh fruit, preferably berries, (organic only – look for future posts on this), whole grain toast with almond butter and sometimes a pasture raised egg. If your mornings are hectic, make a smoothie with fresh fruit, organic coconut milk, frozen berries, spinach, fresh turmeric and ginger. No need to peel the turmeric and ginger and the amount I add is about the size of the tip of my thumb. If you like a thicker consistency for a “smoothie” bowl, I add ½ an avocado. I then top it with chopped walnuts and cacao nibs.

The Second B: Broccoli

So again your mother was right – you should eat your broccoli. The cabbage family, including cabbage, cauliflower, kale and broccoli, contain phytochemicals that are considered some of the most powerful prevention tools we have. The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates. Glucosinolates act "indirectly" to activate the body's detoxification systems.

Cruciferous vegetables provide numerous health benefits including:

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits

  • Antioxidant properties

  • Detoxification benefits

  • Cancer prevention

  • Cardiovascular support

  • Digestive support

To bring out the flavor and nutrients, I don’t steam my vegetables. I stir fry them with a bit of olive oil and garlic for two additional cancer preventing punches. They are delicious, crisp and flavorful prepared this way. Your kids may even like them.

Today’s tips are a bit of a chemistry lesson but so important. Berries and Broccoli, a definite winning prescription. Eating them will score you an A+ in health.


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