Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Fight Cancer’ Category

Tomato Soup: The Benefits You Didn’t Know About!

Hi friends!!!

My deepest apologies for a gap in communication, but recently there have been some sad events in my life – which combined with the weather, made me less productive. But we’re back on track! Right now I am foolishly looking at the Weather Channel app to see there will be arctic temps tonight and snow on Monday…….

  Damn you, Groundhog!

What could be better than some warming, nutritious soups to ease you through the last days of this interminable winter? Today I want to talk about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes. So to start, here are two fantastic, simple recipes for tomato soup:

1) http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP00226/Creamy-Tomato-Soup.html

2) http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2305847

Tomato is famously rich in LYCOPENE.  Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are the  substances that give vegetables their red, orange and yellow hues. Lycopene is not used by the body to make vitamin A, as many other carotenoids are, making it unique and safe.

Here are some good sources of lycopene:

½ cup canned tomato puree

27,192

1 cup canned tomato juice

21,960

1 wedge of raw watermelon

12,962

½ cup ready-to-serve marinara sauce

6,686

1 tablespoon canned tomato paste

3,140

1 tablespoon catsup

2,506

½ pink or red grapefruit

1,745

1 tablespoon salsa

1,682

One sun-dried tomato

918

One slice of raw tomato

515

Note how much more lycopene the sun-dried tomato has!

Lycopene is absorbed best when foods containing it are cooked, and also when a small amount of fat is eaten with the food, making these soups a perfect way to get your lycopene! I’d even add a little more good-quality olive oil than called for.

Some medical studies suggest that lycopene may be protective against certain cancers, such as lung, stomach, skin, cervix, possibly breast and particularly prostate. Some of the studies used a lycopene supplements while others were observational studies of persons with high lycopene diets. The studies using a supplement were less impressive than the ones refecting a high–lycopene diet such as the Mediterranean diet.

HAVE A HIGH CARDIOVASCULAR RISK?

A recent study in the journal Neurology shows that men with high lycopene levels have a lower stroke risk. (Hey, lets do a study on women, too!) Lycopene may also improve cholesterol profile. However, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL EXTRA BENEFIT FROM EATING WHOLE FOODS FOR NUTRIENTS. I think the other nutrients and micronutrients, fiber and more in real foods are an inextricable part of the good effects of nutrients like lycopene!

So eat REAL, WHOLE FOOD!

(WATCH: Jon Stewart’s take on snack foods)

All the best,

Dr. Nolfo

Smoking Cessation: The Science of Quitting

Happy New Year to Everyone!

We started off the year with a blizzard here in Connecticut……we’re never short of fun surprises in this state when it comes to weather!

As you may know from previous posts, I DO NOT believe you need to make resolutions on January 1st. You can make changes ANY TIME you are motivated! January 4th, August 18th, whenever! But to make changes in behavior, it helps to know what drives your behavior.

In this regard, I’d like to talk a little about SMOKING and why people become addicted to cigarettes.



On New Year’s day while watching the Honeymooners marathon, I saw some pretty depressing commercials about smoking in which actual patients allowed themselves to be filmed dying from end-stage smoking-related illness. It made me think about why so many people smoke in spite of the super well-known health dangers and social taboos connected with smoking!

It’s because your brain chemistry is altered by smoking, and your brain then compels you to keep smoking.

This is a true chemical addition, so the same tenets hold as for addiction to alcohol and drugs. This can even happen with food: Dr. Kelly Brownell at Yale did research showing that the same area of the brain lights up when a “carb craver” eats sweets as when an opiate addict uses drugs!



The main problem is that nicotine, along with other chemicals in cigarettes, cause release and delayed metabolism of the neurotransmitter DOPAMINE. Dopamine stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain. Once your brain senses a pleasure, it drives you to want it again. It says: “This is good, I want more!”

This same reward mechanism can have survival value: for example, it’s tied with sex and thereby assures we’ll procreate as a species!

Your brain starts to associate the pleasure of smoking with “people, places and things,” which become additional triggers.  For some people, the feel, smell, and sight of a cigarette and the usual rituals of obtaining, handling, lighting, and smoking the cigarette are all associated with the pleasurable effects of smoking.

Memory and habit have their own neural pathways that are reinforcers of the addiction problem. Places and times can have traditions of smoking built into them, like after sex, after meals, or driving home from a stressful day at work. These particular rituals, times, and places associated with the pleasurable effects of smoking can cause cravings and make withdrawal worse.

The brain further compels you with the negative force of withdrawal: Nicotine enters the blood in 10 seconds or so. After you finish a cigarette, within a short time you start to experience nicotine withdrawal. Your brain says: “This is really bad! This is hurting me! I want more nicotine!” and then compels you to smoke again.

On the conscious level, negative emotions can then kick in: You can beat yourself up for failing to quit.  It becomes hard to believe that you can be an ex-smoker. So, once you understand how the chemical addiction works, you can learn to outwit your brain and you can stop beating yourself up.

Remember: Most people have to try 4 or more times to quit.

Here is an awesome web site that breaks down quitting into manageable steps based on the science of addiction: http://www.becomeanex.org/.  Please pass it on to any friends who smoke!

Be good to yourself in the New Year!

Dr. Nolfo

RECIPE WEEK: OH MY CAULIFLOWER!!!

Image

Ok, PALEO PALS! Its RECIPE TIME!

In Connecticut we’re coming to the end of season for tomatoes and corn, but never fear, this is the best time for the fabulously healthy, cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetable family.  This week, we have five fabulous cauliflower recipes that serve as incredible substitutes for our favorite carb-heavy foods from rice to pizza. But before you start cookin’ up a storm, I want to share with you some valuable information about the health benefits of cruciferious vegetables. This is from my favorite site for information about eating to lower cancer risk:

Cruciferous Vegetables:

The four-petal flowers from these veggies resemble a cross or “crucifer,” hence the name. Broccoli is probably the best known cruciferous vegetable. Like Brussels sprouts, rapini, cabbage (green), cauliflower and turnips (white), it forms a “head.” Others – known as the “headless crucifers” – include dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens.

WHAT’S IN CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES?

Nearly all are excellent or good sources of vitamin C and some are good sources of manganese. Dark greens are high in vitamin K. Glucosinolates are compounds found in all cruciferous vegetables; Glucosinolates form isothiocyanates and indoles. Other nutrients and phytochemicals vary:

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and rapini are all excellent sources of folate, a B vitamin. Broccoli is a good source of potassium. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are good sources of dietary fiber and rich in magnesium. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and rapini contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Red cabbage and radishes supply anthocyanins. Other cruciferous vegetables provide different polyphenols, such as hydroxycinnamic acids, kaempferol and quercetin.

http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=19792&news_iv_ctrl=2303

Now for our “creative cauliflower culinary creations” from your Health Guru’s at Stony Creek Internal Medicine and Wellness:

 Cauliflower “Rice”

2 Tbsp olive oil   1 medium onion, diced

1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped

¼ tsp salt

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion to skillet and sauté till soft, about 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, place cauliflower in food processor with “S” blade and pulse until it’s the texture of rice. (Alternative: use a cheese grater to grate into rice-sized pieces.) When onions are ready, add cauliflower to skillet. Cook till soft, about 7 to 10 minutes, then season to taste with salt and serve. Use as a side dish, add to soups, any place you’d use rice.

Cauliflower Rice Variation #1, Curried “Rice”

After onion cooks 3 minutes, add 2 tsps of curry powder and a pinch of coriander. As it’s cooking if the onion mixture becomes too dry, add vegetable broth 1 Tbsp at a time until the onion is finished cooking. Add cauliflower as above. After 5 minutes, add ½ cup frozen peas, cover and cook 5 minutes more, till peas are done.

 Cauliflower Rice Variation #2 Mexican “Rice”

After onion cooks 3 minutes, add 2 tsps of chili powder and a pinch of cumin. As it’s cooking, if it becomes to dry, add a Tbsp of water or vegetable broth. When cauliflower is done, stir in 2 Tbsp or more of salsa or taco sauce and heat through. You can also add ½ cup of beans for protein.

Cauliflower Rice Variations:

Now be creative. Add cooked turkey sausage (seitan or tempeh for vegetarians). Add other sautéed vegetables.

 Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” 

1 medium head cauliflower

2 cloves garlic, peeled, ends trimmed

Chicken broth, vegetable broth or half and half mixture, salted to taste

Put cauliflower in a pot deep enough for cauliflower to fill no more than half way. Add water/broth to cover. Boil till soft to a fork, around 10 minutes. Drain COMPLETELY in a colander. Return to pot. Use a stick blender to puree thoroughly. Enjoy!

 Cauliflower Pizza Crust Basic Recipe

       (I double the recipe)

    Riced cauliflower (approx. 2 cups)

1 egg

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup grated cheese  (or few tablespooons nutritional yeast)

Directions:

1) Microwave cauliflower for 8 minutes

2) Strain the water

(you can wring out the riced cauliflower in a dish towel after it cools)

3) Mix all ingredients together.

4) Preheat a cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven

5) While the cookie sheet is preheating, press the cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper, so it will fit roughly the size of the cookie sheet. When cookie sheet is hot, transfer the parchment paper to the cookie sheet carefully

6) Cook for approx. 15 minutes or until crust is golden.

7) Put toppings on the crust, and bake until toppings are cooked (you can put under broiler briefly)

I would love any feedback, suggestions, add-ons or stories about how these recipes worked out for you! Drop us a line and let us know how we’re doing!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dr. Nolfo

%d bloggers like this: