Tag Archives: cancer prevention

stats on cancer

Derail cancer, get this tested

What if there were one blood test that could tell you early on that your health was heading down the wrong path? Like a railway crossing signal, there are early warning signs that our body is in danger. The danger doesn’t happen quickly, but like the rails of a train, once it has started it has a predictable path towards an unwanted health destination. The warning sign is insulin resistance; the test is an insulin fasting blood test or Immunoreactive Insulin. People may know about the connection between insulin resistance and diabetes, but how many know about the connection to cancer?

Insulin Resistance and Cancer

Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into the cells for energy. Insulin resistance is a pathological condition where the muscles, liver and fat cells don’t respond to the insulin. The diminished response forces the pancreas to make extra amounts and increases circulating insulin. Society for Endocrinology’s review sheds light on the connection between insulin resistance and cancer. On a cellular level, insulin along with related insulin-like peptide receptor sites play a role in immune deregulation. These specific peptides impact normal cell proliferation, differentiation, metabolism and destruction and set up an environment more inviting for cancer development.

Insulin resistance is a harbinger not only for diabetes, but for cancer as well

Insulin Resistance in Children

Insulin resistance isn’t just for adults. In a retrospective study published December 2014 in the Jornal de Pediatria, 33% of 220 obese children between the ages 5-14 were found to have insulin resistance. These children had the hallmark of metabolic syndrome: high BMI, abdominal obesity, LDL and triglycerides, and low heart protective HDL. Not only are these children on their way to type 2 diabetes, but they are at much greater risk of getting cancer.

Take The Test

Insulin resistance can happen before high blood sugars or hyperglycemia develops. Anyone who is obese, has a family history of diabetes or is from one of these ethnic groups: African-American, Mexican, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or Asian American, should have their fasting insulin level assessed. Your insurance may or may not cover it, but it is very affordable if you want to have it checked.


I don’t think there is anything more scary than getting the diagnosis of cancer. The National Cancer Institute reports that US cancer death rates have declined since 1990, primarily due to a decline in smoking, but it is projected to rise with an aging population and a rise in obesity.

Obesity, a risk factor for cancer, is also increasing.

Insulin resistance is reversible. If you knew that you had it, and now know that it’s link to cancer, would it give you extra motivation to change your diet and move a little more? Habits are hard to change, but if you knew you were on the path for derailment, wouldn’t you want to jump off that train now?

Barbara is a certified diabetes educator, nurse and health coach. She has a passion for health education and inspiring a healthy lifestyle. If you like what she writes about, please like and share her posts on her facebook page.

Phytochemicals- How Food Choices Can Battle Cancer

Eat your colors!  We hear this often but do you know why?  Foods with more color tend to be packed with phytochemicals, special chemicals that help to protect our body against cancer.  Phytochemicals stimulate our immune system to recognize and eliminate abnormal cells that can become cancerous, discourage the development of cancer cells, and decrease the cancer causing inflammation discussed in a previous post.  Some are antioxidants that fight off the damage done by free radicals that lead to chronic diseases like arthritis, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and cancer.  Think of them as the street sweeper that goes around sweeping up broken glass, garbage, small twigs and sand that can puncture tires and make roads more dangerous for cars and bikes. There are thousands of phytochemicals but some are getting a lot more attention for their cancer prevention and health benefits.  For a

Important Phytochemicals

  • Carotenoids – such as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin.  They may inhibit cancer cell growth, boost the immune system and have oxidative properties.   They are found in red, orange and green fruits and veggies such as broccoli, carrots, cooked tomatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges and watermelon.
  • Flavonoids – such as anthocyanin and quercetin.  Research indicates they inhibit tumor growth and boost the immune system as well as help to produce enzymes that detoxify the body.  They are found in apples, citrus fruits, onions, some spices, soy products, coffee and tea.  For a recent USDA data base of flavonoid content of foods click here.
  • Insoles and Glucosinolates.   They help the body to get rid of carcinogens, limit the production of hormones that promote tumor growth and block carcinogens.   They are found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cauliflower.
  • Inositol.  They may retard cell growth and work as an antioxidant.  They are found in bran from corn, oats, rice, rye and wheat, nuts, and soy products.
  • Isoflavones – such as genistein.  Research suggests they limit tumor growth, block the production of hormones that help cancers to grow and work as an antioxidant.  They are found in soy (tofu, soy nuts, miso and other soy products)
  • Isothiocyanates.  They may detoxify carcinogens, act as an antioxidant and block tumor growth.  They are found in cruciferous veggies.
  • Polyphenols – such as resveratrol.   Research supports that they may prevent cancer formation, prevent inflammation and work as an antioxidant.  They are found in wine, grapes, green tea, berries, citrus fruits, whole grains and peanuts
  • Terpenes.  Research indicates that they protect cells from becoming cancerous, block tumor growth, boost the immune system, help fight viruses, block hormones that support tumor growth and act as an antioxidant.  They are found in cherries, citrus fruit peel and rosemary.

How To Begin Eating More Phytochemicals

  1. There are several foods that offer many phytochemicals.  Notice that broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, citrus fruits, soy products and green tea are listed several times.  Begin by adding more of these to your daily diet.
  2. Eat more soy by substituting your usual pasta with Shirataki noodles and substitute half your flour with soy flour (Bob’s Red Mill makes some).   Good sources are tofu, miso, soy nut butter, soy nuts, soy milk and soy hot dogs.  Soy is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates which can help with weight loss and the fullness factor.
  3. Eat fruits and veggies with different colors and strong flavors (great article about the breeding of nutrition out of our foods, written by Jo Robinson from the New York Times).
  4. Eat these foods rather than taking a supplement.

For more information go to AICR.

Try Different Recipes

Try the following to target many phytochemicals all at once!  Have with a cup of green tea and berries for dessert and your body will be well armed to protect itself!

Phyto Thai Delight


  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 small head broccoli cut up
  • 1 small chopped red pepper
  • 1 chopped large onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced 1″ long green cabbage
  • 1 pound firm tofu cubed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • rind from one grated orange
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 8 oz. Shirataki noodles or whole grain noodles

Cook the noodles as directed and set aside.  Add tofu, peanut oil, orange rind and veggies to well seasoned large cast iron pan and sauté until tofu is browned and veggies are al dente.  In separate bowl,  mix peanut butter, water, vinegar, soy sauce, molasses and cayenne pepper.  Add sauce to noodles and toss together.  Add veggie mixture and peanuts and mix all together.  Serves 4