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Healthy food aids cancer prevention

October 31, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor ( , The Herald-Star

Breast cancer screening has been shown to reduce breast cancer mortality, according to Patti Sabo, Harrison County American Cancer Society Volunteer Community Council unit president.

October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ends today but the awareness should continue 12 months a year. In the United States, death rates from breast cancer in women have been declining since 1990 due in part to early detection by mammography screening and improvements in treatment. The ACS guidelines recommend that women 40 or older receive a mammography screening annually, Sabo noted.

Along with the screening, a bit of dietary prevention couldn't hurt. The Women and Breast Health book gives 10 guidelines for a healthy lifestyle.

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CHOW DOWN — Eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily is one of the guidelines for a healthy lifestyle in the Women and Breast Health book provided by Form Systems of Wintersville in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which ends today.
-- Esther McCoy

-- Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, choose whole grains and cut down on red meat. Consider reducing fat in the diet as well, especially saturated fat.

-- Maintain a healthy weight.

-- Get plenty of exercise, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. Walking is a great all-around activity.

-- Limit alcohol.

-- Decide carefully before starting or continuing hormone replacement therapy. Long-term use may increase breast cancer risk.

-- Learn about medical conditions that you may have or be at risk for developing.

-- Schedule health checkups on time.

-- Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke. If you smoke, quit today.

-- Practice stress management. Your emotions can affect your physical health.

-- Get enough sleep each night. Sleep helps to recharge the immune system and give needed energy each day.


People who bypass produce miss out on potential protection against certain cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, fruits and vegetables are famed for offering fiber as well as a host of vitamins and minerals, including folate and vitamins A and C. But more than three-quarters, 78 percent, of Americans don't meet dietary recommendations for folate and nearly half don't meet recommendations for vitamin A, 48 percent, or vitamin C, 46 percent.

A veggie-rich taco can be made by making a 95-percent lean ground beef meat filling and topping the whole grain tortilla and filling with lowfat cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, cilantro, romaine lettuce, diced red and yellow peppers and avocado. This provides eight nutrients and an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A, according to Power for Your Plate.


Here is a recipe from Power for Your Plate to take away the extra calories of a bun by using lettuce wraps.

Oriental Express Beef Lettuce Wraps

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 95 percent lean

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup Asian peanut sauce

1 medium cucumber, seeded, chopped

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup torn, fresh mint leaves

Salt and pepper

12 large Boston lettuce leaves, about two heads, or iceberg or romaine lettuce

Brown ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is not pink, breaking up into small crumbles. Pour off drippings. Stir in hoisin sauce and peanut sauce; heat through.

Just before serving, add cucumber, carrots and torn mint; toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Serve beef mixture in lettuce leaves. Makes four servings. This is 360 calories, 35 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate and 13 grams fat.


If you like the overstuffed, baked potatoes here is a recipe from Laughing Cow Light Cheese. This makes only one serving. If you want more, multiply by that number.

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Potato

10-ounce russet potato

2 ounces cooked and shredded, or finely chopped, skinless chicken breast

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Dash each salt and black pepper

Dash garlic powder

2 tablespoons shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon fat-free sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Pierce potato several times with a fork. On a microwave-safe plate, microwave for 3 1/2 minutes. Flip potato and microwave for 3 1/2 minutes more, or until soft. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, toss chicken with barbecue sauce. Microwave for 1 minute or until warm. Stir in cilantro. Slice off a 2-inch wide strip of potato skin, lengthwise, from the top of the potato. Scoop out the insides, transfer to a medium bowl and break up with a fork. Discard half of the potato pulp, or reserve for another use. To the remaining pulp in the bowl, add salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix well. Scoop seasoned pulp into the hollowed-out potato. Evenly top with chicken mixture and sprinkle with cheese. On the microwave-safe plate, microwave for 1 minute or until entire potato is hot and cheese has melted. Top with sour cream and scallions. This is 310 calories, with 1.5 grams fat, 10.5 grams sugars and 24 grams protein.

Note: The chicken can be tossed with Frank's Red Hot Sauce in place of barbecue sauce and use a little blue cheese instead of cheddar for a Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potato.


This is a dessert that counts as a fruit and tastes almost as good as an apple pie.

Cherry Baked Apple

1 medium Rome apple

2 maraschino cherries

1/2 cup diet cherry-vanilla cream soda, if you can find this. If not use cherry soda.

Half of a no-calorie sweetener packet

Dash cinnamon

Core apple. Place in a deep, medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Place cherries in the cored center of the apple. Pour soda over the apple and sprinkle with sweetener and cinnamon. Cover and microwave for 4 minutes or until tender. This is 115 calories, with 0.5 fat grams, 31 grams carbs, 4.5 grams fiber and 22.5 grams sugars.

Note: A pear can be used with diet black cherry soda. The apple can be stuffed with raisins instead of cherries and diet cream soda can be used with pumpkin pie spice.


This dip is a great way to get kids and adults to eat healthy veggies. It can be used as a sandwich spread, too.

White Bean and

Cauliflower Dip

Medium head cauliflower cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Salt and ground pepper

15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup hot water

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a jelly roll baking sheet, toss cauliflower and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until cauliflower is tender and browned, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove peel from garlic. In a food processor, combine cauliflower, garlic, beans, 1 tablespoon olive oil, zest and juice. Process until smooth. Season to taste. To store, refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve drizzled with olive oil.

This is 110 calories per 1/4 cup, with 6 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fiber and 12 grams carbs. Use with a baked chip or a low-fat whole wheat cracker.

(McCoy can be contacted at

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