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April 12
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
Garces statue


Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Mar 20, 2016

DianneErskineHellrigel“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

– Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine

Your mother told you to eat your broccoli, remember? She might not have known it, but broccoli is one of Mother Nature’s cancer-fighting foods.

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. This group of vegetables includes not only broccoli, but also cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards and mustard greens. They contain antioxidants that have been shown time and time again to reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidant that helps to prevent cancer is called glucoraphanin.

broccoliYour mother was correct. Eat your broccoli. Broccoli is a nutritional wonder. It contains a high amount of potassium, which will also maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function. Studying for a test? Eat your broccoli. In addition, it helps to regulate your blood pressure, fights those free radicals, helps to prevent osteoporosis and helps to repair sun damage on your skin. Last but not least, it helps prevent macular degeneration, and it just might fight heart disease.

leafygreensDark, leafy greens such as kale, collards, Swiss chard and spinach contain lutein and beta carotene. You will find these two members of the carotenoid family in carrots, as well. It’s what gives the carrot that orange coloring.

These carotenoids have been shown to prevent breast cancer. Eat as many of these leafy greens as you can. They are nutritional powerhouses. Calorie for calorie, these are probably the most concentrated sources of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. They are also loaded with vitamins K, C, E, and many B vitamins.

greenteaGreen tea is the healthiest drink on the planet. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants and nutrients. They are called polyphenols. They can help prevent breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer.

Green tea can also improve brain function, increase fat loss, and much more. The antioxidants, or polyphenols, can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals play a role in developing cancer, aging and many diseases. Drinking green tea might lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of these neurodegenerative disorders.

tomatoTomatoes contain the potent antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene provides protection against prostate, breast, lung and stomach cancers. Tomato paste, sauce, canned tomatoes, tomato soup, spaghetti sauce and other condensed and cooked tomatoes will contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. So now you can feel great about eating that occasional spaghetti. Not a tomato fan? Watermelon, guavas, pink grapefruit, blood oranges and apricots also contain lycopene.

Most of you reading this probably already love tomatoes, but when you find out that they are high in antioxidants, are known to improve cardiovascular health and bone health, are rich in potassium, are anti-inflammatory, help prevent macular degeneration, and may help regulate blood sugar, you might want to add even more to your diet.

redwineRed wine has been found to contain antioxidants. And that is lucky for you. The antioxidant is called resveratrol. It has been shown to help prevent prostate, skin and breast cancer. Women should consume only one 5-ounce glass per day, and men can enjoy two 5-ounce glasses per day.

If you drink too much alcohol, your risk of cancer can go up. Stick with one or two glasses of red wine, and be happy. Red wine is good for your heart, can help prevent damage responsible for the process of aging, and can help prevent tooth decay. I can see you running for the wine cellar now…

nutsNuts of almost all kinds contain Vitamin E, which is believed to help prevent many types of cancer. Olive oil, safflower oil, corn and soybean oil also contain Vitamin E. You might consider supplementing your diet with Vitamin E oil. However, Vitamin E ingested directly from the source is the best way to do it.

The best sources of Vitamin E are almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios. Nuts are also linked to lower cholesterol, better heart health and weight control. Nuts fight inflammation, contain fiber to keep your colon cleaned out, and contain zinc, magnesium and iron.

Pecans, one of the most antioxidant-rich nuts, might help prevent the formation of plaque in your arteries. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, which might prevent bone, prostate and breast cancer.

garlicGarlic is a miracle food. It is thought to prevent stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreas, skin, lung and breast cancer. The components in garlic are formed when the fresh garlic cloves are crushed or chopped. Garlic contains manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, selenium, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and Vitamin B1.

citrusIn addition to these benefits, garlic is known to boost the immune system and help with illnesses such as the common cold. Studies have shown that eating fresh garlic can reduce the length of the common cold from 5 to 1.5 days. It is also effective for the flu. Garlic can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, improve bone health, and it just might help you live longer. But you might not get as many kisses as you do now.

Citrus fruit such as lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges contain Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage that leads to cancer. Strawberries, kiwi fruit, potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers also contain Vitamin C. Citrus fruits can also help you fight weight gain. They can lower your risk of stroke, prevent scurvy, reduce stress and help you maintain better eyesight.

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Linda says:

    Along with these foods, eliminate sugar to help prevent cancer.

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