Healthy eating may help women reduce their risk of breast cancer recurrence

October 12, 2012 

I had a wonderfully informative chat recently with registered dietitians Vanessa Bassi and Beth Bussey at the John B. Amos Cancer Center, where Beth counsels patients undergoing cancer treatments and cancer survivors.

Current research is showing that survivors can reduce their risks of recurrence by eating diets rich in plant-based foods and whole grains and limiting fatty meats and processed snacks.

Today she shares her tasty and healthy breakfast mix with us. It's sure to get your day off to a healthy start. Thanks, Beth!

Beth's Breakfast Mix

1/2 cup 100 percent bran cereal (see note)

2 tablespoons dry oatmeal, old fashioned

2 tablespoons wheat germ (Kretschmer's original toasted)

1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon milled flaxseed (Hodgson Mill)

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Start with 1/2 cup and gradually increase to 1 cup mix per day.

Note: Beth suggests Kellogg's All-Bran, General Mills Fiber One, Nabisco 100 percent Bran). 100 percent bran cereals will generally have more than 10 grams of fiber per serving.

Beth's suggestions: Try adding this mix to plain Greek yogurt or low-fat or fat-free yogurt.

She also suggests eating the mix with fresh strawberries, kiwi, peaches and frozen unsweetened fruits such as blueberries.

The following recipes are courtesy of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate contains the phenolic compounds gallic acid and epicatechin, which are important antioxidants for cancer prevention. Cornell researchers have found that cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup non-dairy milk, such as soymilk or rice milk

2 packages (12.3 ounces each) low-fat silken tofu

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ready-made graham cracker pie crust (optional)

10 strawberries, sliced

10 mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Place chocolate chips and non-dairy milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Let sit for 2 minutes.

Place tofu, vanilla, and chocolate chip/non-dairy milk mixture in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Transfer into a graham cracker pie crust, if using, or small individual serving dishes and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in the freezer. Serve topped with strawberries and garnished with mint, if using.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Chocolate Mousse will keep for up to 3 days.

Per serving: 125 calories, 6 grams fat, 3.1 grams saturated fat, 43.5 percent calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 14.1 g carbohydrate, 10.5 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber, 75 mg sodium, 63 mg calcium, 1.4 mg iron, 7.2 mg vitamin C, 7 mcg beta-carotene, 0.5 mg vitamin E.

Penne with Kale, Tomatoes and Olives

The kale in this flavorful combination provides highly absorbable calcium and isothiocyanates which have strong anti-cancer effects.

Makes 4 servings

1 medium onion, diced

1/4 cup vegetable broth or water

1 bunch kale, cut or torn into approximately 1" pieces (about 5 cups chopped)

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chopped, preferably fire-roasted, tomatoes, undrained, or 3 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes plus 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta

1/4 cup dairy-free (vegan) parmesan cheese substitute or nutritional yeast (optional)

Sauté onion with vegetable broth or water over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add kale and tomatoes and their liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add olives and parsley. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Add kale mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately. Sprinkle vegan parmesan substitute or nutritional yeast over top, if using.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Penne with Kale, Tomatoes, and Olives will keep for up to 3 days.

Nutrition per serving:

281 calories

3.3 g fat

0.5 g saturated fat

10.5% calories from fat

0 mg cholesterol

12 g protein

57.6 g carbohydrate

8.3 g sugar

8.7 g fiber

497 mg sodium

166 mg calcium

5 mg iron

53.9 mg vitamin C

6796 mcg beta-carotene

2.9 mg vitamin E

Berry Applesauce

Something sweet for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. Serve this applesauce hot or cold. Berries give this applesauce a deep red or purple color and add a hefty dose of anthocyanins--potent cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Makes 4 servings

2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples

2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries

1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over very low heat for about 25 minutes, or until apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Mash lightly with a potato masher or purée in a food processor, if desired.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Berry Applesauce will keep for up to 3 days.

Nutrition per 1/2-cup serving:

Calories: 108

Fat: 0.4 g

Saturated Fat: 0 g

Calories from Fat: 3.5%

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Protein: 0.8 g

Carbohydrates: 26.9 g

Sugar: 20.1 g

Fiber: 2.7 g

Sodium: 11 mg

Calcium: 29 mg

Iron: 0.9 mg

Vitamin C: 49.2 mg

Beta Carotene: 13 mcg

Vitamin E: 0.4 mg

Easy Bean Salad

The simplicity and widespread enjoyment of this salad have made it a Cancer Project classic. Plus, it has tons of fiber to help move carcinogens, and excess cholesterol and hormones out of your body to improve overall health.

Makes about 10 cups (10 servings)

1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free Italian salad dressing

1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans

1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked pinto beans

1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked peas

1 10-ounce package frozen lima beans (preferably fordhook lima beans), thawed completely, 1 1/2 cups cooked lima beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked green soybeans (shelled edamame)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed completely, or cooked fresh corn, chilled

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Toss all ingredients together. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Easy Bean Salad will keep for up to 3 days.

Per serving:

183 calories

3 g fat

0.5 g saturated fat

14.6% calories from fat

0 mg cholesterol

9.9 g protein

31 g carbohydrate

2.9 g sugar

8 g fiber

539 mg sodium

43 mg calcium

2.7 mg iron

36.7 mg vitamin C

311 mcg beta-carotene

0.8 mg vitamin E

Hot or Cold Beet Salad

The pigment that gives beets their rich crimson color and makes this salad so gorgeous is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent in the anthocyanin family.

Makes about 3 cups (3 servings)

3 medium beets

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon apple juice concentrate

1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Wash and peel beets. Cut each beet in half, and each half into four wedges. To prevent staining your countertop, place a dark-colored towel or paper towels under your cutting board. Steam over boiling water until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.

Mix lemon juice, vinegar, apple juice concentrate, mustard, and dill in a serving bowl. Add beets and toss to mix. Serve hot or cold.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Hot or Cold Beet Salad will keep for up to 3 days.

Per serving:

36 calories

0.2 g fat

0 g saturated fat

4.9% calories from fat

0 mg cholesterol

1 g protein

8.4 g carbohydrate

7 g sugar

1.1 g fiber

61 mg sodium

15 mg calcium

0.6 mg iron

4 mg vitamin C

21 mcg beta-carotene

0.1 mg vitamin E

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