Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy

Non-Traditional Approaches to
the Theories, Treatments and Prevention of Cancer

Banana

May 29, 2012

Filed under: Foods of the Week, What's New? — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 6:43 am

Bananas were cultivated in India 4,000 years ago. In 1482, the Portuguese found the banana on the Guinea coast and carried it with them to the Canary Islands. Spanish priests are credited with having introduced this fruit to tropical America when they arrived as missionaries in the sixteenth century. Now, the banana can be found in all tropical countries.

The first known species of banana is the plaintain. or cooking banana. The plantain has a salmon-colored and gummy texture, and a slightly acid taste. This fruit has been a substitute for bread or potatoes in many countries, and is slowly being introduced to the United States.

Bananas are usually harvested green, shipped green, and ripened by wholesale fruit jobbers in air-conditioned ripening rooms. The Gros Michel variety is the most popular of the many varieties. It produces the largest and most compact bunch, which makes it easier to ship. The thick skin of the banana protects the soft fruit.

Other popular varieties of banana are the Claret, or red banana, which has a gummy flesh; the Lady Finger, which is the smallest variety, but has a delicate, sweet flavor; and the Apple, which has an acid flavor and tastes somewhat like a mellow apple.

In the tropics, bananas are often cooked and served with beans, rice, or tortillas. In the Latin American countries, the ripe banana is sometimes dried in the sun in much the same manner as figs and raisins. They arc often sliced when ripe and left in the sun until they are covered with a coating of white, sugary powder that arises from their own juices.

The banana has no particular growing season. A ripe banana is firm, with a plump texture, strong peel, and no trace of green on the skin. A skin that is flecked with brown means the fruit is good.

Fully ripe bananas are composed of 76 percent water, 20 percent sugar, and 12 percent starch.

THERAPEUTIC VALUE

The sugars in the banana are readily assimilated, and they contain many vitamins and minerals, and a great deal of fiber. They are excellent for young children and infants and are good in reducing diets because they satisfy the appetite and are low in fat.

Because they are so soft, they are good for persons who have intestinal disturbances, and for convalescents. Bananas feed the natural acidophilus bacteria of the bowel, and their high potassium content benefits the muscular system.

NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND (edible portion)

Calories: 299

Protein: 3.6 g

Fat: 0.6 g

Carbohydrates: 69.9 g

Calcium: 24 mg

Phosphorus: 85 mg

Iron: 1.8 mg

Vitamin A: 1,300 I.U.

Thiamine: 0.27 mg

Riboflavin: 0.19 mg

Niacin: 1.7 mg

Ascorbic acid: 29 mg

Spice of the Month: Vanilla

May 22, 2012

Filed under: Spice of the Month — ggrieser @ 6:59 pm

Vanilla (Vanilla fragrans) gets its name from Spanish vainilla meaning “little pod” because it comes from the thin, seed-containing pods of an edible tropical orchid plant. Possessing one of the world’s most enticing flavors, it is the world’s next most expensive spice after saffron and cardamom. It is also among the most popular – 10,000 tons a year – not enough to satisfy demand, which is why imitation vanilla has become a market necessity, though lacking the potency of the real stuff.

The orchid is a very sensuous flower and has an ancient reputation for enhancing romance. Hence, vanilla was often recommended as a tonic for virility, fertility and for aromatizing perfume, cigars and liqueurs. Native to Mexico, the Aztecs treated it as a medicinal charm, prescribed for hysteria and depression (so-called “women’s troubles”), as well as for patients coughing up blood. In 18th century Europe it was popular as a nerve stimulant. 19th Century American medical texts praised its powers to “exhilarate the brain,…increase muscular energy, and stimulate the sexual energies.”

Today, especially in the last two decades, vanilla has been the subject of much scientific investigation because its seeds contain over 200 phytonutrients – bioactive plant compounds which have healing potential for many conditions. Its most studied main constituent, vanillin, which produces the mellow fragrance, has shown promise in cancer and sickle cell anemia. True to its ancient heritage, the spice also has proven aphrodisiac ability – in treating impotency, frigidity, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido – and is valued as an anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory and for its general relaxing and calming effect on the brain and nerves, relieving anxiety and anger.

Buying and Storage

Vanilla is sold in two forms: dried whole bean and extract. The bean has the better flavor, but quality varies depending on origin. French or bourbon vanilla is generally considered the best with the strongest aroma and most vanillin. This is the type found most in the U.S. Mexican vanilla, though full-bodied, lacks the depth of French and Indonesian and has a spotty reputation quality-wise. West Indian vanilla has low vanillin content and is not considered suitable as a culinary spice; it’s mainly used in cosmetics.

Beans are usually sold in cylindrical tubes. Look for dark brown (almost) black beans, moist to the touch and pliable, like a piece of licorice. Top quality beans may have a dusting of sugar powder, called givre, on the surface.

As for extract, buy pure (or natural) vanilla extract. Beans are chopped, soaked in alcohol, aged and strained. Alcoholic content affects quality: the higher the % alcohol, the stronger flavor (minimum by law 35%). (Note: It’s quite easy to make your own and less expensive; see recipe.)

Store beans or commercial extract in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Both keep for about 18 months. Homemade extract lasts longer.

Medicinal Properties

Cancer: Numerous studies have demonstrated that vanillin, the major component of vanilla, has anti-carcinogenic properties, killing human cancer cells, limiting metastasis (movement of cancer cells from the original site to the rest of the body), inhibiting angiogenesis (creation of new blood supply for tumor). Bromovanin, a vanillin derivative, has been found to stop the advance of a broad spectrum of human cancers. Research at New York University School of Medicine concluded that vanillin is antimutagenic – in human cells it reduced by up to 73% the ability of toxins to mutate DNA in 64 genes that may play a role in cancer.

Sickle Cell Anemia: This inherited, incurable condition warps the round, flexible shape of oxygen-carrying red blood cells into rigid, sticky “sickles,” slices of cells like crescent moons. Misshapen cells snag and stall in the bloodstream, choking blood and oxygen flow, producing pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of the disease. In studies at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a vanillin-derived drug on mice with the disease “significantly reduced” the % of sickled cells. Human studies are in the works.

Aphrodisiac: Since the time of the Aztecs, vanilla has been considered an aphrodisiac, now confirmed by science. A systematic administration of vanilla essential oil to patients with impotency, erectile dysfunction, frigidity, loss of libido, etc., has been proven to relieve these conditions. This oil stimulates secretion of certain hormones like testosterone, estrogen, etc., which can help bring about normal sexual behavior, as well as promote arousal. The oil has also been shown to regularize menstruation by activating certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

Anti-depressant: Vanilla essential oil with its soft, rich aroma is an effective mood up-lifter. Perhaps this is why “plain” vanilla ice cream is the most universally popular flavor!

Sedative: The essential oil of vanilla soothes all types of inflammations and hyperactivity in body systems, particularly the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous and eliminations systems.These relaxant properties can alleviate insomnia, as well as lower blood pressure. In general, the oil has a calming effect on the brain and nerves, giving relief from convulsions, anxiety, stress, anger, hypersensitivity, restlessness, etc.

In the Kitchen

In Europe and the U.S., vanilla is traditionally found in sweet dishes, though vanilla itself is not sweet. It’s gentle, full-bodied fragrance enhances puddings, cakes, custards, creams, soufflés, ice cream, even liqueurs like Crème de Cacao and Galliano. In Africa and other tropical countries, however, it’s used more in savory stews than sweet treats. Western chefs are just beginning to catch on, adding vanilla to sauces, mostly for fish.

If possible, use fresh beans instead of extract, though both can be used in cooking. To prepare the bean, slit the pod and scrape out the seeds; both pod and seeds can be added. Here are a few different ways of cooking with vanilla:

  • The spice is exceptional with lobster, shrimp, scallops. Make a cream sauce and spike with vanilla beans.
  • Vanilla marries well with butter. Add a little to butter sauces for savory dishes featuring fish or chicken.
  • Use vanilla to round out stronger flavors in salsa, chutney, curries.
  • Steep a vanilla bean in coffee, cover and chill. Serve with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.
  • Add vanilla to fruit compotes with apples, gooseberries, rhubarb.
  • Add a drop or 2 of vanilla extract to holiday eggnog or when whipping fresh cream.

So don’t be fooled by the common appellation, i.e., put down, “plain vanilla.” Clearly, there’s something special going on or the spice wouldn’t be in such demand. Other flavors come and go; they can only dream about having the universal staying power of vanilla!

Sources:
Encyclopedia of Spices
Healing Spices by Bharat Aggarwal, PhD (Sterling Publishing)
Organic Facts

Apricot

May 21, 2012

Filed under: Foods of the Week, What's New? — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 5:33 am

The apricot is said to have originated in China. It spread from there to other parts of Asia, then to Greece and Italy. As early as 1562 there is mention of the apricot in England in Turner’s Herbal.

It is recorded that the apricot grew in abundance in Virginia in the year 1720. In 1792 Vancouver, the explorer, found a fine fruit orchard that included apricots at Santa Clara, California. The fruit was probably brought to California by the Mission Fathers in the eighteenth century.

The apricot is a summer fruit, and is grown in the Western United States. California produces 97 percent of the commercial apricot crop. Only about 21 percent of the apricots produced commercially are sold fresh; the remainder are canned, dried, or frozen.

Tree-ripened apricots have the best flavor, but tree-ripened fruit is rarely available in stores, even those close to the orchard. The next best thing to a well-matured apricot is one that is orange-yellow in color, and plump and juicy. Immature apricots never attain the right sweetness or flavor. There are far too many immature apricots on the market. They are greenish-yellow, the flesh is firm, and they taste sour. Avoid green and shriveled apricots.

THERAPEUTIC VALUE

Apricots may be eaten raw in a soft diet. Ripe apricots are especially good for very young children and for older people. This fruit is quite laxative, and rates high in alkalinity. Apricots also contain cobalt, which is necessary in the treatment of anemic conditions.

Apricots may be pureed for children who are just beginning to eat solid foods. Apricot whip for dessert is wonderful, and apricots and cream may be used in as many ways as possible. They make good afternoon and evening snacks.

Dried apricots have six times as much sugar content as the fresh fruit. Therefore, persons with diabetic conditions must be careful not to eat too much dried apricot. Because of its sugar content, however, it is good when we need an energy boost.

Dried fruits should be put in cold water and brought to a boil the night before, or permitted to soak all night, before eating. Bringing the water to a boil kills any germ life that may be on the fruit. Sweeten only with honey, maple syrup, or natural sugars.

NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND

Calories: 241

Protein: 4.3 g

Fat: 0.4 g

Carbohydrates: 55.1 g

Calcium: 68 mg

Phosphorus: 98 mg

Iron: 2.1 mg

Vitamin A: 11,930 I.U.

Thiamine: 0.13 mg

Riboflavin: 0.17 mg

Niacin: 3.2 mg

Ascorbic acid: 42 mg

Radish

May 14, 2012

Filed under: What's New? — admin @ 5:30 am

The radish is a member of the mustard family, but is also related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and turnips. After this vegetable was introduced into Middle Asia from China in prehistoric times, many forms of the plant were developed. Radishes are a cool season crop, and the peak period is April through July. The American varieties can be used for both roots and tops in salads, and cooked.

A good-quality radish is well-formed, smooth, firm, tender, and crisp, with a mild flavor. The condition of the leaves does not always indicate quality, for they may be fresh, bright, and green, while the radishes may be spongy and strong, or the leaves may be wilted and damaged in handling, while the radishes themselves may be fresh and not at all pithy. Old, slow-growing radishes are usually strong in flavor, with a woody flesh. Slight finger pressure will disclose sponginess or pithiness.

THERAPEUTIC VALUE

Radishes are strongly diuretic and stimulate the appetite and digestion. The juice of raw radishes is helpful in catarrhal conditions. The mustard oil content of the radish makes it good for expelling gallstones from the bladder.

A good cocktail can be made with radishes. This cocktail will eliminate catarrhal congestion in the body, especially in the sinuses. It will also aid in cleansing the gall bladder and liver. To make this cocktail, combine one-third cucumber juice, one-third radish juice, and one-third green pepper juice. If desired, apple juice may be added to make this more palatable. An excellent cocktail for nervous disorders is made from radish juice, prune juice, and rice polishings. This drink is high in vitamin B and aids in the flow of bile.

NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND

Calories: 49

Protein: 2.9g

Fat: .3g

Carbohydrates: 10.3g

Calcium: 86mg

Phosphorus: 89mg

Iron: 2.9mg

Vitamin A: 30 I.U.

Thiamine: .09mg

Riboflavin: .09mg

Niacin: .9mg

Ascorbic Acid: 74mg

Lime

May 7, 2012

Filed under: Foods of the Week, What's New? — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 4:54 am

The lime is native to southeastern Asia and has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is believed that the Arabs brought them from India during the period of Mohammedan expansion in A.D. 570-900. From the earliest days of British sailing vessels, British sailors were given a regular ration of lime juice to prevent scurvy at sea, resulting in the nickname “limey” for British sailors.

Limes have been grown in California and Florida since the early days of the citrus industry. After the great freeze in Florida in 1894-95, when the lemon industry was almost totally destroyed, California began growing virtually all the lemons in the United States. At this time Florida’s lime industry expanded, and now Florida grows most of the limes used in this country. California is second in production, and Mexico is a close third. Limes grow all year. Florida produces them from April to April, and California from October throughout the year. The main season for imports is May through August.

Limes that are green in color and heavy for their size are the most desirable commercially, because of their extreme acidity. The full, ripe, yellow lime does not have a high acid content. If the lime is kept until fully ripe it may be used in the very same way the lemon is used, and to fortify other foods with vitamin C. Like lemons, limes are very high in vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin B1, and are rich in potassium. They spoil easily, and limes with a dry, leathery skin or soft, moldy areas should be avoided. Store limes in a cool, dry place.

Limes contain 5 to 6 percent citric acid, and are too acid to drink without sweetening. Their natural flavor is enhanced when combined with other juices. Limes make a delicious dressing for fish, and, when added to melons, bring out the natural flavor of the melon. A few drops of lime juice added to consommé, or jellied soups, give a particular zest to the flavor. Subacid fruits, such as apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, and apricots, go best with limes.

THERAPEUTIC VALUE

Limes are good for the relief of arthritis because they have such a high vitamin C content. They are especially good for anyone with acidemia, because they are one of the most alkalinizing foods. A drink of lime juice and whey is a wonderful cooler for the brain and nervous system. Limes can be used to treat brain fever, or someone who is mentally ill. They are good for a brain with a great deal of hot blood in it, which usually shows itself in anger, hatred, or other brain disturbances. Limes make a wonderful sedative for those suffering from these afflictions.

NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND (without rinds or seeds)

Calories: 107

Protein: 2.8g

Fat: .8g

Carbohydrates: 42.4g

Calcium: 126mg

Phosphorus: 69mg

Iron: 2.3mg

Vitamin A: 50 I.U.

Thiamine: .1mg

Riboflavin: .08mg

Niacin: .7mg

Ascorbic Acid: 94mg

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