- Question from frolic: I saw an article in the paper a few days ago that said that green tea may help prevent breast cancer. I don't like the taste of it—can I mix it with something else and still get the benefits?
- Answers - David Grotto Yes, in fact, in my own home I like to drink green tea quite a bit but I'm not a fan of cold green tea. So I make a pitcher of it, and use a sweetener called agave, which is the same plant they make tequila from. So do NOT substitute Tequila if you can't find agave! :-) I may add some cherry juice with the green tea, which is a wonderful anti-inflammatory but more importantly, I can get my daughters to drink the tea if it has cherry juice in it. A lot of natural food stores carry agave.
- Penny Block Or you can find it online—do a web search for agave.
- David Grotto Besides green tea, that's not necessarily the only game in town although it is rich in polyphenols, the antioxidants that can help fight cancer. But also white tea is rich in these as well, and has a nice mild taste, there's also red tea.
White tea may actually be higher in polyphenols. We also have a supplement that provides the equivalent of 42 cups of decaffeinated green tea, for some patients who may not like green tea. But it's hard to get that high concentration if you're just going to sip 42 cups of green tea!
The research is so impressive about the benefits of green tea, so this is a great example of food supplementation that may help augment the diet and provide other ways of getting it in.
- Judith Sachs There are people who live in small towns or areas where health food stores aren't abundant. How would they use their supermarket to get the healthiest food possible?
The old adage was shop the perimeter of the store. Grocery stores caught on, and changed the layout of their stores. Have a plan before you go to the store, whether you're trying to reduce risk of breast cancer or are undergoing treatment, or develop a remission strategy, we think there is an optimal dietary program.
So plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, more plant-based protein like beans and legumes. The USDA listed beans as having some of the highest antioxidants as compared with other foods. Good high-fat Omega-3 oil in fish is beneficial.
Those are the basic core, so if you have those on your list, it will take out some of the guesswork when you get to the store. Organic vs. non-organic—we feel organic is better if you can find and afford it. But if you can't find organic, don't forego eating fruits and vegetables or legumes. We feel the benefit of eating these foods far outweighs whether they are organic or not.
We talk often enough with our patients, some of whom have been frightened by foods that are not organic. So it's counterproductive, because they avoid the foods that may benefit them. You will lose a critical part of the diet program. Try making friends with someone in the supermarket, maybe the manager, or the buyer, who may help you find foods that are healthful.
There are many healthful foods in the supermarket—you can find whole grains, and uncooked beans. But you can also find beans that are prepared—they may be canned, but as long as there's no sugar in them and little salt, they're OK. There are vegetarian soups without additives. So there are things in a grocery store that can be part of a healthier diet and that's something the whole family can enjoy.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Buying Healthy Food and Drink featured Penny B. Block, M.A., David W. Grotto, R.D., L.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about finding, buying, and preparing the healthiest food and drink for people with breast cancer and their families.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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