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Hudson - Litchfield News 10 - July 15, 2011

New research suggests women looking to

prevent breast cancer after menopause may want to consider dietary changes, including adopting Mediterranean eating habits, to reduce their risk. According to information published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Greek post-menopausal women who rated highly in terms of researching scores in their consumption of foods that fit with a Mediterranean diet were 22 percent less likely to develop breast cancer during the study than others. Although the diet is not a cure-all for breast cancer, researchers estimate that if all women in their study population had closely adhered to a traditional Mediterranean diet, about 10 percent of the 127 postmenopausal breast can- cers in the group would have been avoided. It has long been believed that a Mediterranean diet has many positive effects on personal health.

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healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Mediterranean Diet May Help Fight Breast Cancer healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Although studies have only been conducted on breast cancer thus far, there is also hopeful evi- dence that the diet may reduce the risk for other cancers, including colon and stomach cancer, as well as reduce the chances for heart disease.

What Is a Mediterranean Diet? Nations in the Mediterranean region, includ- ing Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Spain, have histori- cally had lower rates of heart disease and some cancers, including breast cancer, compared with other European countries and the United States. Researchers believe there is a correlation between the foods Mediterranean people eat and the rates of cancer and other illnesses. A traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in seafood, heart-healthy fish, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil. It is relatively low in dairy and red meat products. According to the Mayo Clinic, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adopt a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet to prevent major chronic diseases. Those who want to follow a Mediterranean diet can consider the following guidelines. * Base every meal on the consumption of fruits,

vegetables, grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs, and spices.

* Consume fish and seafood often, at least two times per week. * Enjoy moderate portions of poultry, eggs,

cheese, and yogurt daily to weekly. * Reduce and limit consumption of meats and

sweets. Experts say that if the Mediterranean diet

does have a preventative nature toward breast cancer and other illnesses, it is likely due to the antioxidant components of the diet. The Medi- terranean diet is rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage that may lead to diseases. The diet also helps to promote a health body weight, which is instrumental in keeping the body in top form and helping

with immune system function. To get started on the path of healthy Mediterra- nean eating, enjoy this recipe for Eggplant Dip.

Eggplant Dip 1

2 1/4 medium eggplant

tablespoons lemon juice cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 1 1

2 1

1/4 1/4

tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste teaspoon salt

small red bell pepper, finely chopped

small chile pepper, such as jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional) tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.

Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14 to 18 minutes. Cool on a cutting board until ready to handle.

Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the egg- plant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with the lemon juice to help pre- vent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in yogurt, onion, bell pepper, chile pepper (if using), basil, parsley, cayenne and salt. If the eggplant has a lot of seeds it may be bitter. Add a dash of salt to sweeten the dip. Serve with whole-wheat crackers, wedges of toasted pita, or fresh vegetable slices.

Did You Know?

There has long been debate about the quality of the healthcare system in the United States versus other countries, including Canada and European nations. Some say the American system is better, while others think better care is received through a univer- sal or government-sponsored system. In terms of cancer diagnosis and survival, the U.S. may have the advantage. According to data published by the National Center for Policy Analysis, Americans have better survival rates for common cancers. Breast cancer mor-

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tality is 52 percent higher in Germany and 88 percent higher in the U.K. than in the U.S. Breast cancer mortality is also 9 percent higher in Canada than in the U.S. This could be because Ameri- can women have better access to preventive screening methods than Canadians and others. Eighty-nine percent of middle-aged American women have had a mammogram, compared to 72 percent of Canadians.

Possible Ways to Reduce Risks for Cataracts While doctors still don’t know what causes

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cataracts, there might be ways men and women concerned about their eyes can reduce their risk for cataracts. Though the following tips can’t guarantee a person won’t get cataracts, they might just help individuals reduce their risk. * Address existing medical conditions. Certain medical conditions increase a person’s risk of get- ting cataracts. These conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Men and women with diabetes should closely follow their treatment plan to reduce their risk of cataracts. Those who are obese or have high blood pressure should adopt a healthier lifestyle to lose weight and lower their blood pressure. * Get routine eye examinations. Routine eye examinations can help doctors find cataracts and additional visionary ailments at their earliest stages. Should any sudden changes, such as blurriness or double vision, occur, visit an eye doctor immedi- ately. * Maintain a healthy weight. As mentioned above, obesity is a risk for cataracts. But men and women who can maintain a healthy weight with daily ex- ercise and a healthy diet might reduce their risk for cataracts. * Adopt a healthy diet. A healthy diet will ensure people are getting enough vitamins and nutrients. Such a diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with antioxidants that may prevent damage to the eye’s lens. A healthy diet will also help men

and women maintain a healthy weight and can also help them successfully manage any preexisting conditions. * Wear sunglasses. Excessive exposure to sunlight can increase a person’s risk of cataracts. When go- ing outside during the daytime, wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet B rays.

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* Stop smoking. Smoking can lead to a slew of medi- cal ailments and can even be tied to cataracts. High blood pressure is a risk for cata- racts, and men and women who smoke should know that smoking has been linked to high blood pressure. By quitting smoking, individuals are reducing their risk for a host of ailments, including cataracts.

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