Monday, December 21, 2009

Mushrooms & Green Tea are associated with lower breast cancer risk in a Chinese study

A study in the International Journal of Cancer, March 15, 2009, looked at 1009 women in China newly diagnosed with breast cancer and compared them with 1009 healthy age-matched women. The researchers – from the University of Perth in Australia - adjusted for known risk factors for breast cancer, such as smoking, passive smoke exposure or close relatives with breast cancer. Working with detailed registers of the women’s consumption of 100 different foods, they found that women who consumed (on the average) more than 10 grams (.353 ounces) of fresh mushrooms a day had 64% less risk of developing breast cancer that those who did not eat mushrooms. The effect was dose dependent – the more mushrooms women reported eating, the lower their risk. Moreover, intake of fresh or dried mushrooms plus green tea had an additive, dose dependent effect on risk. Those who consumed the most green tea plus fresh mushrooms lowered their risk of breast cancer by 89%. All types of mushrooms consumed by the women in this study were counted.; the most common types were white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) and fragrant dried mushrooms (Lentinula edodes). The author of this study, Dr. Min Zhang, noted that the rate of breast cancer in China is 4-5 times lower that that in developed countries. She speculated that the Chinese diet, high in green tea and mushrooms, might play a role. Rates of breast cancer are currently rising in the more affluent parts of China. Researchers have suggested that the adoption of a more western diet may be a causative factor.

So – if you are looking for a way to counteract the western diet of cookies and egg-nog in the next few weeks – here is the famous list of

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating by nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden, printed in the New York Times and a ‘most viewed story’ of 2008.

Beets – Think of beets as red spinach says Bowden, with folate and red pigments that may be cancer fighters.

Eat them raw – grated into salad

Cabbage – a brassica vegetable, similar to broccoli – with anti cancer effects – see my blog on brassicas.

Swiss Chard - lots of beneficial carotenes in the leaves.

Cinnamon –lowers blood sugar and LDL cholesterol

Pomegranate juice – increases blood flow in the heart muscle. See my blog on pomegranate for details.

Prunes – packed with antioxidants, and a safe laxative

Pumpkin Seeds – good source of protein, magnesium and zinc. Toast and eat.

Canned Pumpkin –an easy way to get lots of carotenes - use in soup and whole grain pancakes.

Sardines – lots of omega-3 fatty acids, high in calcium – try the low sodium kind with bones and skin intact. Turmeric – anti-cancer, good for the brain, see my blog for details. It’s in curry powder. Add to rice and stir fries.

Frozen Blueberries – associated with better memory in studies of aging animals. Add to a yogurt or soy smoothie.

Dear Readers – I wish you a wonderful Solstice as you celebrate the light returning. Stay warm with a cup of green tea and some sauteed mushrooms. They are protective for men as well as women. Have a joyous Christmas, whether you are a Christian, Jew, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Pantheist or other spiritual path. It’s the spirit of friendship that counts.

Sadja Greenwood, MD, MPH back issues on this blog

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