How are your health and wellness goals tracking this winter? Could you do with a boost in motivation? Read on to learn about:
- Why alcohol advice has been revisited
- Our popular cookshop to drop your cholesterol and blood sugar
- Broccoli and why it’s a superfood
- Eggs: unscrambling fact from fiction
- Australia’s new cancer directory online
- How to make fruit fun for kids this winter
- Smart eating tips for uni students and young professionals
Like a Drop of Red? – Alcohol Advice Revisited:
Think a bit of red wine is good for the heart? Think again. Cancer Council Australia (CCA) has released a position statement on alcohol and cancer with conclusions for your overall health that may surprise you.
Is it time you weighed up the evidence?
Alcohol and cancer
It’s been known for 20 years that drinking alcohol regularly can bring on cancer in your body. In 1988 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified alcoholic beverages as a Group 1 carcinogen. This means they are a proven cause of cancer in humans!
Now, ‘convincing’ evidence exists that alcohol is a cause of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel (in men) and breast (in women). Cancer experts have also deemed alcohol probably increases the risk of bowel cancer (in women) and liver cancer in both genders. According to CCA, any level of alcohol consumption increases your risk of developing certain cancers. And the level of risk increases in line with your level of consumption.
How could alcohol bring on the big C? Various biological mechanisms have been uncovered that can initiate, promote or progress the cancer process.
1. When broken down in your body, alcohol produces ‘acetaldehyde’ which is mutagenic (can cause your genes to mutate or change) and carcinogenic and bonds with your DNA! Note – anything that bonds to your DNA will alter its function.
2. Ethanol (the part in alcoholic beverages that is responsible for the harmful effects) directly irritates your epithelial tissue, which lines surfaces in your body, such as your oesophagus and intestines.
3. Alcohol boosts levels of estrogen in your body, thereby increasing the risk of breast cancer. In young women, even one small glass of wine consumed regularly will significantly increase their risk of breast cancer by around 10 %. Sharing a bottle of wine each night may increase breast cancer risk by 30-40 %!
4. It readily promotes weight gain – consider the ‘beer gut’! Excessive body fat is now a well known driver for cancer cell growth.
Alcohol and heart disease
Few people seem aware that the Heart Foundation in Australia advises against consumption of red wine and other types of alcoholic drinks for the prevention or treatment of heart disease! If the evidence were any different, they would be first to recommend you have a glass of red after work each day.
In their assessment of the data, CCA has also concluded that the existing evidence does not justify promotion of alcohol use to prevent heart disease. They state that the previously reported role of alcohol in reducing heart disease risk in light to moderate drinkers has been overestimated.
How could scientists get it wrong? There are a couple of errors that led to the misguided belief that alcohol may protect your heart. One is the misclassification of the ‘non-drinkers’ group to include former drinkers, who might have stopped drinking for reasons of ill health. The other is ‘residual confounding’ – meaning other healthy lifestyle behaviours practised by people who were light drinkers were likely to have been responsible for their better heart outcomes, not the alcohol they drank. While some clinical trials in humans on risk factors for heart disease may suggest benefit, there has never been a randomised controlled trial (considered the ‘gold standard’ in research) to show alcohol actually prevents heart disease itself. Apart from being difficult to do, and taking decades of time, this would be unethical now due to the cancer evidence.
Alcohol consumption is a proven cause of cancer and the belief it protects from heart disease is misguided.
No health authority is therefore recommending you take up drinking for good health. If individual practitioners suggest otherwise, they either have a vested interest (e.g. own a vineyard) or are not up to date with the latest evidence.
Even in 2007, the World Health Organistaion stated, “from both the public health and clinical viewpoints, there is no merit in promoting alcohol consumption as a preventive strategy”.
CCA recommends that to reduce your risk of cancer, you should limit your consumption of alcohol “or better still avoid alcohol altogether”. These are strong words.
For those healthy people who still choose to drink, the NHMRC recommends no more than two standard drinks on any day. For people under 18, or pregnant and breastfeeding women, not drinking is recommended as the safest option.
If there are any heart gains to be made from low to moderate alcohol consumption, the research suggests these are confined to middle aged and older people.
The reality is that there are plenty of safer ways to protect your heart than drinking alcohol, such as exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, not smoking and keeping stress levels controlled. These can also reduce your risk of cancer at the same time.
What to drink instead?
The options for non-alcoholic beverages that look like the real thing have become numerous, yet few people are aware of them. The market for such drinks will only continue to grow.
From de-alcoholised wine and beer to alcohol-free cyder and champagne – you have plenty to choose from. While choices at your local liquor shop may be limited, if you live on the Central Coast (NSW) there is a unique shop called ‘Alcofree’ you can visit in Tuggerah. Or buy from them online to have your goods delivered to most Aussie mega-towns: www.alcofree.com.au Cheers!
“There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.” - Edward Lucas.
What’s Cooking? – More Clever Foods to Reduce Your Cholesterol & Blood Sugar
Do you cringe at the thought of taking lifelong pills? Would you prefer to enjoy delicious meals instead?
Join us to learn about nature’s powerful ‘portfolio foods’ and drop your cholesterol, sugar and dress size the natural way.
Research has proven that a unique dietary combination of certain foods in appropriate amounts can lower your cholesterol by up to 30 %. This is as much as a starting dose of a first generation statin medication that doctors prescribe!
The only side effects: more energy and improved regularity. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Impressed? We can show you how to do it all at home to improve your blood test results.
At this event you’ll learn to cook gorgeous black beans using a time-saving pressure cooker for a warm winter salad. Discover the delights of eggplant and wood ear plus drool over a moist dessert loaf served with a cholesterol-lowering cream that you can even eat at breakfast!
You will just love this menu!
When: Tuesday 9th September 2014, 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm
Learn more about our cookshops
Enjoy a delicious three-course tasting meal, recipes and handouts!
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. Bring a date and make it an evening out!
What’s Fresh? – Broccoli
Broccoli, or “little trees” as children may call them, is a powerful superfood with strong health benefits. Broccoli is part of the brassica family, which includes cauliflower, cabbage, Asian cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, swedes and more veggies with a peppery bite. The Calabrese broccoli is the most popular and is named after the Italian city Calabria. It has a large green head (10-20 cm in length) and a thick stalk. Broccolini, on the other hand, have a long slender stem topped with smaller flowering buds.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious of vegetables. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, fibre, folate and also supplies calcium, iron, vitamins E and A, and potassium. It contains the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family, providing beta carotene, and is particularly rich in lutein. The rich source of unique phytonutrients (isothiocyanates) released from broccoli, when you chew or cut it, has been shown to boost DNA repair and block the growth of some cancers.
Broccoli is available in Australia all year round but likes the cooler weather better (April-September). It tends to grow poorly in hot summer climates. When choosing your broccoli, ensure the stalks are firm and avoid those with yellow leaves or flowers. It’s best to store broccoli in a bag in your fridge and make sure no other vegetables are ‘resting’ on it.
When preparing the broccoli, trim and divide the heads evenly. Due to its many branches and flowers, pesticides or sprays can get ‘caught’, so it’s important to wash your broccoli well under cold running water. The stalks can be eaten, so you can leave them attached to the floret or slice them separately and add to soups, stews and stir-fries.
In the past, our parents or grandparents made the mistake of overcooking broccoli to a soft mushy consistency. This destroys the taste, texture and anti-cancer value of this superfood. Eat your broccoli mostly raw or only lightly cooked (e.g. steamed for up to 3 minutes).
6 Top ways to use broccoli:
- Lightly blanch and serve with freshly cut cucumber, carrot, capsicum, baby tomatoes and a tasty hommus dip.
- Make a green stir-fry with broccoli, bok choy and cashews.
- Lightly pan fry broccoli and cauliflower with ginger, garlic and some lime zest for a tasty veggie side.
- Make a quick broccoli pesto paste.
- Bake a wholemeal pie crust with a broccoli and tofu satay filling.
- Enjoy a warm broccoli, onion and potato soup.
Food Matters with Sue Radd – Eggs: Unscrambling Fact From Fiction
Confused about eggs? How many should you be eating, even if you don’t have a high cholesterol? Read Sue Radd’s article for independent advice.
NEW - Australia’s Cancer Directory
Want to spend less time searching for trusted information and cancer resources online? Some fact sheets have been translated into more than 56 languages!
Food InFocus – How to Make Fruit Fun for Kids
Need some more innovative ways to get your kids eating fruit? Check out these tips and cool gadgets with Sue Radd.
Smart Food Tips for Uni Students and Young Professionals
Looking after yourself is no easy task, especially if you’re a student. If you’ve left high school in the past year and moved on to uni or the workforce, knowing what to eat can be tricky.
A change in environment, location and colleagues can all be quite stressful and place extra strain on your body. Not to mention the flood of assignments, exams and work tasks that will fill your days ahead. It’s important to keep your body in tip top shape so you can perform at your best and develop some ‘immunity’ to the new stressors you may be experiencing.
Here are some quick tips to boost your nutrition:
- Don’t skip your breakfast! A high fibre cereal like untoasted muesli with some berries and low fat yoghurt or dense grainy bread with avocado or natural peanut butter will give you a great start to the day!
- Make sure you pack in some healthy snacks to keep you going on those long and unpredictable days. Top snacks include: a small container of unsalted nuts or seeds, a piece of fruit, a low fat yoghurt, a high fibre muesli or nut bar, veggie sticks with hummus or some grainy crackers with a low fat cheese or nut spread.
- Quick lunch or dinner ideas include:
- Make your own sandwich or wrap (don’t be lazy, it’s easy and you’ll save money!). Tasty sandwich ingredients include: avocado, hommus, baby spinach leaves, rocket leaves, tabbouli, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, low fat cheese, felafel, a lentil pattie, cooked chicken breast or lean turkey.
- Lentil and vegetable soups are easy to make on the weekend and can be frozen for future use.
- Cook wholegrain or spelt pasta and mix with a jar of ready made pasta sauce and a tin of four bean mix.
- Throw together a quick veggie stir-fry (you can use frozen pre-cut veggies) with tofu or chicken breast on a bed of tender brown rice (use a rice cooker to make life easy!).
- Bake a ready-made lentil pattie and eat it with an easy salad on the side (baby spinach leaves, Lebanese cucumber, grape tomatoes and a small amount of feta).
- Combine a tin of flavoured tuna with a four bean mix for an easy light meal.
- If choosing a fast food option (hopefully it’s not often), go for the brown rice sushi rolls, the grainy Subway sandwiches, colourful fresh salad bar options or the felafel wraps.
- Keep hydrated! Always carry a water bottle with you wherever you go.
- Keep moving! Doing regular exercise will help you to maintain your weight, reduce stress levels and boost your brain function.
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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2014.
Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.nwbc.com.au
We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.
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