Robyn Stoller, Author at NFCR - Page 6 of 6

Robyn Stoller

7 Ways Dogs Help People with Cancer

Dogs are known as “man’s best friend.”  They are loyal companions, always excited to see you, follow your every word and will never desert you.  Simply put, they love you unconditionally and aren’t afraid to show it.  Research now shows there are also health-related benefits to spending time with these adorable, furry, four-legged friends.

1. Dogs can smell cancer.
Canines smell up to 1,000 times more accurately than humans.  In multiple laboratory studies, dogs have been able to detect certain cancers by smelling breath or urine samples.
In one study, a Labrador retriever trained in cancer scent detection correctly identified 91% of breath samples and 97% of stool samples from patients with colon cancer. In another study, a German shepherd identified ovarian cancer malignancies form tissue samples with 90% accuracy.  Dogs might one day be used in conjunction with existing diagnostic tests to detect cancer at its earliest stages when it’s most treatable.

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2. Dogs are good for your overall health and heart.

One study
found that people with pets had significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure than those without pets. In another study, one year after suffering a heart attack people with dogs were more likely to be alive than those who did not have a dog.

3. Dogs can significantly improve your mood.
Cancer can cause depression and feelings of isolation.  Another study found that cancer patients who spent time with a therapy dog prior to treatment reported improved emotional and social well-being, even while their physical well-being was in decline during chemotherapy.

4. Dogs are good stress relievers.

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ICYDK: Dogs can suffer from cancer just like people. November 7th is National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day, a day created to increase awareness and understanding of canine lymphoma. It’s a good time to give your dog an extra hug or belly rub to let them know how special they are.

Going through cancer treatment can be stressful and dogs can provide a welcome distraction. Petting them releases endorphins that relieve stress and improve mood.  This can help patients forget about their pain or frustrations for a period of time.

5. Dogs are great company.
Going through cancer treatment can be a lonely experience.   Even if you have a strong support system, you may not be able to share your inner most feelings with them.  Dogs are always eager to listen… and they know how to keep a secret.

6. Service dogs can aid in recovery and independence.
When most people think of service dogs, they think of guide dogs for the blind.  But medical service dogs can also be trained to bark for help, retrieve a phone, assist in walking, and opening and closing doors.  They can even be trained to pick up dropped items or turn on/off lights and appliances.    This can be especially helpful for cancer patients who have lost a limb or have difficulty getting around as a result of treatment.

7. Walking a dog is great exercise.
dog-cancer-3Adding some form of exercise to your daily routine – even during cancer treatment – will enhance your physical well-being and aid in your recovery.  Cancer can literally be exhausting.  Research has shown that cancer patients who exercise regularly have 40% to 50% less fatigue.  Taking your dog for a walk several times a day provides the perfect amount of moderate exercise needed.

Whether you are a dog owner or have access to therapy dogs at your infusion clinics, dogs have the ability to help people with cancer better cope with their diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

Share with us how your dog helps you get through the day.

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Taste the Cancer-Fighting Power of the Rainbow

Eating a colorful diet doesn’t just make for beautiful meals—it’s a good way to make sure you’re getting a variety of vitamins and nutrients that can help prevent cancer, as well as other health concerns.  The deeper the color, the greater concentration of nutrients and antioxidants.

Although a colorful diet won’t guarantee that you’ll avoid a cancer diagnosis, it is an important tool in your fight to help prevent it.  So for dinner tonight, try this nutritious, delicious and super colorful salsa with grilled chicken or fish.

Rainbow Salsa

(Adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

INGREDIENTS:

3 roma tomatoes, cored and diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed, seeded and diced (add more/less to taste)
1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 large orange bell pepper, cored and diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely-packed
2/3 cup chopped red onion (about half of a small red onion)
2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice (about 1 large lime)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, bell peppers, black beans, corn, cilantro and red onion in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, garlic powder, cumin and salt until combined.  Add the juice to the bowl of salsa.  Then toss everything until combined.

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.

 

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Taste the Cancer-Fighting Power of Kale

kaleKale is a nutritional superstar as it provides one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition we have.  Per calorie, kale provides more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. It’s packed with at least 45 antioxidant flavonoids and contains 10 times the daily value of the important, yet often overlooked, vitamin K.

Early research shows that a diet containing the powerful antioxidant vitamin K may reduce the overall risk of cancer. Try this nutritious, delicious cancer-fighting recipe that’s perfect this time of year.

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Toasted Almonds

(Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2012)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ medium shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1½ cups butternut squash, cubed into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into ½ inch wide ribbons (5 cups)
  • ¾ cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (for shaving)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. To make dressing: Whisk 5 Tbsp oil, vinegar, shallot and mustard in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. Combine squash with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then roast for approximately 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until squash is tender and lightly golden.   Let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile heat remaining oil in large skillet over high heat. Add kale and cook, tossing frequently, until bright green and slightly wilted, 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat, add 3-4 Tbsp of dressing and toss to coat.
  5. Combine squash, kale and toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper.  Using a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan over vegetables.  Drizzle more dressing if needed.
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Taste the Cancer-Fighting Power of Curcumin

Curcumin has been used for centuries in India and other parts of Southeast Asia as both a cooking spice and a medicine to treat arthritis and gastrointestinal upset. Some studies have shown that curcumin may be helpful in treating or preventing certain cancers including triple negative breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer.

** Please note: if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, consult with your medical team prior to making new additions to your diet or lifestyle changes.

So how can we add curcumin to our diets? Cook with the spice TUMERIC- it’s active ingredient is curcumin.

The recipe below has even more healthy benefits as salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids that provide well-documented benefits for the heart and brain.

Sweet Lemon-Pepper Turmeric Salmon 

(Recipe adapted from Perchance To Cook)

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

¼ cup lemon juice
a large pinch of ground black pepper
¼ tsp + ⅛ tsp of ground turmeric, divided
½ tsp honey or agave nectar
½ pound of salmon (about 8 ounces- use wild salmon if possible)
extra slices of lemon
an extra drizzle of honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, a large pinch of ground black pepper, ¼ tsp of ground turmeric, and ½ tsp of honey together.
  2. Place your salmon into a large ziplock bag, pour the lemon mixture into the bag, and put everything into the fridge to marinate for about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Remove the salmon from the bag and place on a cookie sheet. Cover the salmon fillets in two spoonfuls of the mixture from the bag, and then place the salmon skin side up.
  5. Cook for 6 minutes, and then flip the salmon so that it is flesh side up. Then, sprinkle ⅛ tsp of ground turmeric on top of the salmon and sprinkle some more pepper on top. Cover each filet with a slice of lemon and a drizzle of honey.
  6. Cook for 6 more minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily.

Other ways to add tumeric to your diet: 

Try tossing turmeric with roasted vegetables. Cauliflower is especially delicious served this way. You can even sprinkle it on scrambled eggs or soups, or blend it into a smoothie.

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Taste the Cancer-Fighting Power of Black Bean Brownies

Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and obesity, which increases cancer risk over time.   Research now links certain cancers—including breast, prostate, colorectal, esophageal, endometrial, kidney and pancreatic—to obesity.

Today I’d like share with you a very special dessert that is made without sugar and without refined carbohydrates.  With these Black Bean Brownies, you can feel good about satisfying your sweet tooth.

CAUTION:  These brownies are seriously addicting and it’s impossible to eat just one.

Cancer-Fighting Sugar-Free Black Bean Brownies

(Recipe originally seen on CancerHawk)

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (72% cocoa or higher)
1 cup unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated butter substitute
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup brewed coffee
¼ tsp sea salt
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups light agave nectar

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 11” by 18” baking pan with parchment paper.  Spray with canola oil.
  2.  Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
  3.  Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.
  4.  Place the soft-cooked beans, ½ cup of walnuts, vanilla extract and a couple spoonfuls of melted chocolate mixture into the  food processor.
  5.  Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  6.  Batter should be thick and the beans smooth.  Set aside.
  7.  In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee and salt.  Mix well and  set aside.
  8.  In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light & creamy- about 1 minute.
  9.  Add the agave nectar & beat well.  Set aside.
  10.  Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture.  Stir until blended well.
  11.  Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup.
  12.  Mix well & pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  13.  Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy.  Drizzle over the brownie batter.
  14.  Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
  15.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the brownies are set.
  16.  Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares.  These brownies are very rich, so cut them into small squares.  (Please note:  The brownies will be soft until they are refrigerated)  Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 45 or so (2-inch brownies)

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Taste the Cancer-Fighting Power of Brazil Nuts

NFCR-sponsored researchers have been investigating the links between nutrition and cancer prevention for decades. The latest research from Dr. Helmut Sies focuses specifically on the role of selenium, a nutrient that may play a critical role in reducing the risk of certain cancers. So what can we eat to add selenium to our diets? Brazil nuts.

Brazil nuts contain the richest source of natural selenium. They also make a great pesto.  Add a dollop to some roasted broccoli, whole-grain pasta or salmon and voila! You now have a delicious, nutritious, cancer-fighting meal for dinner tonight. Try it…. And let us know what you think. Post your comments below.

Brazil-Nut Pestopesto
(from Food & Wine Magazine)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

In a mini food processor, combine the parsley with the Brazil nuts, water, tarragon, garlic and lemon zest and pulse to a coarse paste. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the Parmesan and process to a slightly smooth paste.  Season with salt and pepper.

MAKE AHEAD OF TIME:

This pesto can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

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What You Should Know About the 2016-2017 Influenza Season

Before we know it, Autumn will be here.  Along with cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, pumpkin patches and football games comes flu season.  The flu can wreak havoc.  Every year, millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from the flu.[1]

What do cancer patients & survivors- whose immune system may be weakened from cancer treatments- need to know about the flu?

Doctor’s offices around the country are vaccinating their patients for the upcoming 2016-2017 flu season NOW.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people who have had cancer or who currently have a diagnosis of cancer- as well as their families and close contacts- get vaccinated before the end of October.

Below is important information that every cancer patient & survivor should know about the flu:

  • The flu shot is a seasonal vaccine. Every year it gets updated to protect against the strains of flu virus expected to cause illness in the upcoming flu season.
  • Having or surviving cancer does NOT put you at an increased risk for getting the flu per se. It does, however, put you at an increased risk of complications from the flu virus. Complications can include pneumonia, hospitalization and even death.
  • Getting the flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. Always talk with your medical team prior to getting vaccinated.  Under certain circumstances, there may be some cancer patients who should not get vaccinated.
  • For the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC recommends the use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) only. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should NOT be used for anyone- with or without cancer- this year.[2]
  • Call the doctor if you think you’ve been exposed to the flu. You may be prescribed an antiviral medication, which can help stop the virus from infecting your body.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
  • Because people with cancer are at an increased risk of pneumonia, talk to your health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine when you discuss the flu shot.
  • If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, schedule an appointment with your doctor today.

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/rr6505a1.htm?s_cid=rr6505a1_w
[2] http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

 

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Cancer–Fighting Cocoa

Who doesn’t love chocolate? When it comes to a beloved treat, chocolate is a common favorite. But, unfortunately, there are consequences that aren’t that sweet!

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to rain on your parade. The truth is there are pros and cons to the delectable delight. For example, dark chocolate contains powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants called flavanols, but also includes cocoa butter which has high levels of unhealthy saturated fat that can raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease when consumed in excess.

Cocoa Can Help Fight Cancer

Dark chocolate and chocolate powderSo what could be a better option than dark chocolate?

When it comes to fighting cancer, the answer is simple: Cocoa!

One gram of cocoa contains over 30 mg of flavanols, whereas one gram of dark chocolate only contains approximately 12.5 mg. What’s more one ounce of dark chocolate typically contains about 170 calories, 12 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar, while one ounce of unsweetened cocoa powder contains only 70 calories, 4 grams of fat and virtually no sugar.

Add Powdered Cocoa to Your Diet

oatmeal with cocoaBy adding powdered cocoa to your diet, you can reap its cancer-fighting benefits without the guilt.

It may taste bitter by itself, but you can simply add 2-4 Tablespoons in foods like oatmeal, smoothies or shakes to make a delicious addition to your healthy diet. You’ll find cocoa powder in the baking aisle at your local grocery store.

For more cancer-fighting food tips and recipes, visit http://nfcr.org/category/foodiefridays/

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Green Goddess: Healthy Anti-Cancer Smoothie Recipe

 

 

Eating a colorful diet is a good way to make sure you’re getting a variety of vitamins and nutrients that can help prevent cancers. This recipe mixes a few colors from the rainbow and ends up with the “G” in ROY G BIV.

The green goddess smoothie adds a variety of superfoods to your day; you’ll get vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber and antioxidants in this delicious drink.

Ingredients
Serves approximately 4 cups

  • 2 cups of purified water
  • 5 cups of spinach leaves
  • ½ lemon squeezed
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 ripe pear
  • (Optional) berries and/or a splash of your favorite juice or cider

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender, add all ingredients
  2. Pulse for 2-3 minutes or until items are liquefied

 

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