#FoodieFriday Archives - NFCR


The Bountiful Benefits of Beans

eat your beans feature

In honor of National Eat Your Beans Day, we’d like to boast about the bountiful benefits beans provide. Black beans… Great Northern beans… garbanzo beans… kidney beans… lima beans… no matter which you chose, beans provide a myriad of health benefits. In general, ½ cup of beans provides 7 grams of protein, the same amount as in 1 ounce of chicken, meat or fish. Beans are low in fat, filled with fiber and contain a powerhouse of micronutrients and antioxidants like copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. In fact, research suggests that eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, reduce risk of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers and help with weight management.

Data compiled from 41 countries revealed that countries with the greatest consumption of beans had the lowest mortality rates due to colon cancer.[i] In a Harvard study from the International Journal of Cancer, 90,638 cancer free women between 26 and 46 years old were monitored for eight years. Those who ate beans or lentils two or more times per week had a 34% lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate them one or fewer times per month.[ii] Additionally, data from 15 countries revealed that countries with the greatest consumption of beans had the lowest death rates due to prostate cancer.[iii]

Beans are an extremely versatile food and can be served in many ways— from soups and chilis to salads, veggie burgers and enchiladas to desserts like brownies, the possibilities are seemingly endless.  Try our favorite Cancer-Fighting Black Bean Brownies… but we must warn you, these brownies are seriously addicting and it’s impossible to eat just one. Try them and let us know what you think 


Cancer-Fighting Black Bean Brownies

(Recipe originally seen on CancerHawk)



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


  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. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.
  3. Place the soft-cooked beans, ½ cup of walnuts, vanilla extract and a couple spoonfuls of melted chocolate mixture into the food processor. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth. Batter should be thick and the beans smooth.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee and salt.  Mix well and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light & creamy- about 1 minute.
  6. Add the agave nectar & beat well.  Set aside.
  7. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture.  Stir until blended well.
  8. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well & pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy.  Drizzle over the brownie batter.
  10. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the brownies are set. 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)


[i] http://beaninstitute.com/beans-cancer/

[ii] http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/5-cancer-fighting-foods-you-should-be-eating-today

[iii] http://beaninstitute.com/beans-cancer/

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7 Simple Strategies to Boost Your Health

When it comes to a diet rich in cancer-fighting foods, most experts agree that it should consist of a predominantly plant-based diet as fruits and vegetables. Since June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month, it’s the perfect time to incorporate more healthy eating habits into your daily routine.

Fruits and vegetables provide the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals our bodies need to thrive. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help to reduce our risk of heart disease, eye disease, high blood pressure and stroke, ease digestive problems, aid in healthy weight management and prevent certain types of cancer.

Research has shown that maintaining a healthy weight throughout life can lower your risk of breast, uterine, prostate, lung, colon, kidney, pancreatic, esophageal, multiple myeloma, gallbladder, gastric, ovarian and thyroid cancers. Furthermore, people who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of many serious health conditions, including cancers. In fact, obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.

Although it may seem simple to follow the USDA guidelines and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, less than 30% of Americans do it. Here are 7 simple strategies to boost your fruit and vegetable consumption:

1.  Keep fruits and veggies where you can see them. Whether you store your produce on the counter or in the fridge, placing them where you can easily see them increases the likelihood that you’ll actually eat them. To keep your produce as fresh as possible, follow these guidelines from Real Simple Magazine.

2.  Double the veggies. Most recipes call for a specific amount of vegetables. When it comes to something like soups, salads or casseroles, adding even more vegetables can enhance the flavor of your meal and boost its nutritional content.  Consider adding vegetable toppings to your pizza, sandwich or favorite pasta dish.  In these instances, more really is better.

3.  Blend a smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. They’re easy to make and are a perfect portable breakfast and satisfying snack. Try our Green Goddess Smoothie. It’s delicious and nutritious!

4.  Eat a rainbow. Choosing a variety of different-colored whole foods throughout the day and week 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. Try our Rainbow Salsa with grilled chicken or fish tonight.

5.  Go meatless on Mondays. Join the “Meatless Monday” Movement and replace meat with vegetables one day a week. Salads and stir fries are two ideas for getting tasty vegetables on your plate. Try our Brazil Nut Pesto served over for extra cancer-fighting power.

6.  Make a few simple swaps. Grab an apple or an orange instead of cookies or substitute cucumbers and baby carrots for crackers. Dip them in guacamole or to add even more fruits and vegetables.

7.  Roast away. If you aren’t a fan of raw veggies, try roasting some squash, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or eggplant. Long exposure to high heat will cause these foods to caramelize, which enhances their natural sweetness and reduces bitterness. Our Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash & Toasted Almonds is truly delicious.

Preventative Cancer Research

A proactive way to reduce the number of patients dying from cancer is to prevent the disease from developing in the first place. That’s why NFCR-funded scientists have been investigating cancer prevention methodologies – and specifically links between nutrition and cancer – for decades. 

Scientist Dr. Helmut Sies¸ whose work has been funded by NFCR for over 30 years, discovered that the antioxidant lycopene, a micronutrient found in tomatoes and other foods, can reduce the damaging effects of oxygen produced by our body’s essential metabolic processes. Lycopene has strong skin cancer prevention effects.

His most recent research has been focused on selenium, a trace metal found in certain foods that is essential for good health. There is evidence that selenium improves human health and helps prevent cancer – specifically colon cancer.  *Prevention tip: Read about how to add selenium to your diet.

Additionally, during his career, Dr. Sies studied essential fatty acids that can prevent inflammation and cellular signaling pathways in cancer development, and looked at the role of nitric oxide in cancer and heart disease-related events.

Dr. Michael Sporn, whose research was supported by NFCR, is known as the “Father of Chemoprevention” because his work led to the development of several synthetic triterpenoid compounds. These compounds are a class of chemical agents that have potent preventative effects against several types of cancer, including breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. For individuals with a family history (or are otherwise at high risk of developing these diseases), the promising results of Dr. Sporn’s research offers hope that their chances of developing cancer could be dramatically reduced with the use of chemoprevention.


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