This amazing post was written by Caitlin Iles, a Holistic Culinary Nutritionist and Yoga teacher who focuses on healing the body through the latest nutrition research and time-tested, evolution-based dietary concepts. She shares recipes and inspiration at www.caitliniles.ca or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
In North America breakfast tends to consist of refined cereals, bagels, muffins, fruit juices, or super sugary caffeinated beverages. Unfortunately, these treats are harmful not only to your waistline, but they can also increase your risk for developing certain types of cancer (http://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2407-14-985).
Studying the role of sugar in the progression of cancer is becoming an area interest in current oncology research as some studies show that sugars, such as glucose and fructose, are the primary fuel source for cancer cells (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20706540). I don’t need to wait for decisive studies to convince me to get this junk food off of my breakfast plate, so I’ve come up with a few tasty anti-cancer breakfast ideas you can introduce to your diet today!
By focusing on eating breakfasts that not only promote blood sugar stabilization, but also contain anti-oxidants and other compounds thought to prevent cancer risk, you can make sure you’re starting each day with the odds stacked in your favour. Try adding a couple of these to your weekly routine to reap the health benefits.
Antioxidant Rich Smoothies
I wanted to start with the simplest, but one of the most potent breakfasts you can incorporate into your routine with ease and deliciousness.
There is no end to the smoothie combinations you can come up with (check out some of my favourite recipes here http://caitliniles.ca/category/smoothies-2/), but in keeping with today’s theme of promoting stable blood sugar and anti-oxidant support I wanted to share my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.
Pumpkin contains a nutrient called beta-carotene (http://europepmc.org/abstract/CBA/377467), which functions as an incredible antioxidant molecule in the body. When it is converted to vitamin A it also has great immune-boosting properties, which is key for giving your body the nutrients it needs to fight rogue cancer cells.
It’s also rich in a fibre called pectin that has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and insulin regulating properties (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-005-2536-x#page-1). Being diabetic increases the risk of cancer significantly (http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/7/1674.long#T1), so drink up to protect yourself!
- ½ cup pumpkin puree*
- ½ inch fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. allspice, cloves, and/or nutmeg
- ½ cup coconut milk (or dairy-free milk of choice!)
- ½ banana
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup ice cubes
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
* Or 1 apple, diced and cored to create an apple pie smoothie! Apples are also high in pectin.
Blood Sugar Balancing Overnight Quinoa Porridge
If we want to make sure our blood sugar is balanced throughout the day we need to start with a hearty, protein rich breakfast.
Not only does the quinoa in this recipe contain all the essential amino acids we need to thrive, but the cinnamon helps our bodies use sugar more efficiently, while the ginger improves our sensitivity to insulin (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.0180).
This means that we get sugar out of our blood stream and into our cells to be used for energy more quickly, thus preventing its being use as food for unruly cancer cells.
Here’s my super simple, time-saving recipe. Just pop it on before bed and you’ll wake up to a house that smells delicious and a breakfast to nourish your body!
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp. ginger
- 2 apples, diced
- ½ cup dried cranberries or currants (you can also use fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries for an extra antioxidant punch!)
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- maple syrup, honey, or coconut palm sugar to taste
- In a small crock-pot combine quinoa, coconut milk, water, cinnamon, ginger, apples, and cranberries.
- Turn to low and let simmer overnight.
- In the morning, place in a bowl and top with a sprinkling of walnuts, hemp hearts, and a drizzle of syrup.
Anti-Inflammatory Veggie Egg Muffins
Herbs and spices are some of your most powerful allies when it comes to cancer prevention. These egg muffins contain one of the most well-studied and health-promoting spices around: turmeric.
The active component of turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in addition to promoting apoptosis, which is a fancy term that means preprogrammed cell death. Our bodies are incredibly smart and have programs in place to ensure that cells that are no longer needed, or which provide a threat, i.e. cancer cells, are eliminated.
This powerful spice has also been shown to have anti-pre-cancer activities by increasing our blood levels of vitamins C and E, two important antioxidants, which prevents oxidation and DNA damage (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20587949).
Try incorporating turmeric into your meals or whip up a batch of these delicious and easy egg muffins to get a potent dose of anti-oxidants from the turmeric and delicious veggies!
- 12 eggs
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, & garlic
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. turmeric (feel free to add more for even more health benefits!)
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease or line 12 muffin tins.
- Whip eggs and coconut milk together.
- Add chopped veggies, spinach, sea salt, turmeric, basil, and pepper.
- Pour into lined muffin tins.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and middle of egg muffin is set.
- Can be frozen or stored in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Decadent Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Who doesn’t want an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast? Luckily for you I’ve got you covered with a decadent chocolate pudding that ticks all the boxes when it comes to cancer prevention.
Did you know that raw cacao is one of the highest food sources of magnesium? This crucial mineral is not only associated with lower fasting glucose levels (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3713023/) but has also been shown to to have a protective effect against cancer, especially of the colon (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24910891).
The walnuts we’ll be topping our treat are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for managing inflammation in the body and promoting healthy brain function. However, these delicious nuts also have anti-cancer effects in the body, especially in breast (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21774594), colorectal (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21774594) and prostate (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259176/) cancers.
Lastly, let’s not forget the star of our show: avocados. These creamy and nourishing fruits induce cell death in precancerous and cancer cells (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17582784), which makes this breakfast a potent anti-cancer treat you can enjoy any time of day!
- 2 super ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 2 heaping tbsp. raw cacao
- 1 tbsp. protein powder of choice (I like Vegessentials or Greens+ Fermented Vegan protein)
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts
- In a bowl whip together avocado, coconut milk, vanilla, sea salt, and honey.
- Add tapioca starch and whip until fully incorporated.
- Add raw cacao and whip again until smooth with no visible chunks.
- Divide into small serving cups and chill 30-60 minutes.
- Top with walnuts and enjoy as is. Or use as a filling in trifles, pies, and tarts.
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