Women's Health Hot Line

NUTRITION


Plant a healthy garden

When spring arrives, one of the very best things you can do for your health is plant an herb garden. Tilling the soil not only is good for your body and spirit, but will provide you with the means of spicing up your cooking throughout the year.

Fresh herbs are great for adding flavor -- especially dill, thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano and basil. If you live in a cold climate, you can grow many herbs indoors. Generally, the more you use an herb plant, the thicker and bushier it grows, so even a few plants can provide a bountiful harvest for your kitchen.

Here's a guide to which herb goes with what food:

  • Basil -- eggs, fish, meat, poultry, salad, vegetables
  • Chives -- eggs, fish, meat, poultry, salad, vegetables
  • Dill -- eggs, fish, meat, poultry, salad, vegetables
  • Mint -- fruit, meat, poultry, salad, vegetables, beverages such as tea
  • Oregano -- fish, meat, salad, vegetables
  • Rosemary -- fish, meat, poultry, vegetables
  • Thyme -- eggs, fish, meat, poultry, vegetables

Join me in planting your herb garden now. Then use fresh herbs throughout the year to give new zest to your healthy dining.


Off-the-shelf cancer fighting foods

There are three types of easy-to-find foods that might help prevent cancer:

Fruits and vegetables Studies repeatedly find that women who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day have a lower risk of cancer. Why? Produce is very high in vitamins called antioxidants. These include beta carotene (which the body converts to Vitamin A), Vitamin E and Vitamin C.

Fruits and vegetables also contain scores of micronutrients which may also be protective.

Fiber Nothing could be less glamorous than fiber, which is, after all, just the indigestible part of fruits, vegetables and grain. But over the past 20 years, researchers have amassed an impressive array of evidence that fiber helps prevent colon cancer. For more fiber, eat high fiber cereal, bran flakes, rye crisp crackers, popcorn, toasted wheat germ, granola, high-fiber bread and beans.

Soy This soybean substance may lower the risk of a host of diseases including breast cancer because soy contains flavonoids, which are a source of phytoestrogen, a substance which chemically resembles estrogen.

Researchers speculate this chemical may block receptor cells which can promote cancer. Soy products include tofu, a solid cake of curdled soy milk; tempeh, a thin cake made from fermented soybeans; isolate soy protein; soy flour; soya powder; textured soy powder and soy milk. Soy sauce is salty, though, so use it sparingly.