Here's proof that it's never too late to start that walk or trip to the gym: In a new study, the American Institute for Cancer Research found that exercise helped prevent and slow breast tumor growth — even among women who had been diagnosed and were waiting for surgery.
Granted, this was a small study — only 49 women — but it convinced me that there is power in that morning walk. I come from a genetic pool of breast cancer; my mother, a survivor, had it twice. Her mother died too young to know. So, I'm attentive to all things related to breast cancer.
This study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, found that exercise had a direct biological effect on breast cancer tumors. Researchers also found that exercise protects against postmenopausal breast cancer, colon cancer and endometrial cancer.
As the study reports, "Women in the exercise group did both strength training and moderate-level aerobic activity — like walking — at two weekly trainer-led sessions and unsupervised at home. The control group focused on relaxation and visualization techniques." The exercise group increased their activity by an average of 203 minutes a week, compared with 23 minutes in the control group. After 29 days, exercise appeared to impact tumor gene expression, especially in pathways involved in inflammation and immune regulation.
The bottom line? Here's another reason to make exercise a priority.
Q and A
Q: Is eating soft cheeses dangerous during pregnancy?
A: During pregnancy, exposure to bacteria can be dangerous, especially the Listeria bacteria that could be in soft cheeses such as brie, Camembert, feta, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, queso blanco and queso fresco if they have been made with unpasteurized milk. Listeriosis can affect both mother and baby. Soft cheeses have a higher water content, which makes them more of a risk than hard cheeses. Not only are pregnant women at a higher risk but so is anyone with a compromised immune system. We pasteurize our milk — and soft cheeses — to kill the harmful bacteria. Ask or read the label to make sure cheeses are using pasteurized milk.
Everywhere I go, bowls are all the rage — and a healthy alternative to a burger and fries. Here's a recipe from Healthline with a Southwestern kick. Feel free to substitute or add your favorite veggies.
SOUTHWESTERN CHICKEN SALAD BOWL
1/2 cup quinoa
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
In a small pot, add the quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breast for 10 minutes. Flip to other side, and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the juices run clear. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the beans, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Add the onion and zucchini, and cook for 3 more minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the tomato, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until heated through, stirring to combine. Stir in the quinoa. Serve topped with cilantro and avocado. Serves 4.
Per serving: 284 calories; 21 grams protein; 29 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams fat; 45 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams fiber; 438 milligrams sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Springfield, Illinois, and the media representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com