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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Relationship Between Nutrition and Cancer

On Wednesday, February 20th at Bazaar Spices at Union Market, Eric Cohen, RN, BSN, OCN, Oncology Nurse and Clinical Intern in Nutrition and Integrative Health at Tai Sophia Institute, discussed the relationship between food and cancer, and what we can eat to boost our immune system and protect us from the inflammation that causes diseases. Eric has been an oncology nurse for 15 years and has focused primarily on patient education as it relates to cancer. He often talks to patients about the side effects of the disease and treatment options. The number one question he receives from his patients is, “What should I eat?”

Eric shed light on the foods that we should eat to help boost our immune system. Here are a few points Eric made:
  • Eric made reference to the Mediterranean diet, which includes a wide array of nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish, and wine.
  • Eighty-five percent of our immune system is concentrated in the gut, so it's wise to eat foods that are not processed but have high nutritional value.  
  • Processed foods can tax the immune system. Fruits and vegetables are extremely beneficial to the immune system.  
  • Eating whole foods is important. For example, eating the whole apple, including the skin.
  • Eating fresh foods versus frozen or canned as much as possible is beneficial. Eating foods that are in season is important. 
  • He also touched upon antioxidants, foods that take in a lot of oxygen. 
  • He touched on eating things of all different colors and textures, and most importantly, eating food that tastes good.
Eric discussed the importance of using a variety of spices as helpful in maintaining a healthy immune system. Eric highlighted Galangal (Thai Ginger), Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, and Turmeric. Eric mentioned that pungency and bitterness are good for boosting the ability of the gut to digest food and absorb nutrients more efficiently. Most of the attendees of yesterday’s discussion were interested in learning more about cancer prevention.

Eric offered a very educational and informative discussion yesterday and we appreciate all of those who signed up and came out to absorb the knowledge he had to share. Stay tuned for more informative and exciting events at Bazaar Spices.

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