Beans are not just good for your heart, as the saying goes. Their high-fiber content helps control your blood sugar and moves foods through your gut, binding carcinogens on the way. That makes them good for preventing other chronic conditions, including diabetes and cancer.
Montreal’s Jittery Cook/blogger Holly Botner has a great recipe for Greek lima beans, inspired by the wealth of great Greek restaurants in Montreal. I like to add some oregano for extra flavor as well as its cancer-fighting properties.
Oregano contains a compound called luteolin that appears to bind to and neutralize an important protein our cells produce. The protein, called VEGF or vascular endothelial growth factor, promotes angiogenesis, the process by which cancer cells create blood vessels and spread throughout the body. For more cancer-fighting foods that block this protein, check out “Eat Your Avastin,” the first post on this blog.
Of course, beans can leave some incendiary after-effects. Once upon a time, many of us cooked beans with kombu, a Japanese seaweed, to mitigate this problem, but sea vegies soak up radiation so that’s probably not a good idea these days. Try some Beano instead. Chew foods well, and do as the Indians do–Chomp on some fennel or cumin seeds at dessert time. Ironically, many foods that are good for us also give us gas.
A final caution on beans–Limit your servings to 1/2 cup cooked beans a couple of times a day. Beans, like seeds and nuts, contain copper, and copper has been associated with cancer cell growth. More on that in future posts.
p.s. If you have a healthy recipe you want to share, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.