Coffee May Reduce Melanoma Risk

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Do you love coffee? If so, here's some more good news regarding coffee and your health.

A recent study found that coffee drinkers may be better protected against the deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma.

The results were published in the January issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Four Cups of Coffee a Day Linked to 20% Lower Melanoma Risk 

Researchers from Yale analyzed data from a study involving over 440,000 people. Participants were given food questionnaires which analyzed their coffee intake. They were followed up after a period of 10 years, on average, to determine the incidence of melanoma.

Compared to non-drinkers, coffee drinking lowered the risk of melanoma by 10%. The risk was 20% lower for individuals who drank four or more cups daily.1

Interestingly, the results did not hold true for decaffeinated coffee, the earliest stage of melanoma (melanoma in situ), nor were the results influenced by factors traditionally associated with melanoma such as UV-light exposure, smoking, or alcohol intake.

Ealier Studies Confirm the Anti-Cancer Benefits of Coffee

It’s not known exactly how coffee drinking may potentially lower the risk of melanoma. The researchers propose that caffeine may be the culprit, since previous studies show it protects against UV radiation.

The benefits may also be attributed to the numerous antioxidants found in coffee, which includes
caffeic acid, diterpenes, trigonelline, and chlorogenic acid. More research needs to be conducted.

Whatever the case, it’s not surprising that other studies confirm the anti-cancer benefits of coffee. Research shows coffee drinkers may have a higher protection against breast, prostate, colon, and even liver cancer.2-5

Drink High Quality, Antioxidant-Rich Coffee

Not all coffee provides the same protection against disease. The antioxidant content varies with how long the beans are roasted and the roasting method itself.

Several companies now offer antioxidant-retaining coffees. Be on the lookout for these!


  1. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Jan 20;107(2). 
  2. Breast Cancer Res. 2011 May 14;13(3):R49. 
  3. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011 Jun 8;103(11):876-84. 
  4. Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Nov;21(11):1949-59. 
  5. Int J Cancer. 2005 Aug 10;116(1):150-4.

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Breast Health 101

Although the words "breast cancer" strike fear into the heart of every woman, the odds of surviving this malignancy have greatly improved.

According to the American Cancer Society, 90% of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer are alive five years after being diagnosed1—up from 75% in 1975.

For those with localized disease, the current five-year survival rate is 99%.

Women are Surviving Breast Cancer Longer Than Ever

Improvement in breast cancer awareness and detection has resulted in a number of cases being diagnosed at an earlier, more treatable stage.

Cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs has a poorer prognosis. Breast cancer treatment has also advanced at a rapid pace.

The ability to identify tumor characteristics, including hormone responsiveness and genetic mutations, has resulted in individualized therapies targeted to a woman's particular disease.

More has been learned about the use of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation—the current staples of cancer therapy—which has enabled women to avoid, in many cases, disfiguring mastectomies, needless chemo, or numerous radiation treatments.

Breast Cancer Prevention Basics

Women are more aware than ever about what they can do to prevent breast cancer. Researchers have identified several lifestyle factors which could increase a woman’s risk.

For example, the results of an analysis published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute determined a 24% higher risk of breast cancer in current smokers and a 13% greater risk in former smokers compared to women who never smoked.

Drinking alcohol is also known to increase breast cancer risk. An analysis published in the British Journal of Cancer revealed a 61% greater risk of breast cancer in heavy drinkers compared with nondrinkers and occasional drinkers.3

Exercise has been linked with protection against breast cancer. It has been estimated that women who engage in moderate to vigorous activity three to five days per week have a 20% to 40% lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who don't exercise.4

Being overweight also increases cancer risk, but apparently only among postmenopausal women.5

Can Supplements Help Prevent Breast Cancer?

Increased intake of specific nutrients has been associated with a lower risk of the disease. For example, an analysis of 26 studies that included 883,585 women confirmed that increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with lower breast cancer risk.6

Increased vitamin D and vitamin B6 levels7 have been associated with a protective effect against breast cancer.

Research has also uncovered a protective effect of aspirin as well.8 In a comparison of women who used multivitamin and calcium supplements, the risk of breast cancer was 30% greater in nonusers.9

Vitamin C has shown a protective effect against breast cancer in animal studies.10 Higher intake of the vitamin have been correlated with improved breast cancer survival in women.11

Can Food Prevent Breast Cancer?

Broccoli, in addition to containing vitamin C, is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables.

Research conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara indicates that the cruciferous vegetable compound known as sulforaphane may act as a breast cancer preventive.12 

And still other research indicates a protective role for olive oil polyphenols, a prominent feature of the Mediterranean diet.13

The Bottom Line

By maintaining awareness of the ongoing breakthroughs in the understanding of breast cancer and taking advantage of the findings, we can begin to lower the incidence of this disease that still takes the lives of millions of women every decade.

Please share this post to help spread the word!


  1. Available at: Accessed January 14, 2015. 
  2. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Apr 17;105(8):515-25. 
  3. Br J Cancer. 2015 Feb 3;112(3):580-93. 
  4. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2013 Jun;125(11-12):297-301. 
  5. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(22):9579-86. 
  6. BMJ. 2013 Jun 27;346:f3706. 
  7. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Nov;21(11):1942-8. 
  8. Breast Cancer Res. 2008;10(2):R38. 
  9. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2013 Jun;12(3):38-46. 
  10. Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jul;30(7):1202-8. 
  11. Eur J Cancer. 2014 May;50(7):1223-31. 
  12. Carcinogenesis. 2008 Dec;29(12):2360-8. 
  13. BMC Cancer. 2008 Dec 18;8:377.

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Yogurt Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Within the last decade, yogurt has earned itself a major health upgrade. These days, it's considered a super food...and for good reason.

Countless studies show yogurt has many benefits and now, a recent study just linked yogurt to a reduced risk of diabetes.

The results were published in the November 2014 issue of BioMedCentral Medicine.

Yogurt Associated with an 18% Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Harvard researchers analyzed the results of three major trials. This included a sample of over 190,000 participants (all health professionals) that were followed for a period of up to 30 years. Participants filled out health questionnaires and their dietary habits were measured against their risk of diabetes.

Interestingly, they found that total dairy intake was not associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, nor were other factors traditionally associated with the disease such as body mass index.

But when they adjusted their results to examine the effect of yogurt intake, they found an 18% lower risk among yogurt eaters, specifically those who ate 8.6 ounces daily.1

Probiotics & Whey Protein Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

What is it about yogurt that may protect against diabetes? It’s not clear, but many nutrients may be at play. The presence of probiotics, whey protein, or even calcium may contribute to the protective properties.

For example, whey protein has been shown to lower sugar levels and increase the function of insulin.2 And probiotics, have been shown to lower diabetes-causing inflammation.3

Whatever the case, further research needs to be conducted.

Eat Yogurt or Take Probiotics!

Will eating yogurt daily guarantee a reduced risk of diabetes? We don’t know for sure. However it can't hurt to incorporate it into your diet – unless, of course, you’re allergic to dairy.

If you do eat yogurt, steer clear of the ones that contain added sugar and artificial sweeteners. They may do more harm than good. Instead, buy plain yogurt and add fruits or honey to sweeten the taste.

If you don’t like the taste of yogurt, consider a strong probiotic with several billion CFUs (colony forming units). Most of the benefits of yogurt are believed to stem from these beneficial bacteria.


  1. BMC Med. 2014 Nov 25;12:215.
  2. Diabetologia. 2014 Sep;57(9):1807-11. 
  3. Nutr J. 2014 Jun 17;13:60.

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Modified Citrus Pectin Fights Cancer

Pectin is a fiber found in citrus, apples and other fruit. The pectin found in citrus fruits—but only in a modified form—has been the subject of a significant amount of cancer research.

For pectin to be absorbed by the body, rather than passing through the colon as bulk, it must be artificially modified to a low molecular weight.

Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is the result of pH and temperature modification that breaks the pectin into shorter-chained carbohydrates that dissolve more readily in water and are better absorbed by the body.

Modified Citrus Pectin May Prevent the Spread of Cancer

As early as 1992, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the finding of a reduction in the spread of melanoma in mice given modified citrus pectin.1 The journal later published studies showing an ability to inhibit prostate cancer and breast cancer in rats and mice.2-3

A study involving 13 men with prostate cancer found that PSA doubling time (a measure of prostate cancer progression) increased in seven of ten men who consumed MCP for a year in comparison with pretreatment values,demonstrating a reduction in cancer progression.4

The theory behind the use of MCP for the prevention of metastasis involves the disruption of galectin-3, which encourages cancer cells to clump together and form new blood vessels.

Galectin-3 enables cells to recognize and interact with each other. The administration of pectin prevents the interaction of galectins, thereby reducing cancer cell adherence, aggregation, and migration.

Modified Citrus Pectin Has Detoxifying Qualities

Research shows modified citrus pectin also reduces the body's heavy metal burden.

In a study of healthy individuals, 15 grams of modified citrus pectin were taken daily for five days followed by 20 grams on the sixth day of the study. Twenty-four hour urine samples were collected and were analyzed for heavy metals.5

Urinary arsenic excretion increased by 130%, cadmium excretion increased by 150%, and lead by 560%. In a subsequent study of children with lead poisoning, 15 grams of MCP per day for one month resulted in a 161% average decease in blood lead levels.6

The Bottom Line

Metal toxicity and cancer may both benefit from modified citrus pectin and future research will undoubtedly uncover more uses for this remarkable fiber. In the meantime, feel free to work it into your own supplement regimen, if desired!


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  3. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Dec 18;94(24):1854-62. 
  4. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2003;6(4):301-4. 
  5. Phytother Res. 2006 Oct;20(10):859-64. 
  6. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;14(4):34-8.

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10 Tips for More Nutritious Food

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Trying to get the most nutrition out of your food? That's a really good idea in this day and age.

Below, we'll explain 10 simple ways so that you can squeeze more nutrients from common food items that are already in your kitchen and diet.

And don't worry - none of these "food hacks" require hours of work or an advanced science degree. They're just simple, research-based tips that just about anyone can implement at home. Ready?

1. Cook Your Tomatoes

Raw food isn't always more nutritious than cooked food. Tomato paste and tomato sauce, for example, contain more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

Cooking actually enhances the lycopene content.1

2. Chop Garlic and Leave it Standing for Ten Minutes

This helps to generate allicin, a cancer-fighting compound.2, 3 And if you dare, eat your garlic raw. Cooking literally destroys this beneficial compound!

3. Steam - But Never Boil - Fruits and Vegetables

Steaming, in certain cases, may enhance the nutrient content of certain foods (carrots, for example), while boiling destroys them.

For this reason, a steam basket is the best way to cook your favorite vegetables.

4. The Smaller the Fruit or Vegetable, The Healthier

As a general rule of thumb, smaller fruits and vegetables tend to be more nutritious than their larger counterparts.

One great example is cherry tomatoes. They easily beat other tomato varieties when it comes to their lycopene content.4

5. Add a Healthy Source of Fats to Your Salads

If you want to absorb the nutrients from your salad, add vegetable oil or avocado slices. According to research, this helps your body absorb beneficial nutrients, such as beta-carotene.5

6. Don’t Discard the Peels!

The peels of fruits and vegetables often contain more nutrients than the flesh itself. Onion peels, for example, contain more quercetin, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, than the flesh.6

Save onion peels to make vegetable broths. They're packed with nutrients!

7. Add Lemon Juice

Here’s a neat little trick: if you add lemon juice to green tea, it enhances the absorption of catechins, the beneficial antioxidants found in green tea.7

Lemon juice also helps to prevent avocados, apples, and bananas from browning.

8. Add Probiotics

Probiotics nourish your gut with beneficial bacteria which not only help the absorption of nutrients but convert them into disease-fighting compounds. An example is found in flax seeds.

Gut bacteria convert beneficial flax lignans into enterodiol and enterolactones, two compounds that fight hormone-related cancers.8,9

9. Don’t Buy Pulp Free Juices!

The pulp from fruit contains beneficial fiber and antioxidants. Orange pulp, for example, is a great source of heart-healthy naringin and hesperidin.10

10. Choose Purple Foods Often

Our favorite fruits and vegetables often come in different colors. For example, you’ll find white potatoes and purple potatoes, green kale and purple kale, and so forth. The purple color is a reflection of their anthocyanin-content.

Research shows purple potatoes contain more polyphenols than conventional kinds, and they’re less likely to increase blood sugar levels.11

Try them if you can find them at your local supermarket!


  1. Nutr Hosp. 2012 Sep-Oct;27(5):1542-6. 
  2. Molecules. 2014 Oct 31;19(11):17697-714. 
  3. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Feb 21;55(4):1280-8. 
  4. J Sci Food Agric. 2005 Sep; 85(12):2021-2026. 
  5. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6. 
  6. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2007 Feb;53(1):21-9. 
  7. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Sep;51(9):1152-62. 
  8. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;69(3):549-55. 
  9. J Med Food. 2013 Apr; 16(4): 357–360. 
  10. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2014 Aug;27(8):1104-13. 
  11. Food Funct. 2014 May;5(5):909-15. 

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