With the first signs of crisp morning air and just a hint of leaves changing color here in the North Eastern US, I give my Anti-Cancer Kitchen permission to once again delve into nourishing soups, stews and roasted meals.
In doing so, it’s the little things that count to turn an arsenal of nutritious ingredients into a lip-smacking taste sensation. This is where the culinary as well as cancer-fighting medicinal properties of herbs get center stage. Ranging from fresh to dry, oils to essences, the uses and varieties of herbs seem endless.
ROSEMARY in particular, is a true cancer-fighting herb with a variety of functions that is as versatile as it is beneficial to your health. If you want to know why it ought to be a staple in your Anti-Cancer Kitchen too, read on.
Research in the field of nutritional epigenetics has revealed that our body has both cancer-promoting as well as cancer-inhibiting genes that are either dormant or activated depending, to a degree, on the environment we create through our nutritional choices. Researchers discovered one such gene, called GCNT-3 that acts as an anti-tumor agent.
Rosemary helps to boost the body’s GCNT-3 production, therefore playing a part in preventing tumor growth and effectively reducing the risk of certain cancers.
Various studies have also revealed rosemary’s potential to improve blood sugar balance, an ever-important factor for us cancer survivors.
When consuming rosemary, a certain pathway, called AMP kinase, is activated that has been found to regulate insulin production and thus keep blood sugar levels within a normal range, while as an added benefit help lower cholesterol.
That not being all, take a look at the other impressive list of health-enhancing functions of this hardy, pine-like herb, actually a member of the mint family, that is such a prolific grower I have seen it serve as hedges in San Diego:
- Potent anti-oxidant with the main one, rosmarinic acid, having been shown to reduce the body’s response to inflammation, while others are being studied for use as natural food preservatives.
- Flavonoids appear to stimulate the immune system, increase circulation and act as a digestive aid.
- Great source of iron to support red blood cell function as well as calcium for bone and muscle health.
- Acts as a diuretic, helping to flush the body of unwanted toxins, particularly in the liver.
- Shown to prevent antibacterial infections, particularly staph infections and ulcer growth.
- An ancient natural remedy for stress and anxiety, the use of rosemary can significantly improve a person’s mental health, reducing the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone the body should use sparingly and only when needing to respond to an immediate crisis.
- Shown to increase blood flow to the brain helping with memory retention and concentration, which can be particularly helpful if suffering from the fogginess of chemo brain.
- Used for centuries in hair and skin beauty products helping to promote hair growth as well as decrease hair loss, particularly when rosemary oil is massaged into the scalp which seems to stimulate hair follicles to grow. A worthwhile strategy to consider post chemo hair loss.
- Rosemary tea has been shown to buffer excessive stomach acid while also serving as an aspirin alternative to treat headaches. Try steeping 3 tablespoons dried or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary in 1 cup just-boiled water, strain after 10 minutes. Sweeten with a little honey if desired.
So whether your reason for use is to enhance your beauty regimen, flavor food, or simply to reap all the amazing health benefits, rosemary is a must-use herb essential in your Anti-Cancer Kitchen. Fresh or dried is adds a deliciously green foresty flavor that does not diminish during cooking, to meat protein dishes, soups, stews, breads, seasoned olive oil and vinegar blends or even savory cookies.
This flavorful and quick to prepare chicken with lemon and rosemary dish will soon become your go-to recipe for a healthy and nourishing meal.
Lemony Rosemary Baked Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 organic lemon
2 T rosemary, dried plus 3 sprigs fresh
2 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon celtic sea or Himalayan salt (or to taste) and
4-6 swirls with black pepper mill (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground paprika
- Add the chicken, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, rosemary, paprika and garlic in a shallow glass casserole dish small enough to coat the chicken. Allow mixture to marinate for an 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lightly coat a baking dish with non-stick Coconut Oil cooking spray. Pour the chicken and marinade into the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and arrange rosemary sprigs on top, reserving a few needles as garnish.
- Bake the chicken 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Delicious served with a fresh green salad and roasted asparagus.
Adapted from Monica Bravo of Bravo for Paleo
Bravo, M. (2014, July 09). Lemon Rosemary Chicken Recipe – Bravo For Paleo. Retrieved from http://bravoforpaleo.com/2014/07/09/lemon-rosemary-chicken-recipe/
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González-Vallinas, M., Molina, S., & Vicente, G. (2014, June 3). Expression of microRNA-15b and the glycosyltransferase GCNT3 correlates with antitumor efficacy of Rosemary diterpenes in colon and pancreatic cancer. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24892299
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