In 2001, an anticancer drug hailed ‘a miracle’ was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Department (FDA). This drug is called Gleevec.
Gleevec seems to be able to arrest the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) needed for cancer cell growth. Did you know that herbs and spices rich in fatty acids of the terpene family also act along the same lines as Gleevec?
Terpenes seem to stimulate cancer cell death (apoptosis) thereby limiting cancer cell growth, containing tumours. Armed with this knowledge, lets look at preparing a dish that is low in glycaemic index and rich in herbs.
The following recipe is prepared with couscous as the principal ingredient. Couscous has a glycaemic index of 61 and glycaemic load of 8.7. The glycaemic index of a food item measures how it affects your blood glucose level (low glycaemic index <55, 56<moderate glycaemic index<69, high glycaemic index >70). You can think of this as a number which represents the glycaemic/glucose ‘potency’.
In this instant, couscous is considered a moderately high glycaemic index food. Adding lemon and lime to couscous will reduce the glycaemic index of the meal as the acidity of these citrus will reduce the rate at which food goes into the small intestine from the stomach, thus lowering the rate of rise of blood sugar level even more. Achieving a flatter blood sugar response long term is the mainstay for management of insulin resistance. Studies have shown that frequently choosing low glycaemic index and glycaemic load food items in one’s diet will enhance insulin sensitivity and even prevent some cancers (preliminary studies seem to indicate that high insulin levels are associated with some tumours)!
Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Its absorption increases a thousand fold by adding olive oil and pepper in the recipe. The following is a low glycaemic index, ‘anti-inflammatory’ and terpene- rich meal. Enjoy!
Cherry tomatoes, ½ punnet
Chickpeas, 1cup (soaked, boiled and drained)
Cold pressed olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Mint, ½ a bunch
Parsley, ½ a bunch
Coriander, ½ a bunch
Lemon, ½ whole
Lime, ½ whole
Sugar, 1 teaspoon
Turmeric, 1 teaspoon
Put couscous in a bowl, pour boiling water and then add chicken stock and turmeric and set aside for 10 minutes. When liquid has been absorbed, separate couscous grains with a folk.
Add chick peas, tomatoes, mint, parsley, coriander, lemon, lime, sugar, pepper and cold pressed olive oil. Mix well and serve.
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G. A. Santisteban, J. T. Ely, E. E. Hamel, et al., ‘Glycaemic modulation of tumour tolerance in a mouse model of breast cancer’ Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 132(3), 1985: 1174-9.
E. Weiderpass, G. Gridley, I. Persson, O. Nyren, A. Ekbom, H. O. Adami, ‘Risk of endometrial and breast cancer in patients with diabetes mellitus’ International Journal of Cancer, 71(3), 1997: 360-63.
C. A. Plouzek, H.P. Ciolino, R. Clarke, G. C. Yeh, ‘Inhibition of P-glycoprotein activity and reversal of multidrug resistance in vitro by rosemary extract’ European Journal of Cancer, 35(10), 1999:1541-5.