A few months back Angelo Songco, the owner of Sugarleaf (a wellness café and health food store) sent me an invite to a cancer talk. One thing led to another and, before I knew it, I was in correspondence with Edward Puno, Fuda Cancer Hospital coordinator for the Philippines.
Many things have been written about Fuda but I found two things most interesting: the healthy eating tips for both cancer and noncancer patients, and what he called a longevity porridge that supposedly has multiple health benefits.
Based on the e-mail sent to me by Edward, these are the healthy eating tips for both cancer and noncancer patients:
Maintain a healthy weight. Those who are overweight or obese have significantly higher tumor incidence than those with normal weight.
Red meat vs white meat vs processed meat. Eat red meat sparingly as this contributes toward incidence of multiple tumors. These would also include meat products such as sausages, salted meats, hams and processed products.
It is advised to choose white meat over red meat and processed meat. The recommended daily intake of protein is 1-1.5 g per kilogram of body weight.
Ensure proper choice and intake of oil and fat. According to research findings, we must avoid animal-based lard as compared to vegetable-based oils. In your diet, fat should account for less than 20-35 percent, saturated fatty acid less than 10 percent, and trans-fatty acid less than 3 percent.
Food such as walnuts and fish rich in the N-3 fatty acid can improve the quality of life, and enhance the effect of treatment, therefore benefiting tumor patients. The recommended daily intake of fat is 1-2 g per kilogram of body weight.
Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, mineral substances, antioxidants and dietary fiber. You are advised five half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Any of these are beneficial:
Chinese cabbage group: pakchoi, flowering cabbage, celery cabbage, purple flower stalk, and red flower stalk;
Kale group: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage mustard and turnip cabbage;
Aquatic vegetables—Vegetables that grow in ponds, wetlands, marshes, oceans and rivers. A good example is watercress;
Dark green and yellow fruits and vegetables contain the most phytochemicals.
Increase the intake of cereal. Whole grains should focus toward complex carbohydrates that include barley, wheat, rye, oat, rice, coarse rice, corn, broomcorn and millet, which are rich in fiber, micronutrients, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals have the capacity to suppress tumor growth effectively. Cereals should not be processed. It is advised to eat more coarse food grains.
Abandon unhealthy dietary habits. Avoid alcohol. Daily alcohol intake should be limited to less than 50 g for men and 25 g for women. Do not eat too many pickled foods, and control the use of salt and seasoning in dishes. Do not have food that is burnt. Eat less salted meat, bacon and grilled fish or meat.
Longevity Porridge—Puno sent me a ready-to-cook package of what they call Longevity Porridge at Fuda. I brought it to Dr. Liu Guo (herbal medicine, acupuncture and acupressure consultant) of Beijing Tong Ren Tang.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang was founded in 1669. Their products are sold in more than 40 countries including the Philippines.
Dr. Liu Guo’s translation of the Fuda recipe: Astragalus membranaceus/astragalus roots or huang qi (20 g) to strengthen stomach and spleen; red dates or hong zao (30 g) to calm the central nervous system; Lycii fructus/wolfberry fruit or gou qi zi (30 g) to nourish kidney and liver, improve eyesight; Coicis semen/coix seed/Job’s tears seed or yi yi ren
(20 g) to invigorate the spleen; Nelumbinis semen/lotus seed or lian zi rou (30 g) to nourish the heart; wild yam or huai shan (30 g) to lower blood sugar, blood pressure; Euryales semen/euryale seed or qian shi (30 g), which is a kidney tonic and strengthens the spleen.
Soak astragalus in water for 20 minutes.
Put the astragalus in enough water and boil for 15 minutes. Drain water. Wash.
Put the astragalus in a muslin bouquet garni bag.
Put the muslin bag back in a pot and add 2 cups of water and boil for another 20 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water to the astragalus and boil for 15 minutes.
Wash the coix seed, lotus seed, euryale seed and red dates and add to the astragalus.
Put the wild yam in a muslin bag and add it to boiling porridge.
Let boil then simmer for 30 minutes or until seeds are soft (I mashed the dates and took out the peel).
Add wolfberry fruit. Boil for 10 minutes.
Remove the muslin bags and serve.
You can also drink it. After boiling, strain it and divide the liquid in two. Drink one glass in the morning and the other in the evening. Do this 30 minutes after breakfast and dinner.
Best eaten or drunk once a week for optimal health.
This porridge is not for pregnant women. Consult Dr. Liu Guo before starting your longevity porridge regimen.
Puno quoted the hospital nutritionists. “In traditional Chinese medicine, the spleen and stomach are core organs of the body in charge of digestion, and production of red blood cells forming part of the immune system. Taking care of the spleen and stomach therefore is essential for good health. Porridge promotes longevity. It has anticancer qualities and controls metastasis and recurrence of cancer.”
I cooked the porridge myself and it didn’t taste too bad! It tasted healthy.
Longevity porridge ingredients are available at Beijing Tong Ren Tang, 103 José Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan City; tel. 4701805, 5715805.