The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston, Massachusetts published a list of nine foods for cancer patients—foods that can make them feel better. Among them are two foods that offer a myriad of other health benefits for both the sick and the healthy. Ginger and watermelon share the spotlight with red hot chili peppers, cloves, ginseng, apples, dark chocolate, Brazil nuts, and smoothies.
Ginger and watermelon are two of the world’s most well tolerated foods. Ginger has long been used in Eastern traditional medicine for relief from diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, arthritis, and joint and muscle pain. In cancer patients, ginger is primarily used to relieve nausea related to chemotherapy. However, several studies suggest that compounds found in ginger extract have anti-inflammatory effects, so consuming ginger may reduce pain. Ginger is available as tea, in powder form, in tablets, in capsules, and in candied form. It is also available in sodas.
It is important to note that some ginger ale sodas do not contain much ginger and some contain artificial flavoring in them rather than ginger. This means, it’s best to read labels carefully. A few ginger ales do contain real ginger and a hefty amount to boot. Reeds Original Ginger Brew has an impressive 17 grams of fresh ginger per 12 fluid oz. and Hansen’s Ginger Ale contains a good amount of fresh ginger extracts.
Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it is an excellent source of fluids. It is a top choice for patients with diarrhea (which causes dehydration) and patients on a fiber-restricted diet. In addition, watermelon has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate, cervical, digestive tract, lung, and other cancers, as well as a lower incidence of heart attack. Some studies even suggest that watermelon may help slow bone loss.
Combine watermelon and ginger and you have a powerful preventative potion and a delicious dish that has the ability to relieve some of the most uncomfortable side effects and symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment. A number of popular watermelon and ginger concoctions exist, but one was so popular that it made an appearance on Bravo’s Top Chef (Season 10, Episode 10) as the Quickfire Challenge. The recipe includes mint, which was found to be useful in controlling nausea, upset stomach, and inflammation, as well as for stomach pain relief and improving digestion.
6 pounds yellow or red seedless watermelon, diced (approximately 8-10 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup Canada Dry ginger ale
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
4 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (fruity)
8 teaspoon crumbled feta or Greek yogurt
1. Combine 1 cup of the watermelon with mint in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Blend remaining watermelon, lemon juice, ginger ale, and ginger in a blender until smooth.
3. Let rest for 1 hour and strain soup.
4. Chill and serve (ice-cold) garnished with the reserved watermelon, mint and crumbled feta or a generous swirl of Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Time: Less than 2 hours
Food by Bravo