Sodium and Rinsed Canned Beans, Causes of Endometrial Cancer, Ghee

Q: Does rinsing canned beans help reduce their sodium content?
Q: What do we know about the causes of endometrial cancer?
Q: Is ghee healthier than butter?

Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Does rinsing canned beans help reduce their sodium content?

A: Yes. While dried beans are naturally very low in sodium (containing just 2 to 10 milligrams (mg) in a half-cup of cooked beans) canned varieties can be loaded with sodium. Some provide as much as 600 mg per half-cup, a quarter of the recommended daily limit. Draining canned beans in a sieve or colander and rinsing them well can help reduce the sodium up to 40 percent. To help cut sodium even more, look for canned beans labeled “No Added Salt.” Luckily, they are becoming much easier to find.

Q: What do we know about the causes of endometrial cancer?

A: Cancer of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is the most common invasive cancer of the reproductive system in American women. Risk is greater among women who have greater lifetime estrogen exposure, which can be impacted by earlier start or later end to menstruation and use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy. Being overweight or obese raises a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer as well, probably because extra body fat raises estrogen levels and levels of insulin and insulin-related growth factors, which seem to promote cancer cell growth. According to a landmark report from the American Institute for Cancer Research, each increase of five BMI units – about 25 to 30 pounds for most women – is linked with more than a 50 percent increase in risk of this cancer. So even if “ideal weight” seems unreachable, each step closer to a healthy weight will help. Beyond this, the AICR report notes that regular physical activity probably reduces risk of endometrial cancer. Start by meeting the call for 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, and try to move on to 60 minutes of moderate or 30 minutes of vigorous activity for even more protection and help with weight control. Some evidence suggests that limiting red meat, boosting vegetables (including cruciferous vegetables) and perhaps increasing dietary fiber will help. All these are steps that promote lower cancer risk in general, so don’t wait to get started.

Q: Is ghee healthier than butter?

A: Ghee, a fat traditionally used in India, is similar to clarified butter. It is made from salt-free butter that has had the water evaporated off and the milk solids removed. Despite the processing, ghee still has the same fat content of butter; it is saturated fat that is not considered heart-healthy. Occasionally you may see vegetable ghee, but it is generally not a healthy option either since it is usually made with either hydrogenated oil or palm oil (which is high in saturated fat). Although emulating many aspects of Indian cooking can yield health benefits – like the abundant and creative use of vegetables and legumes – it would be better to minimize use of ghee, replacing it with moderate amounts of a healthful plant-based oil.

Share.

About Author

Posts By 3FC
  • Jan

    Ghee is actually good for you. It protects the heart.

    In obesity it should generally be used sparingly. Where the obesity is caused by nervosity, it can be very helpful. It is also very purifying and helps the digestion.

    In fact, ghee is so purifying that is is used in purification therapies and in therapeutic quantities should be used under supervision of a qualified doctor.

  • Jan

    Vegetable ghee is definitely not healthy as is ghee produced in a continuous process. The latter is produced by mechanical means, e.g. centrifugion, and does not have the health benefits of traditionally produced ghee.