The Grace O Foundation and Cedars-Sinai recently announced the first two of four awardees of funds for research on nutrition and the diseases of aging. The awards are part of a $300,000 research gift that the Grace O Foundation committed to support the Center for Integrated Research in Cancer and Lifestyle (CIRCL) at Cedars-Sinai last fall. Cedars-Sinai issued a request for application for studies on inflammation and the diseases of aging, and the role nutrition and lifestyle can play to prevent and/or minimize inflammatory diseases.
One of the studies receiving funds will examine how diet and lifestyle might mitigate the side effects of breast cancer treatments, while the second will study the impact of race and obesity on prostate cancer tumors and the health disparity experienced by Black men, who have a higher prostate cancer death rate than any other racial group in the United States.
The Grace O Foundation CIRCL Award research is a two- to three-year project that will explore answers to these questions and others, and underscores the Foundation’s and FoodTrients.com’s missions to educate the world about better health through optimal nutrition. The third and fourth research awardees will be announced later this year.
Previous research has shown that chronic inflammation is implicated in cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, in addition to some neurologic and gastrointestinal diseases. Metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that can cause stroke, diabetes, and heart-disease, has increased, but the symptoms (high sugar levels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) are not always apparent. Yet, because chronic inflammation can continue for a long time, it’s not easy to know if the chronic inflammation increases the risk of these ailments, or if it is a result of them.
Currently, the most effective way of preventing conditions related to chronic inflammation is to adopt a “healthy” lifestyle: maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and maximize sleep. As straightforward as this sounds, there is currently little consensus about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and how various lifestyle habits impact inflammation, cancer and other diseases. Some would argue that herbicides, pesticides, fillers, additives, and stabilizers from highly processed foods and meats can all contribute to inflammation in the body and that inflammation is the root cause of many chronic health problems and disease. Others would add that being mindful of food consumption is essential to healing cancer and other chronic health conditions.
More research is needed to understand the association between lifestyle, the mechanisms and processes associated with chronic inflammation, and how/when to best administer meaningful therapies for cancer and other diseases.
By funding these studies, the Grace O Foundation hopes to contribute to this much-needed research.
The Grace O Foundation, started by chef, food and community advocate, Grace O, is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and honoring diverse cuisine, food as medicine, and the healing foods from around the world through programs that educate, inspire, and have the potential to change and improve lives. Their mission is to research, explore and report on the role of food/nutrients in wellness, aging, and longevity, and to promote healthy, sustainable food and nutrition efforts, as well as supporting nutrition education, culinary training, and food advocacy programs, specifically for an aging population.