While wrapping up production for her award-winning talk show last spring, Queen Latifah learned some disturbing news. Her mom, 64-year-old Rita Owens, was diagnosed scleroderma (also known as systemic sclerosis), an incurable autoimmune disease that affects the connective tissue in the body. As a result, the “Queen Latifah Show” host decided to personally take care of her mother full time.
“I wasn’t going to do the show unless she came here,” Latifah told People. “I knew she was dealing with her health issues sometimes and I would not be able to get to her as easily.”
She went on to say that she couldn’t imagine anyone else caring for her mother. “Anyone who has a job and then has a family member at home who is ill, it’s 24 hours. You have to be there. They need you,” the 44-year-old entertainer said. “I try to be as in the moment and as present as possible. And then I try to get some sleep and go to work and be present there and then go home and be present there.”
In Mama Owen’s case, the disease has caused blood pressure and scar tissue build up in her lungs, making it often difficult to breathe. “It’s not a day or night that she doesn’t peek her head in my room and make sure I’m okay,” Lafiah’s mother told the magazine. “If it’s medical she’ll go in and grill the doctors and make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do.”
“She sacrifices her time, her resources,” the former high school teacher added. “She genuinely loves me and I know that.”
In related Queen news, she will star in and executive produce a Bessie Smith biopic for HBO. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming film will revolve “around iconic blues singer Smith as she overcomes the challenges of her tempestuous personal life to become one of the most acclaimed performers and recording artists of the 1920s and ’30s, to be known forevermore as the ‘Empress of the Blues.'”
Pariah’s Dee Rees will serve as scriptwriter and director.
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The Good Fight: Delicious Foods That Help Prevent Breast Cancer
1. Foods To Fight Cancer
While many causes of cancer are environmental--what we puff voluntarily (ie. tobacco), involuntarily (hazardous chemicals and fumes), or perhaps even excessive sun exposure, many of them are not. What we eat or don’t eat can also play a significant role. Important fact: Nothing in our diet can single handedly prevent or cure cancer, however these foods seemingly carry some cancer-protective properties. So eat up!
Red wine in particular. Due to it’s high concentration of the chemical resveratrol from the grape skin, a stemmed glass of vino is not only anti-cancer, but pro-heart. However, before you fill your glass to the rim, know that moderation is key. Over-consumption of alcohol can be associated with liver, breast and stomach cancers. So find the balance sis. Let’s say...one glass a day.
Bring on the leafy green vegetables, asparagus, beans, peas and lentils! Foods that are generally high in folate can pack some serious cancer-preventive properties thanks to the fact that folate and the related folic acid (or vitamin B9), is part of the vitamin B-complex family. Side salad anyone?
Get it crackin’ lady. Walnuts contain many helpful nutrients and healthy omega-3 fatty acids- which help your body fight inflammation. Research also suggests that walnuts may actually slow the growth of breast cancer tumors, therefore this nut could play a role in breast cancer management even after diagnosis.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Kin to the mustard or cabbage family: cabbage, broccoli, kale brussels sprouts and collards are all great sources of anti-cancer properties such as diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and the element selenium. But here’s the twist. The punch comes with the crunch: The more you chew the better it is for you since for proper release of these chemicals these veggies need to be fully broken down.
6. Ginger & Turmeric
Curry dishes on deck. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can slow cancer growth, while turmeric, the spice that forms the base of most curries, is from a root in the ginger family. The active ingredient curcumin has shown that it could play a role in helping fight breast cancer tumors when combined with certain drug based therapies. Plus, it also may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could protect your overall health.
More potent than it’s popular oil based form, ground flaxseeds include a component called lignans, which may actually decrease cancer growth. You can buy ground flaxseed or grind the seeds yourself using a coffee grinder. Then, sprinkle the ground flaxseed on salads, in smoothies or even bake them in muffins. Yum!
8. Green Tea
Green tea and white tea both contain catechins- extracts that seem to show some benefit in breast cancer prevention. Research suggests that green tea is also particularly effective at protecting your cells against environmental exposures that might increase the risk for cancer. However, you are going to have to down a lot of tea (think four or more cups a day) to achieve this effect. P.S. Sugary green tea drinks don’t count.
Looking for a great alternative to red meat that is packed with Vitamin D and Omega-3‘s? Fish oil and straight fish is your best bet when it comes to cancer prevention. Fish is also a smart lean protein source. So opt for salmon, mackerel, sardines, sea bass and tuna as cancer preventive diet choices.
Yes, chocolate (in moderation) can be healthy. That is, provided the cocoa-to-candy ratio remains high. So when cravings creep in reach for a dark chocolate bar with at least 70-percent cocoa (often spelled cacao). The closer to its bitter bean state the better. There is a class of chemicals in cocoa called catechins (also found in tea), that seem to offer protection against heart disease, stroke and you guessed it-- cancer.
If you see the word "berry," then eat it--especially since they are extremely healthy and power-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can aid cancer prevention. Most berries contain ellagic acid and other polyphenol antioxidants that inhibit tumor growth, however recent research suggests that blueberries, in particular, play a significant role in breast cancer management by enhancing the effect of the often prescribed drug tamoxifen (used primarily to fight off breast cancer cells).