The holiday season goes hand-in-hand with a few things, including colder weather and gatherings with family and friends, not to mention loads of food. When selecting what dish you will bring to your next holiday party, consider selecting a recipe that incorporates one of these eight cancer-fighting superfoods!
All cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, kale and cabbage, contain cancer-fighting agents. But of the cruciferous veggies, broccoli is the only one that contains high levels of sulforaphane, a compound that substantially boosts the body’s protective cells and stimulates detoxifying enzymes that helps remove cancer-causing chemicals.
Raw broccoli provides higher amounts of sulforaphane, so add the green superfood to veggies trays. Or, bring broccoli to life at your next holiday gathering by adding it to a casserole, salad or stuffing!
The same phytochemicals that give berries their beautiful hues provide cancer-fighting benefits. These phytochemicals stimulate the immune system and help prevent damage to our DNA. In addition, berries contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, which boost the immune system and halt the creation of damaging free radicals.
Cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are all great choices when looking for fruits to incorporate into cobblers, pies and fruit platters. Cranberries are also a great go-to choice and are currently in season. Create a fresh cranberry sauce, cranberry relish or cranberry-apple crisp for a tasty dish that will also pack a cancer-fighting punch.
A staple in Indian curries, turmeric is an orange-colored spice that contains curcumin. The American Cancer Society has suggested that curcumin can inhibit some types of cancer cells, slowing the spread of cancer or shrinking tumors.
The taste of turmeric isn’t overpowering, making it easy to incorporate into even traditional recipes. Oven-roasted cauliflower is wonderful with turmeric and ginger sprinkled on top, or you can add it to your go-to chicken seasoning before you begin cooking.
With the cancer-fighting properties found in walnuts, you’re going to want to break out your nutcracker! Walnuts contain phytosterols, which have been found to block estrogen receptors, particularly in breast cancer cells, slowing cancer cell growth.
Walnuts are such a diverse food, incorporating them into your holiday feast shouldn’t be a difficult task. Walnuts are a great addition to practically any cookie or pie, and are even a great dessert on their own when lightly glazed with maple syrup. Walnuts can even be used instead of fried onions to give green bean casserole a crunchy top!
Garlic contains phytochemicals that have been found to stop the formation of carcinogens that form in the stomach after consuming nitrates. This is particularly beneficial for fighting stomach and colon cancers.
With its many uses, it is likely you are already planning to incorporate this pungent bulb into a holiday dish. Crushing garlic helps release the beneficial enzymes, so break apart a clove, then smash it lightly with the flat of a knife and your hand. For a super healthy fix, try making garlic-roasted kale or brussel sprouts.
Tomatoes contain a high concentration of lycopene, an effective antioxidant that can help guard the DNA in your cells from damage, which can lead to cancer.
In addition to adding tomatoes to a veggie platter, baked Parmesan tomatoes or bruschetta are two easy-to-make appetizers sure to be a hit at your next gathering. And if you are looking to serve tomatoes as a main dish, try a warm tomato bisque soup!
7. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are a good source of beta-carotene and lutein – two antioxidants that limit the growth of cancer cells.
While creamed spinach dishes are always a hit at parties, stick to a more basic recipe that won’t mask the benefits of the leafy greens in cheese and cream. Garlic sautéed spinach or mini spinach and mushroom quiche are two tasty options! For a festive look, serve a strawberry-spinach salad.
Avocados are rich in a number of antioxidants and phytochemicals, not to mention vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fat. In fact, oleic acid, the primary fat found in avocados, has been found to provide significant protection against breast cancer. Avocados also contain glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps the liver more effectively detoxify the body.
Thinking beyond classic guacamole dip, avocados can be used to substitute half the amount of butter in your recipe. This substitution will not just decrease the calories of your baked goods, but will also yield softer, chewier treats.
Cancer-Fighting Nutrition with John Stoddard Dietitians
With so much information about the best foods and supplements to take to fight and fend off cancer, determining what information is actually fact can be overwhelming. The registered oncology specialist dietitian at John Stoddard Cancer Center can help. Our dietician focuses on assessing the individual diet and nutritional needs of each patient to help formulate a plan that will support your fight against cancer. Click here to learn more about our dietitians, the services they offer and how proper nutrition can help you!
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