Autumn brings forth lots of great seasonal flavors and colors. But not only do these seasonal foods taste and look great, some of them actually fight against cancer. According to Stacy Kennedy, senior nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, many fruits and veggies are at their nutritional prime in the fall so it’s the perfect time to incorporate them into your diet. But knowing what to look for is key. Here are Kennedy’s ABCs of fall foods as well as some healthy (and tasty) recipes to prepare them.
1.“A” is for Apple . Studies suggest that eating at least one apple a day can help prevent throat, mouth, colon, lung and possibly breast cancer. Apples contain quercetin a nutrient that protects the cell’s DNA from getting damaged that could lead to the development of cancer. “The key is to eat them raw and with the skin on.” says Kennedy. “That’s where many of the nutrients are found.” She suggests skipping traditional apple pie that’s loaded with sugar and fat. For a healthy alternative, try this apple crisp recipe.
2.“B” is for berries…cranberries. Kennedy encourages her patients at Dana-Farber to eat cranberries all year-round. Cranberries contain benzoic acid, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of lung cancer, colon cancer, and some forms of leukemia. She recommends buying bags of fresh cranberries now, while they are in season and at their nutritional peak, and popping them in the freezer for later use. This will help ensure that the berries will provide the highest level of cancer protection whenever they’re used. Look beyond sugar-laden cranberry sauce and get a boost from this high-fiber mix.
3.“C” is for color. Just like the leaves on the trees, fall is a time for colorful vegetables like beets, carrots, and parsnips. They add a burst of color and taste. “The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of cancer fighting nutrients,” says Kennedy. Load dinner plates with as much colorful plant-based foods as you can. Kennedy suggests getting to the root of things with this roasted salad.
4.“D” is for dark leafy vegetables. “Kale is a top choice because it’s rich in phytonutrients called indoles, which stimulate liver detoxification and help fight cancer,” says Kennedy. Other members of the cruciferous family include broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Kennedy points out that people who have diets rich in these vegetables have been found to have lower incidences of lung, prostate, and stomach cancer. Use the leafy tops off of those colorful beets and try this side dish.
5. “E” is for everything orange. Pumpkins, squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes are all packed with a cancer-fighting nutrient called carotenoid. Kennedy says carotenoids have been linked to the prevention of colon, prostate, breast, and lung cancer. Kennedy stresses that pumpkin isn’t just for pies. She suggests eating it year round by adding it to soup, smoothies, pancake batter and even raviolis. Warm up with this tasty soup.
Kennedy says no matter the season, when searching for cancer-fighting foods look for colorful fruits and veggies. “Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to help lower your risk of cancer all year long.”
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