5 Cancer-Fighting Foods You Can Sneak Into Your Holiday Recipes


There are many wonderful aspects of the holiday season, way too many to list here. But for many of us, one of the best parts, hands-down, has to be eating our fill of deliciousness. Whether it’s brie bites, buttered mashed potatoes, herb-crusted pork tenderloin, frosted sugar cookies, or all of the above—we can always count on this time of year to usher in a higher-than-normal level of tastiness. And why wouldn’t we take full advantage of it?

So it’s probably safe to assume that when enjoying all of these delectable dishes, getting a balanced amount of essential vitamins and nutrients isn’t your top priority. Believe it or not, though, there is a way you can have your holiday cake, and eat it, too. That means instead of skipping out on all the festive, flavorful foods, you can add a nutritional boost to support overall health—and prevent cancer while you’re at it.

While cancer prevention includes more than just eating a healthy diet, there is a surprising connection between food and cancer. And this connection can go one of two ways, cancer-causing or cancer-fighting. That’s an easy choice, right?

However, before you go changing your entire holiday menu in the name of cancer prevention, there’s a much easier option—simply add these 5 cancer-fighting foods to your holiday dishes:  

1.    Walnuts

Walnuts may be one of the most nutritious nuts on the market. They contain almost twice the amount of antioxidants as other nuts, and thanks to their high nutritional value, they can help fight heart disease, too. Fatty acids and polyphenols found in walnuts are known to help prevent colorectal cancer and prostate cancer, respectively.

There have also been several studies suggesting walnuts may help suppress cancer growth in the breasts and kidneys as well. And fun fact, roasting walnuts makes it easier for the body to absorb these cancer-fighting nutrients. Plus, they’re a great addition in almost anything sweet or savory.

Recipe Ideas: Dark Chocolate Walnut Cookies, Cranberry Walnut Wild Rice Salad, Walnut Snowball Cookies

2.    Blueberries

Blueberries may be one of the most famous cancer-fighting foods on the market, and for good reason. They have developed this reputation for one simple reason; they have the highest total antioxidant capacity of any other food. We repeat: the highest antioxidant capacity.

In particular, blueberries are extremely rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant directly linked to hindering the growth of various cancer cells. What’s more, they’re scrumptious and extremely versatile (pancakes, muffins, scones—what can’t they do?).

Recipe Ideas: Blueberry Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins, Frozen Blueberry Bites, Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Cups, Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Blueberries

3.    Artichokes

Like walnuts, artichokes are rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant know to attack breast and colorectal cancer cells. While polyphenols cannot be used to treat cancer, they may be beneficial for preventing cancer cell growth in the first place.

They also contain a significant amount of folate, a vitamin thought to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. So if you’re looking for a reason—or many—to indulge in spinach and artichoke dip this winter, look no further.

Recipe Ideas: Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Bites, Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms, Spinach, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Quiche, Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

4.    Brussels Sprouts (and other cruciferous veggies)

Brussels sprouts may get a bad rap for increasing flatulence, but the high concentration of antioxidants found in this cruciferous vegetable may make them worth a bit of fiber-induced gas. Indoles and isothiocyanates are found in many cruciferous vegetables and are known to inhibit tumor formation in the lungs, colon, liver, breasts and bladder.

Furthermore, consuming Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables has been linked to preventing lung, breast and prostate cancers. So get your roasting pan, sautéing skillet or casserole dish out, you’ll want to have this veggie accompany every main dish.

Recipe Ideas: Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Skillet, Bang Bang Brussels Sprouts, Garlicky Bacon ‘n Brussels Sprouts Dip

5.    Chia Seeds

Packed in these tiny little seeds is a whopper of nutrients, including antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. While the rich source of fiber is busy promoting digestive health and reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, all of those antioxidants are working to prevent lung and prostate cancer.

Chia seeds are relatively flavorless and can easily be added to many kinds of dishes, making them one of the most versatile foods on this list. This holiday season, chia-seed everything.

Recipe Ideas: Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding, Seedy Oat Crackers, Flaxseed-Chia Seed Pancakes, Sticky Bun Chia Seed Pudding

Put a Ho-Ho-Hold On Cancer

While diet alone can’t guarantee that you stay cancer free, eating foods rich in antioxidants can help in the fight against oxidation, a process that produces cancer-causing free radical cells. For healthy recipes containing your favorite antioxidant-rich foods, visit Everyday Wellness – GMC’s virtual hub for all things health. 

In the event that you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you can count on the experts at GMC's Center for Cancer Care. With several convenient locations, including  GMC Health Park-Hamilton Mill, you can receive nationally recognized cancer care, in a location that's close to home.

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