Eight Cancer Fighting Foods for the Holidays
With Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, you and your family are probably planning what will be served at your holiday celebrations. When deciding what dish you are going to bring, consider including one or more of these eight cancer-fighting superfoods!
All of the cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, kale and cauliflower contain cancer-fighting agents. However, broccoli is the only cruciferous veggie that contains high levels of sulforaphane, which is a compound that boosts the body’s protective cells substantially and stimulates detoxifying enzymes that help to remove cancer-causing chemicals.
Phytochemicals are what give berries their colorful hues, but they’re good for more than just looks. These phytochemicals stimulate the immune system and help to prevent damage to DNA. Berries also contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, which boost the immune system and stop the creation of damaging free radicals.
Often found in Indian Curries, this orange-colored spice contains curcumin. The American Cancer Society suggests that curcumin can inhibit some types of cancer cells, slowing the spread of cancer or shrinking tumors.
Walnuts contain phytosterols, which have been found to block estrogen receptors, particularly in breast cancer cells, slowing the growth of cancer cells.
Garlic contains phytochemicals that have been found to stop the formation of carcinogens that form in the stomach after consuming nitrates. This is helpful for fighting stomach and colon cancer in particular.
Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that is effective in guarding DNA in your cells from damage, which can lead to cancer.
Kale, spinach and other leafy green vegetables are a good source of beta-carotene and lutein, antioxidants that limit the growth of cancer cells.
Avocados have several cancer-fighting benefits. They are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fat. Studies show oleic acid, the primary fat in avocados, provides significant protection against breast cancer. This superfood also contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps the liver detoxify the body more effectively.
“The holidays and cancer-fighting foods may not seem to go hand-in-hand, but there are actually a lot of colorful foods that can be dressed up to be both festive and delicious, while still being healthy,” says Beth Beckett, Oncology Dietitian at the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center. “Bright colors in produce such as green, red and yellow often signal cancer-fighting antioxidants.”
Still not sure what to make for your holiday celebration? Check out our recipes for Cranberry Pistachio Granola Bar Squares or Kale Apple Salad. For all our oncology dietitian-approved recipes, click here.