Some foods fight cancer and some don’t. There are four key things to keep in mind when you are choosing foods to help build up your body to help fight cancer. For national cancer prevention month, I would like to share these four things to keep in mind. Below I will also share some recipes I stand by.
- Think whole plant foods. These are foods with no or minimal processing because they contain more nutrition and fiber — fiber is thought to be cancer preventative.
- Keep a rainbow on your plate. Think of the colors of the rainbow like red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple when choosing your foods. These foods contain the most nutrition. A few examples are reds for tomatoes or radishes, orange for carrots or bell peppers, yellow for squash or turmeric, greens for broccoli and arugula, purple for beets and raspberries or even blues for blueberries and even blue corn to name a few.
- Think flavors. Differences in flavors emphasize the special combinations of phytochemicals that provide health properties in plants. Some great examples are sweet orange or a pungent kale. Research shows that these flavorful substances offer many health benefits, support cardiovascular function, and also fight cancer.
- Chemistry of food benefits our body. When looking at the following recipes for foods that help fight cancer, keep in mind the above qualities affect our body’s complex biochemistry. Each of the trillions of cells in our body interacts with nutrients and phytochemicals in a complex system of biochemistry. This biochemistry affects DNA stability, inflammation, cell division, cell repair and even cell death, to prevent cancer.
Take advantage of the many whole food, colorful and flavorful plant-based foods that positively affect our cells and can lower risk for cancer. Take a look at the photo collage of recipes below for ideas and inspiration.
—Andrew Woodward, MS, RD, CSO, is an oncology nutritionist at Loma Linda University Cancer Center.