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Five autumn foods that fight cancer with recipes included

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Autumn vegetables that fight cancer.

A nutrition expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is making it easy to remember five autumn foods we should all focus on that also help fight cancer. It's easy, because the foods are listed alphabetically and include recipes for bringing healthy fall vegetable dishes to the table.

That's not to say you can't add your own fruits and vegetables to the list. Eating a variety of colorful plant based foods has a variety of health benefits that are well documented.

Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, a senior nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, says fall is a great time to eat healthy because fruits and vegetables are at their nutritional peak during the autumn months. What that means is more bang for your buck. But it's also important to understand how to eat your fruits and vegetables so you're getting the maximum health benefits.

Here’s the ABCs

1. Apples confer multiple health benefits. Kennedy reminds us to eat the fruit with the skin intact. Apples have a variety of health benefits that include preventing throat, mouth, colon, lung and possibly breast cancer.

You also want to eat your apples raw, skipping the apple pie that is calorie and fat laden. Kennedy offers a healthy apple crisp recipe that can also help keep your diet on track during the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday.

2. Berries- specifically cranberries - should be incorporated into your diet.

Benzoic acid found in the delicious little berries is shown to thwart lung and colon cancer, and some forms of leukemia. Buy your cranberries fresh and freeze them to enjoy anytime. Fresh frozen cranberries can ensure the highest level of cancer protection. Make your own healthy cranberry-almond cereal mix that you can store in an air-tight container up to 6 months.

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3. Color is included on your autumn list of healthy foods. Examples include parsnips, beets and carrots (and no, carrot cake is not considered a vegetable option).

The cancer fighting properties of brightly colored vegetables come from antioxidants. Kennedy suggests you put as many colorful veggies on your plate as possible to boost cancer protection.

Adding beetroot to your hamburger is an option that can eliminate the body’s absorption of fat in beef. You can find a recipe for a warm roasted winter vegetable salad here.

4. Dark leafy vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli help fight cancer because they contain phytonutrients known as indoles. Kennedy explains people whose diet is high in green leafy veggies have lower incidence of lung, prostate, and stomach cancer.

Here’s a side dish that uses the green leafy top of beets to make a delicious braised salad.

5. Everything orange adds cancer fighting carotenoids to the diet. Examples include carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Carotenoids have been linked to the prevention of colon, prostate, breast, and lung cancer, Kennedy says.

Rather than limiting pumpkin to pies, try pumpkin soup or raviolis.

Cancer fighting foods can be consumed year round. Autumn is a perfect time for focusing on new recipes and foods to boost overall health and well-being. Try this Martha Stewart healthy roasted pumpkin soup that makes a tasty Thanksgiving or any day meal or appetizer. Pumpkin ravioli is also a great option.

Dana Farber News
November 15, 2012

Image credit: Morguefile