I am trying to lift the awareness of the cancer fighting foods on the holiday table.
The President’s Panel on Cancer May 2010 reports that 13 million more people will have cancer and states that our children are most susceptible to the accumulated toxins in the environment. I am launching a program to educate people on what to eat by learning about the phytochemicals in foods that starve cancer cells and how to prepare foods to preserve nutrients.
Cancer-fighting foods will be on the menu this holiday season. Know what to look for and how to prepare them. Many foods are at their nutritional peak now, so it’s important to incorporate them into a healthy diet to nourish and boost the body’s many systems for the winter. Cancer research suggests eating a rainbow plant-based diet throughout the year to reduce the risk of cancer.
The Wellness Answers Organization – The Holistic Approach to Cancer Support & Wellness is launching a series of “Combating Cancer on Your Fork” in home cooking demonstrations and monthly Saturday workshops to learn how to stock a cancer fighting pantry and how to prepare meals to maximize essential nutrients and the phytochemicals that are naturally found in certain foods to combat cancer.
For example, pumpkin isn’t just for pie. Pumpkins are packed with cancer-fighting nutrients called carotenoids. Carotenoids have been linked to the prevention of colon, prostate, breast and lung cancer. Pumpkin seeds also support brain health; try keeping them within reach along with almonds and walnuts for students to snack on.
When cooking, choose sweet or “pie” pumpkins. Put pumpkin in soup, raviolis, muffins and bread. Other orange foods that are rich in carotenoids include sweet potatoes, carrots and acorn and butternut squash. Farm stands are filled to overflowing right now with a variety of nuts, pumpkins and winter squash. Take a Sunday drive to load up with lots of wellness goodness.
One apple a day may help prevent cancers of the throat, mouth, colon, lung and, possibly, breast. Besides being crisp, sweet, and juicy, apples contain quercetin — a nutrient that protects the cell’s DNA from damage that could lead to the development of cancer. During the holidays we have a lot of opportunities to eat apples. But watch out for apple pie. It may be a favorite, but an apple’s cancer-fighting potential is lessened when it is peeled and then combined with extra sugar and fat. By sticking to whole apples (cooked or raw) and making sure to eat the skin whenever possible, that’s the best source of nutrients. Spreading with almond or walnut butters is a step up for cancer fighting vegan omega 3, too. Add a little cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar.
Cranberries are plentiful during the holidays. They are found in cranberry sauce, dressing, and some favorite breads and desserts. They are newly harvested and at their peak this time of year, and filled with their cancer-fighting nutrients; benzoic acid is strongest. Research suggests that the phytochemicals can inhibit the growth of lung cancer, colon cancer and some forms of leukemia by cutting off the proteins needed for cancer cells to thrive and without disturbing healthy cells. Unfiltered natural cranberry juice combined with orange juice is a good way to begin the day and again later in the day is beneficial to assist the body to combat the daily toxins from the environment and free radical damage.
Think of cranberries as a year-round favorite. The Wellness Answers Organization suggests buying them now, while they are at their nutritional best, and popping them in the freezer for later. This ensures getting the highest level of cancer protection all year long.
Look for color. The key to finding cancer-fighting foods is to look for a lot of color. The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of nutrients. So while shopping at the market, look for colorful produce such as pomegranates, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers and Swiss chard. Buy lots of citrus, too. Squeeze, zest, and add to drinking water – the way the Latin and Mediterranean countries do.
SANDRA WHITE HORNSBY