April marks National Cancer Control Month, a time to renew our efforts to control cancer at all stages—prevention, detection and treatment. Focus on modifiable lifestyle choices such as quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity, and eating a healthful diet. The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) recommends we fill two-thirds of our plates with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
While no single food can eliminate cancer, a balanced and varied diet can help us control cancer. Fruits and vegetables supply beneficial nutrients, directly helping our bodies fight cancer; without added ingredients, they also indirectly reduce our cancer risk by helping us maintain a healthy weight. Whole grains and legumes are packed with fiber, which keeps us feeling satisfied and energized, but has also been shown to be effective in reducing risk of developing some types of cancer.
Choose colorful fruits and vegetables that are fresh, frozen, canned or dried without added sugar, salt or fat; your best bets are apples, berries, dark leafy greens and cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) vegetables. Try oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, brown rice and so many more for your whole grains. And think about having beans—black, kidney or your own favorite—available to easily toss in salads or soups.
Remember the rainbow as you shop and make your cart colorful! Try to include these AICR top cancer-controlling foods more often:
- Red — strawberries, raspberries, apples
- Blue — blueberries
- Green — broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, romaine, kale, spinach
- White — cauliflower, garlic
- Brown — whole wheat, oats, quinoa, flaxseed, beans, lentils
Although we can never fully eliminate our risk of developing cancer, and no one food can prevent cancer, by following the recommendation of making healthful food choices more frequently, working to eliminate tobacco, lowering alcohol consumption, and increasing our physical activity, we are taking charge. Follow nature’s beautiful colors and find yourself down the path to controlling cancer.
All you need:
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
All you do:
1. Place Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket and steam in a large saucepan over 1 inch of boiling water until tender, 7-8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the sprouts to the dressing; toss to coat.
Nutrition per 1 serving: 108 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 188 mg sodium, 405 mg potassium, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein
All you need:
2 ¼ cups water, divided
1 ½ cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
1 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup quinoa
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
All you do:
1. Combine 2 cups water in a medium saucepan with rhubarb, strawberries, quinoa, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in ½ cup sugar and lemon zest. Whisk cornstarch with the remaining ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Stir into the quinoa mixture, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
2. Remove from heat. Divide the pudding among 6 bowls. Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
3. Just before serving, combine yogurt, vanilla and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small
bowl. Top each serving with a generous dollop of the vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries, if desired.
Nutrition per 1 serving: 151 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 43 mg sodium, 189 mg potassium, 32 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 19 g sugars, 5 g protein