The Color of Prevention
When it comes to choosing a healthy diet, nature gives us colorful cues.
Research shows that the best foods for fighting cancer come in vibrant packages. Luscious red raspberries, brilliant orange peppers, leafy green vegetables and their colorful cousins are full of nutrients that support good cell functioning.
So how do these foods actually work to ward off cancer?
Many fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidants, which act as a health tonic for your cells. Oxidation - the work cells do when they burn food energy - creates a residue of stress. Antioxidants help mend that wear and tear, keeping cells strong and cancer-resistant.
Low in calories, these foods also help you maintain a healthy weight. As popular health writer Dr. Sanjay Gupta points out, when you fill up on flavor, you feel more satisfied. Studies reveal that eating well and watching your weight are 2 of the 4 vital steps we can take to prevent 2/3 of all cancers.
A healthful feast ... just follow your eyes
Shop your local farmer's market or green grocer for these summer favorites:
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
- Green, red, yellow and orange peppers
- Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and more
- Zucchini and other summer squash
- Fresh tomatoes in every variety and color
- Cabbage, radicchio, spinach and other greens
- Deep purple eggplant
- Red and golden beets
Crisp and fresh equals nutritious
Fruits and vegetables deliver their best nutrition when they're crisp, so avoid overcooking them. Remember, too, that nutrients are highest when vegetables and fruits are just picked, so eat them in their prime.
Want more colorful ideas about cancer prevention and a healthful diet? Check out the American Cancer Society's Great American Eat Right Cookbook. Try this recipe for Black Bean and Corn Salad as a cool side dish for August barbecues. And for a heaping helping of tips on how to eat well, visit the Great American Health Challenge.