3 Superpower Cancer Fighting Foods

It's the mantra of mothers everywhere: greens are good for you! As it turns out, mom was right (as usual). But how important can eating well really be? The answer: very important. Like, imperative. Certain foods have vital nutrients that keep us going strong -- some super foods have even been shown to fight or help prevent cancer. This may be a disappointment for those of us who love cookies, chips and ice cream but don't moan and groan yet. You don't have to eat a bowl of plain, raw veggies to absorb the powers of these food-superheroes. Even if you aren't a fan of fruits and veggies, they can be delectable if they're in a good recipe. Without further ado, here are 3 of our favorite cancer-fighting super foods with quick, easy recipes that will keep you wanting more.

 

Broccoli

Packed with oodles of nutrients, broccoli is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, period, and it is ultra beneficial for those who want to fight off cancer. It contains high levels of sulforaphane, an arch-nemesis of cancer. Our Broccoli Quinoa Casserole packs a double punch - quinoa contains beneficial polyphenols which have demonstrated anti-cancer activity in pre-clinical studies. 

 

Best Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
Serves 6

broccoli-casserolePhoto by Stefani19

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup French-fried onions
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup French-fried onions
  1.  Soak quinoa in a bowl full of water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse several times.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  3. In a saucepan, bring quinoa, water, olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender (about 20 minutes). 
  4. Steam broccoli until tender, approximately 2-4 minutes. 
  5. Stir broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup French-fried onions, sour cream, and lemon pepper into cooked quinoa. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spoon quinoa mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish.
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven until heated through, approximately 10 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup French-fried onions and bake until lightly browned, approximately 5 more minutes. 

 

Beets

Beets have gotten a weird reputation over the years, but these earthy, sweet, red root veggies are yummy and ridiculously healthy. This under-rated super food can help to flush toxins out of your body and improve the immune system. Studies have even shown that the betanin in beets can impede the growth of certain tumor cells.

 

Recipe: Hard to Beet Salad
Serves 8

beet-saladPhoto by LilSnoo

  • 6 large beets, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) package baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 avocados - peeled, pitted, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped, or to taste
  • 1 (4 ounce) container crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or more to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, drizzle beets with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay out 2 squares of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place 3 beets onto the center of each sheet. Fold foil into 2 envelopes. Place into a baking dish.
  3. In pre-heated oven, bake the beets until tender, approximate 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour, pierce a beet with a fork to check for tenderness. When beets are tender, open the foil, and allow the beets to cool. Peel and slice the beets.
  4. On your serving platter, place the spinach leaves. Top with tomato and avocado pieces. Top tomato and avocados with the chopped red onion. Place the sliced warm beets on top and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. To make dressing:  Place balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil, and Dijon mustard  in a bowl and wisk until smooth. Pour over the salad to serve.

 

Spinach

Popeye was onto something – these leafy greens really do make you stronger! Spinach is rich in carotenoids, which (according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) have strong cancer fighting and anti-oxidant properties. 

 

Recipe: Yummy Spinach Lasagna
Serves 12

spinach-lasagnaPhoto by Kristin Trivelas

Ingredients:

  • 20 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 12 oz baby spinach
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Heat a large pat of water with a little salt to boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook until al dente. Drain.
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook mushrooms, onions, garlic and chopped spinach in olive oil until onions are tender. Drain excess liquid and cool.
  4. Combine ricotta and Romano cheeses, salt, oregano, basil, pepper, and egg in a bowl. Add cooled veggie mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Lay 5 lasagna noodles in bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread one third of the cheese/spinach mixture over noodles. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over cheese. Repeat layering 2 times.
  5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes. Add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Bake uncovered for approximately 10 more minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

 

Additional Resources

Nutrition Tips for Cancer Patients
Chemo & Hair Loss Tips
Relaxation Tips for Cancer Patients
How to Prepare for Cancer Related Hair Loss
Wigs for Cancer Patients

 


 

Which recipe are you most excited to try? Do you have any yummy recipes that contain these ingredients?  Tell us in the comments below!

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