No single food or food compound can prevent or fight cancer. But research shows that eating a plant-based diet—one rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans, lentils and split peas) and whole-grain foods—may offer some protection. The vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (healthy plant compounds) in these foods are thought to work together to provide a cancer-protective effect.
Fitting these foods—and enough of them—into your daily diet is easier than you might think. Try some of these quick ideas at meals:
- Whip up a fruit smoothie in the blender using frozen fruit, a dollop of yogurt, and a splash of orange juice. Serve with a slice of whole-grain toast spread with almond butter.
- Slice fresh strawberries or peaches over a bowl of whole-grain cereal.
- Toast a whole-grain waffle and top with warm blueberries instead of syrup.
- Enjoy a refreshing bowl of gazpacho (cold tomato soup) along with whole-grain crackers.
- Toss a salad of baby spinach, chickpeas, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes and bell peppers with a small handful of chopped walnuts. Drizzle with light dressing.
- Munch a slice of veggie-topped pizza or a garden-style sandwich: pile shredded romaine, sprouts, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers on crusty whole-grain bread spread with hummus.
- Fill at least two-thirds of your dinner plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
- Serve grilled veggies like sliced eggplant, red bell peppers and zucchini as a side dish or tossed with whole-wheat pasta.
- Try a vegetable curry: simmer steamed cauliflower, potato wedges, sliced carrots and other veggies with low-fat curry sauce. Serve over brown rice.
- Top tostadas with black beans, a sprinkle of cheese and salsa.