When we think of the holidays, it’s easy to think only of the Thanksgiving turkey or the Christmas ham. But, side dishes offer a great opportunity to bring nutrient-rich foods to the table! Brightly colored foods are rich in nutrients, minerals, and phytochemicals that can help fight cancer.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds in plants that have cancer-fighting properties. Carotenoids, found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, are one example. Antioxidants are chemicals found in foods that can inhibit and prevent cell damage such as bright red or dark blue/purple berries. Leafy green vegetables are another great source of nutrients, including folic acid. It’s easy to incorporate these into your traditional holiday dishes and pack the table with delicious cancer-fighting nutrients.
Below are a few recipes to try. Learn more about some of the neat properties of these foods that can help fight against and prevent cancer.
The spinach in this salad contributes carotenoids and folic acid. The grapefruit contributes vitamin C and flavonoids. Pomegranate seeds add powerful antioxidants. Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, a mineral with cancer-fighting properties.
The sweet potatoes in this dish pack vitamin C and carotenoids. Walnuts are a heart-healthy contribution.
Brussels sprouts contain powerful phytochemicals, specifically isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, which can help fight against and prevent cancer. Acorn squash has vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid. Cranberries contribute antioxidants.
All of the berries in this dish bring some powerful antioxidants and vitamins to the table, making this a not-so guilty dessert. Top with vanilla ice cream or frozen kefir for a boost of calcium.
Meredith Byrd, Senior Student in the Lipscomb University Didactic Program in Dietetics
 Eliminate any ingredients that may interfere with you treatment plan. For example, grapefruit can interact with some medications. Check with your healthcare team for a list of any foods you should avoid.