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While no specific food can guarantee the prevention of cancer, a well-balanced and varied diet rich in certain nutrients have been shown to contribute to a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, especially when paired with regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight. These delicious recipes each contain powerful ingredients shown to help prevent cancer, level-up your health, and support a strong and balanced immune system.

What Foods Help Prevent Cancer?

Fruits and vegetables obviously rank first. Their antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals — the more colorful and vibrant the produce, the better! — may help reduce the risk of various types of cancer. These colors often indicate different beneficial compounds. “The action of phytochemicals varies by color and type of the food,” explains Harvard. “They may act as antioxidants or nutrient protectors, or prevent carcinogens (cancer causing agents) from forming.”

Other great options include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale — all in season this winter and spring — contain compounds that have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers.
  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries are rich in antioxidants and other compounds that may have cancer-fighting properties.
  • Tomatoes: They contain lycopene, which has been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer.
  • Green tea: Rich in antioxidants, green tea has been studied for its potential cancer-preventive properties (click here for great tea recipes!)
  • Garlic: This delightful herb has sulfur compounds that may have anti-cancer effects.
  • Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may have protective effects against certain cancers.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Rich in antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats, nuts and seeds can be part of a cancer-preventive diet.

Curious how to use these ingredients to help prevent cancer? Let’s dig into three delicious recipes.

BREAKFAST: Green Tea Smoothie

Ditch your morning cup of coffee for a healthier alternative. Green tea contains caffeine, but it also has various compounds and amino acids that help combat the jitteriness that often comes with coffee.

This shake is the perfect way to start your day. Not only is it energizing, but it’s also rich in protein, probiotics, fiber, and everything else you need to get through your morning. Feel free to customize this recipe by adding other ingredients like chia seeds, flaxseeds, or your favorite fruits for added flavor and nutrition.

1 cup brewed and chilled green tea
1 medium-sized banana, frozen
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey (adjust to taste)
1 cup spinach leaves, washed
1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (optional, for an extra boost of green tea flavor)
Ice cubes (optional)

Brew a cup of green tea and let it cool. You can speed up the cooling process by placing it in the refrigerator or adding ice cubes. Once the green tea is chilled, add it to a blender.

Add the frozen banana, Greek yogurt, honey, spinach leaves, and matcha powder (if using) to the blender.

Blend everything until smooth and creamy. If the smoothie is too thick, you can add more green tea or a splash of water to achieve your desired consistency.

Taste the smoothie and adjust the sweetness with more honey if needed. If you prefer a colder smoothie, you can add a handful of ice cubes and blend again until smooth. Pour the green tea smoothie into a glass and enjoy immediately!

Enjoy your refreshing green tea smoothie!

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LUNCH: Crunchy-Sweet Berries and Nuts Salad

This salad is not only visually appealing but also packed with a variety of flavors and textures. The combination of sweet berries, crunchy nuts, and tangy dressing creates a delightful and refreshing dish.

For the Salad:

6 cups mixed salad greens (e.g., spinach, arugula, or mixed spring greens)
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup candied or toasted nuts (e.g., walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional, for added creaminess and flavor)

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:

In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and nuts.

If you’re using feta cheese, sprinkle it over the top of the salad.

In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients evenly.

Serve the salad immediately, or refrigerate it until ready to serve.

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DINNER: Garlic-Infused Sardine Pasta

It’s time to re-think the humble canned sardine. Sardines have made a huge comeback in fine dining, starring in famous dishes at numerous Michelin-star restaurants. This recipe pairs these omega-3-rich fish with garlic and other Italian herbs for a homemade dinner that’ll whisk you away to the Mediterranean.

8 oz (about 225g) pasta of your choice (spaghetti or linguine work well)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
1 can (about 4.4 oz/125g) sardines in olive oil, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving
Instructions:

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet, sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the drained sardines to the skillet, breaking them apart with a spoon. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the sardines to absorb the flavors.

Stir in the halved cherry tomatoes, capers, and lemon zest. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften.

Season the mixture with salt and black pepper to taste. If the mixture seems dry, you can add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, tossing everything together until the pasta is well coated with the sardine mixture. If needed, add more pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot. Optionally, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Adjust the spice level and other ingredients according to your taste preferences. Enjoy your delicious pasta with sardines!

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