According to the American Cancer Society, a mostly plant-based diet combined with daily exercise and weight control decreases a person's cancer risk by 30 percent to 40 percent. No single food is a magic pill, but an enormous variety of edibles provide terrific anticancer benefits. The recipes featured here contain praiseworthy cancer-fighting foods, so incorporating them into your cooking repertoire is a delicious and proactive health strategy.
Arame Salad with Seared Tofu and Red Peppers
Serves 4-6 / Seaweeds' fatty acids and antioxidants have been linked to lower risks of breast and skin cancers. Ingredient tips: Look for arame, a threadlike dried seaweed, in bulk bins or prepackaged in Asian-food sections. If you have them, use bulk green-tea leaves; or simply tear open a tea bag and use the contents.
Serves 4 / Fatty fish rich in omega-3s may help lower incidences of colorectal and kidney cancers. Garlic, part of the lily family, may offer protection against stomach and colon cancers. And lycopene, the red-food antioxidant that's more potent in cooked (rather than raw) tomatoes, may be helpful against prostate cancer. Prep tip: Pricey, unique saffron lends an earthy, aromatic flavor and lovely orange hue to the sauce but can be omitted.
Buckwheat-Flaxseed Blueberry Pancakes
Serves 6 (makes twelve 5-inch pancakes) / Ingredient tip: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high-fiber flaxseeds offer good-fat benefits only when ground (whole flaxseeds pass right through), so opt for the most finely ground flaxseeds you can find, or grind your own in a coffee grinder.
Indian Spicy-Sour Chickpeas with Cauliflower
Serves 8 / Used extensively in Indian cooking, anti-inflammatory turmeric and ginger enhance cruciferous cauliflower, vitamin-rich tomatoes, and high-fiber chickpeas, packing this dish with cancer-fighting potential. Prep tip: Use more or less jalapeño depending on your heat preference.
Broccoli with Lemon Zest and Parsley
Serves 4-6 / A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli is loaded with phytochemicals found to prevent cancer — also true for limonene, a compound in citrus peel. Prep tip: Make fresh breadcrumbs by processing a slice of whole-wheat bread (the heel works great) in a food processor.
Professional cook Laurie Gauguin creates dishes for private clients and writes about food in the San Francisco area. Read Laurie's kitchen chronicles on her blog, ladleandwhisk.wordpress.com.