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PAINT YOUR PLATE PINK FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Contributed by Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women next to skin cancers. There is a 1 in 8 chance of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer, or about a 13% risk. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 282,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2021. Early detection is key to survival, which is why annual physicals and gynecological exams are so crucial.
Mammograms are recommended starting at age 40. Many women with a family history of breast cancer are even doing genetic testing, such as for the BRCA mutation, to proactively assess risk level. While there are many factors that can cause cancer, diet and exercise have been shown to be preventative measures against cancer.
In honor of going pink for breast cancer awareness in October, here are 11 pink foods that will not only add some color and flair to your meals, but also have cancer-preventing benefits as well.
Grapefruits are high in vitamin C for immunity and a rich source of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. Grapefruits also have tumor-blocking nutrients called limonoids. One particular type, glucarates, may help prevent breast cancer. Enjoy grapefruit by itself, on top of salads, or as a salsa. You can even juice it to add flavor to foods in place of lemon or limes.
*Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications interact with any foods, such as grapefruit, or other medicines.
Watermelon contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients including lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and triterpenoid. Watermelons are high in an amino acid known as citrulline, which can help improve blood flow, heart function, and acts as a fat blocker to prevent the deposit of fatty tissue. While watermelon is perfect on its own or in fruit salad, it also makes a great base for cold soups, salad with mint and feta, or a refreshing drink.
In addition to grapefruit and watermelon, guava is one of the highest sources of the antioxidant lycopene. Vitamins A & C are also abundant, helping to keep our eyes and bodies healthy. Guava makes great jellies, glazes, and syrups, or a topping for desserts.
The rich color of the red variety comes from anthocyanin, polyphenols high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect, prevent, and treat many diseases. Cabbage also has an added super-nutrient of glucoraphanin that plays a role in the prevention of breast cancer (along with bladder, colon, and prostate cancers). Red cabbage can be added to salads and slaws, sautéed or braised with vinegar for a side dish, base for soup, or as a taco topper.
These root vegetables contain the phytonutrient betalains for antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. Beets may inhibit carcinogen formation and increase production of cancer-fighting immune cells. Just be careful when cooking beets, as heat can destroy these benefits. Steam for less than 15 minutes, or roast under 1 hour. Make beets the star of a salad, turn into pasta using a spiralizer, create a traditional Borscht, or add into smoothies.
The high fiber content in figs can help fight against postmenopausal breast cancer. Figs and cheese make a delicious combo, especially goat cheese or a sharp cheese. Change up your usual jam for a fig variety. They even make a sweet topping for crostini or pizza!
These colorful root veggies have cancer-fighting antioxidants from vitamin C and anthocyanins, along with folate. While radishes are typically found on salads, roast them for a tasty side dish or make a slaw. The peppery flavor can naturally spice up any dish!
Beans contain saponins, protease inhibitors, and phytic acid, which are all potent phytochemicals that can help to slow the growth or progression of tumors. Invite these beans to your next Meatless Monday meal by adding them to a 3-bean salad, make a bean dip or spread, add to chili, or season with spices and swap out meat for kidney beans on your next taco night. Kidney beans can even make an appearance in your desserts as brownies or ice cream!
Omega-3s and selenium found in salmon can help protect against breast cancer, along with cancers in the colon, prostate, and blood. Smoked salmon (such as lox) can actually reduce the health benefits and therefore is recommended to be consumed in small amounts. Up to 12 ounces of salmon per week is safe for consumption for pregnant women. Broil, poach, or grill to enjoy at your next meal, or order salmon sushi.
Ahi tuna is high in the antioxidant selenium. Like salmon, ahi tuna contains many of the same cancer-preventing health benefits from their high source of omega-3s. Enjoy ahi tuna as part of a Salad Niçoises, seared with a sesame crust, or along with salmon in your next sushi meal.
Berries (Raspberries and Strawberries)
Berries contain high amounts of ellagic acid, which helps to inhibit growth and production of tumors and cancerous cells. Berries also contain high amounts of vitamin C and the antioxidant anthocyanin which helps protect cells from damage (and provides that red color). Enjoy these sweet treats as a snack, dessert, beverage, or even as part of a savory dish.
RECIPE CORNER: GRAPEFRUIT GREMOLATA SALMON
2 medium grapefruit
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar, divided
4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1. Preheat the broiler. Finely grate enough peel from the grapefruit to measure 2 tablespoons. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, garlic, and grapefruit peel and set aside.
2. Cut a thin slice from the top and bottom of each grapefruit; stand grapefruit upright on a cutting board. With a knife, cut off peel and outer membrane from grapefruit. Cut along the membrane of each segment to remove fruit. Arrange sections in a single layer on one half of a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
3. Place the salmon on remaining half of pan. Mix cumin seeds, salt, pepper, and remaining brown sugar; sprinkle over salmon.
4. Broil 3-4 inches from heat for 8-10 minutes or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork and grapefruit is lightly browned. Sprinkle salmon with parsley mixture; serve with grapefruit.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER SERVING: 332 calories, 16g fat, 3g saturated fat, 387mg sodium,
16g carbohydrate, 13g sugars, 2g fiber, 30g protein. Recipe Credit: https://www.tasteofhome.com
Mandy Enright MS, RDN, RYT, is a Registered Dietitian, Yoga Instructor, and Corporate Wellness Expert, as well as main content contributor for Wellness Concepts. Mandy is a featured presenter, both virtually and onsite near her home in Neptune, NJ.
Tag(s): Corporate Wellness Newsletters
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