DIY Plant Science: Grow Your Own Purple Carrots in 10 Steps

Last month we wrote about how plant scientists are developing these colorful new varieties of vegetables that contain different cancer-preventing phytochemicals.10520568_s

For the article, I spoke with Philip Simon, PhD from the University of Wisconsin who first introduced the anthocyanin-packed purple carrot in 1992. One of the best things I learned from my talk with Dr. Simon is that with a little bit of time and patience we can recreate the process at home! This can be a great activity for kids and adults alike.

The first step in the plant breeding process is to get the vegetables to flower. For most vegetables such as peppers or squash, flowers are the norm (think, stuffed squash blossoms). For carrots and other root vegetables, flowering is a bit more involved. They only flower after being exposed to cold. So, here’s what you do:

Step 1: Buy a bunch of carrots with the green tops on; chose both purple and orange.

Step 2: Cut off the tops of the greens leaving about an inch of green stem Continue reading

New Report: Americans Need More Red, Orange and Green

AmericaVegetable basketns need to add some pizzazz to our plates, specifically more colorful vegetables – red, green and orange according to a new report by the USDA. These veggies are important for overall health and in your cancer-fighting diet. Their low calories help with weight control and potent phytochemicals like carotenoids, vitamin C and flavonoids help keep cells healthy.

The report says we’re now eating about 1/4 cup daily per 1000 calories of these vegetables, far below the recommendation. The US Dietary Guidelines say you should eat at least double that. If you’re a woman you need at least 3/4 to 1 cup daily, men need at least 1 – 1 1/2 cups every day.

*For a 2,000 calorie diet Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Consumption and Nutrient Intakes Data Product

*For a 2,000 calorie diet
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Consumption and Nutrient Intakes Data Product

Fortunately, this plate redesign doesn’t take a lot of time or money. Here are 5 ways to get your 1 cup of colored veggies: Continue reading

Heavenly Vegetable Soup

summer-veggie-soupIf you’re looking for a bright new way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables, try our Health-e-Recipe for Summer Veggie Soup. It’s loaded with nine tasty vegetables that bring you cancer protection and it’s ideal to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.

Every vegetable contains many phytochemicals – naturally occurring substances that may protect our cells from damage from aging and toxins that, over time, can lead to cancer development. These compounds work together for health protection, so this soup is a terrific way to eat the wide variety of vegetables that AICR recommends to reduce cancer risk.

To get the most out of your garlic, mince it first and let it stand for 10 minutes so its allium compounds are fully activated. The carrots add beta-carotene to this soup, and the yellow squash and zucchini contribute fiber (found in all plant foods). The potatoes, chickpeas and corn make this soup hearty, providing other nutrients. Asparagus, tomatoes, basil and chives add even more individual phytochemicals.

Find more excellent cancer-fighting recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.