Pumpkin is so nutritious, it shouldn’t be reserved just for pumpkin pie. Our Health-e-Recipe for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a delicious way to sneak more pumpkin into an everyday dish.
Teeming with beta-carotene, which turns to vitamin A in our bodies, pumpkin and other orange winter squash varieties (think butternut and acorn) also provide cancer-preventive fiber. They can be added to soups, stews and other vegetable dishes.
In this recipe, unsweetened pumpkin purée is added to whole-wheat pasta with Parmesan and cheddar cheeses and mustard powder to create a healthy entree. It even provides a hefty 17 grams of fiber per serving. Serve it with a green veggie like lightly steamed broccoli, which researchers pointed out last week at our annual conference retains its cancer-fighting compounds best when steamed for 3-4 minutes.
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Seeds are a healthy plant food. Our Health-e-Recipe for Sweet-Hot Pumpkin Seeds with Autumn Spices turns them into a delicious snack.
Like nuts, seeds contain fiber and healthy fats. They can be used for a garnish, as a crunchy coating for fish and poultry or in baked goods like muffins. Each type of seed has fiber and phytochemicals that provide health protection. For example, flaxseed is being studied for possible breast cancer prevention because of its omega-3 fats.
In this recipe, pumpkin seeds are a healthy treat that provide minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc. During harvest season, some folks like to take them right from the pumpkin, clean them and toast them in their shells. But you can find the tasty kernels already packaged (sometimes labeled “pepitas”).
This recipe mixes pumpkin seeds with anti-inflammatory spices ginger and paprika, along with cinnamon, cloves and a little brown sugar. The spices make a small amount satisfying, so you can eat this healthy snack without going overboard with calories. You could even pre-package individual servings in resealable plastic snack bags.
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The research is pretty clear that staying a healthy weight lowers postmenopausal women’s risk of breast cancer. Now a new study suggests that regularly eating a diet high in the foods that help you stay at that healthy weight – fruits, vegetables and other plant foods – may by itself lower risk of breast cancer.
The link to lower risk was most pronounced for tumors that are not fueled by hormones. These breast cancers are less common, but more challenging to treat.
The study was published yesterday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Going into the study, researchers looked to get away from individual foods and nutrients and focus on dietary pattern, which looks at the overall types of foods we regularly eat. Almost 100,000 women answered questionnaires about what they ate, along with genetic and other risk factors. Five dietary patterns emerged:
1) plant based: lots of fruits and vegetables
2) high-protein, high-fat: lots of meat, eggs, butter and fried foods
3) high carbohydrate: lots of pasta, bread and convenience foods
4) ethnic: lots of legumes, soy-based foods, rice and dark green leafy vegetables
5) salad and wine: high in lettuce with low-fat dressing, fish, wine, coffee and tea Continue reading