Eating Your (Cancer-Protective) Pizza, and Tomatoes Too

If you’re like the average American, you’re getting about a third of your tomatoes from pizza when you eat out, according to a USDA survey. That’s a big deal, because almost a quarter of the vegetables we eat come from tomatoes and its many forms, including spaghetti sauces and ketchup, says the USDA’s Economic Research Services report.

We here at AICR love tomatoes, they provide fiber, vitamin C and lycopene. And AICR research suggests that foods containing lycopene lower risk for prostate cancerthr-americas-tomato-consumption

There are a lot of ways to enjoy a tomato, we’ve got 13 of them right here. And because pizza is clearly a favorite, Alice Bender, MS, RDN, gives a few ways to order and make healthier pizza.

1. Order extra veggies, whether its tomato slices or spinach, basil, garlic, peppers and onions. Skip the meat and extra cheese.

2.  Go for a pizza with a thin crust, then get double sauce and a few dollops of fresh mozzarella. Complete your meal with a salad loaded with colorful veggies.

3.  Involve the whole family with a make your own pizza night. Use this recipe – Grilled Pizza with Grilled Vegetables – as a starting point for putting together a healthy and delicious pizza.

The USDA analysis also says that we’re only eating about 1.5 cups of vegetables per day – government guidelines recommend two to three daily cups. From the tomatoes, about three quarters of that comes from sauces, whether eating out or at home. The government recommends 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day, which also reduces risk of many cancers.

Have some delicious tomatoes ideas? Please share.


Recipe: Layers of Cancer Protection

Roasted Veg Lasagna copyOur Health-e-Recipe for Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is meatless and full of hearty, delicious cancer-fighting ingredients. It’s also runner-up to our March Madness winner, Brussels Sprout Slaw.

To prepare the eggplant and zucchini slices for roasting, you can either use canola oil cooking spray or brush them lightly with some olive oil, if you prefer. Then roast them for 20 minutes on each side. Roasting veggies makes them sweet and tender.

Then layer them onto the low-fat cheese mixture and top with tomato sauce. All processed tomato products (think juice, paste, sauce) contain plenty of lycopene. This compound is a carotenoid that may help guard against prostate and other cancers, according to research studies.

Because of their higher fiber content, whole-wheat pastas and other whole grains take longer to digest than refined grains. That’s one reason why eating them can help keep your blood sugar levels healthy.

Together with the vegetables in this dish, the higher fiber in the noodles provides a substantial 11 grams of fiber per serving. That’s almost one-third of the amount recommended daily by health experts. Eating plenty of high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans while keeping meat consumption low can help prevent colorectal cancer.

Find more healthy, tasty recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.


The Beauty of Beets…Countdown to Vote

beet-salad croppedOnce you’ve tasted fresh beets, you’ll be enchanted by their sweet taste and beautiful color. Our Health-e-Recipe for Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad shreds them with tart Granny Smith apples, carrots and chopped walnuts into a cancer-preventive salad.

Beets contain potassium, vitamin C, folate and fiber. Their phytochemicals include betalains, a class of health-protecting compounds that may be best absorbed when uncooked. Beet greens – which can be eaten lightly steamed – provide lutein, a phytochemical that protects eyesight and is also found in spinach (a botanical relative of beets).

In the U.S., fresh beets are often roasted. Eating them raw is more unusual, yet once you have, you may prefer them to the pickled versions that are high in sodium and may be packaged with added sugar. (Our recipe also tells you how to peel them without coloring your hands red.)

This week’s recipe marks our #499th issue. You can help us pick our milestone 500th Health-e-Recipe by voting in our Championship Round. It’s Lasagna versus Brussels sprouts: Vote in Recipe 500.