Research shows that an overall healthy diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables is the key to preventing many diseases including cancer. That’s one reason the American Cancer Society® recommends eating at least 2½ cups of fruits and veggies every day. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are seven different pink foods that, when incorporated into your diet, can help reduce your risk for cancer.
When most people think about watermelon, they think about eating slices of it in the summer. But watermelon is actually very versatile in recipes and boosting with nutritional value. It has a very high amount of lycopene, which is a powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant. Lycopene is what gives watermelon its rosy color. For a different spin on watermelon, try Grilled Watermelon Lettuce Wraps. Grilling watermelon intensifies its flavor and gives it an almost “meaty” taste!
Raspberries are another fresh, juicy, and tasty fruit with a bright pink hue. They are rich in antioxidants, specifically in ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is an anti-cancer compound that’s shown to fight certain types of cancer. They’re also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and fiber. Only rinse raspberries right before you use them. A berry spinner is the perfect tool for the job. Rinse them with water instead of fully submerging them and with just a few pumps you’ll have clean raspberries.
Grapefruit can be white, pink, or red. The red and pink ones have the most antioxidants, specifically lycopene and beta carotene. Lycopene can lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Grapefruit also helps lower LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Compounds in citrus fruits can reduce inflammation and stop cancer cells from multiplying. It contains plenty of vitamin A and C, which helps boost your immune system. Grapefruit tastes delicious in salads like a Chicken, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad and the juice is a great addition to vinaigrettes.
4. Red Onions
All types of onions—red, white, yellow, and sweet green—are a great way to pack a lot of flavor into a meal without adding salt, sugar, fat, or extra calories. However, red onions pack the most antioxidants because of the flavonoid and quercetin. Quercetin has cancer-fighting properties. In addition, red onions are rich in anthocyanin, which enhances the ability of quercetin to destroy the free radicals that can lead to cancer and other health issues. Anthocyanins give many fruits and veggies their red, purple, and black hues. Red onions are a great topping on lots of dishes, like Shrimp Tacos With Jalapeño Slaw and Pickled Onions.
Beets aren’t just beautiful to look at, they have some health-boosting nutrients that you can’t find in many other foods. The nitrites in beets converts to nitric oxide, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels. This promotes better circulation and possibly lower blood pressure. They’re also rich in betacyanin and folate. Betacyanin is the antioxidant that gives beets the pink hue and has anti-inflammatory benefits. A fun way to incorporate beets into your meals is by spiralizing them. You can add them to a salad like an Apple, Beet & Carrot Salad.
Pomegranate packs a lot of nutrition in its small seeds. They are high in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and protect DNA from cell damage. The antioxidants in pomegranates are extremely potent which gives them a very strong punch. They also contain a solid amount of vitamin B, C, and K. Although pomegranates are seasonal, the 100% pomegranate juice offers the same benefits. Add pomegranates to your salads for a pop of color and texture like in a Power Kale Salad.
Radishes are a cruciferous vegetable, meaning they may help lower your risk of getting cancer. Other cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. They are high in fiber, potassium, and folate. Plus, all cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolate compounds. These compounds are broken down into two other compounds during digestion, known as indoles and isothiocyanates. Indoles and isothiocyanates may prevent certain cancers by blocking cells from becoming cancerous. A great way to add radishes to a dish is to use them as a topping on a recipe like Baked Avocado Tacos or on salads.
Now that you know a little more about cancer-fighting pink foods, which fruit or veggie do you want to cook with next?