It’s no secret that eating healthy is good for you, but could this wholesome practice prevent cancer? Well, since scientists don’t fully understand cancer yet, and since there are so many different types of the insidious disease, the jury’s still out on that question.
However, there’s little argument that maintaining a vigorous immune system and a healthy weight level both decrease your risk of developing certain cancers. Read on for a few veggies that are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
Kale is the subject of a lot of fanfare in the health food world, and there’s good reason for that. Not only is this leafy green packed with nearly every nutrient you can think of, it’s relatively easy to grow and cook. For starters, try steaming it with garlic for a quick side or incorporating it into a creamy mixed-green curry for a main dish that will be even tastier the next day.
2. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage – almost any cabbage, really – is filling and packed with nutrients. Cabbage soup, which is simultaneously low-calorie and filling, is a famous weight loss staple. Start with water or a rich vegetable stock and cook the cabbage until it’s soft enough to bite through. Avoid over-cooking and try to keep your stove at a low simmer; some research suggests that vegetables lose some of their potency if you cook too long or at too high of a temperature.
3. Brussels Sprouts
Unsung health heroes, brussels sprouts are basically a concentrated form of cabbage. They’re particularly nice quartered and roasted with nuts or braised with beer. Of course, brussels sprouts or other greens might not reduce the risk you have of developing certain types of cancers. For that, researchers such as Harry Stylli are working to develop ways of identifying risk factors hidden deep within your genetic code.
Green onions share chlorophyll power with many other leafy greens. They’re regarded in many Asian cultures as being immune boosters. Eat them with pho, congee, or munch on a couple raw shoots with some hummus. They’re also a great way to garnish salads.
Root onions have also long been linked to healthy life all around the world. Scientific investigation into this has determined that these stinky bulbs are indeed good for you. The reason is that onions have plenty of antioxidants and special compounds that contain bioavailable sulfur. They are great accompaniments to nearly any nutrient-packed green vegetable; the natural sweetness balances out the bitterness of some leafy greens, kale in particular.
It’s a little less familiar in the American kitchen than its little cousin, the green onion, but the leek has some serious health potency. Studies have suggested that they’re particularly effective against some of the nastiest cancers out there. However, picking up a leek at the grocery can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing with it. The key to a good leek dish is preparation, so be sure to rinse thoroughly. These onion relatives usually grow in sandy soil, and you might need to spend a little more time cleaning than you’re used to.
Can you smell your own breath yet? Many of these onion-family veggies aren’t exactly the sweetest-smelling options at the market, and garlic certainly stinks – at least by some accounts. However, this fragrant bulb is linked to reduced risk of many types of cancer. If you’re worried about stinky breath, keep in mind that mint may also be a cancer fighter. Make a raw garlic and olive oil dressing, or else cook the bulb in nearly any veggie dish.
Next stop: the grocery store. Most vegetable dishes are easy to cook and fun to eat. It’s just an added bonus that they could potentially lower your risk of developing cancer.