A sprinkle of healthful nuts can enhance the flavor and cancer protection of a wide variety of vegetables as part of a cancer-fighting diet. Here are some delicious ideas.
Nuts deliver loads of nutrition in a tiny package. Studies have linked their nutrients to lower risk for some cancers. Since they are high in fat and calories, using a small amount of nuts as a garnish not only helps to curb their calories, but adds wonderful flavors to vegetables that need a lift.
Lend some crunch and savor to lightly steamed or sautéed broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cooked greens, cabbage, turnips, carrots and many more cancer-fighting vegetables with chopped nuts. You'll be getting more health protectors, too.
Antioxidants protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer development. This damage is caused by "free radicals": unstable molecules caused by everything from UV damage to pollutants. Nuts contain a variety of nutrients with antioxidant properties, including vitamin E and the mineral selenium.
Much of the antioxidant power in nuts comes from phytochemicals, compounds that occur naturally in plants. For example, walnuts and pecans contain ellagic acid, which is broken down by gut bacteria to urolithins. In cell and animals studies, urolithins show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and direct cancer-inhibiting effects. Nuts also supply flavonoids, another type of antioxidant phytochemical.
Remember: for cancer prevention, it's always best to get vitamins and minerals from healthy plant foods like nuts instead of from supplements.
Along with the famous green-bean and- slivered-almonds combo, sprinkle pecans on sweet potatoes or chopped macadamias onto asparagus. Or try this tasty recipe from the AICR Test Kitchen.
Cook Brussels sprouts according to package directions. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, pecans and cranberries. Transfer cooked sprouts to serving dish. Gently toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 102 calories, 6 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 11 g carbohydrates,
2 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 13 mg sodium.
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