Nourish with NorthBay Dietitians

Nourish is a blog written each week by NorthBay Healthcare dietitians. It focuses on health and nutrition with educational information, tips and advice as well as an occasional recipe.

Food That Helps Reduce Cancer Risk

October 04, 2018

By Devin Robinette

What can I do to reduce my cancer risk? As a dietitian working with people with cancer, I'm asked this question frequently. I like to start off by pointing out that there is not one food or food group that will prevent or cure cancer. However, following a plant based diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans can help lower the risk for many cancers.

Plants are filled with phytochemicals, which are thought to promote healthy tissue in our bodies, and support our immune systems. There are over 100 phytochemicals found in plants, such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Phytochemicals give plants their color, flavor, and smell. That's why you may have heard the phrase "eat the rainbow." The more colors you eat, the more phytochemicals you will get!

Ways to add more phytochemicals into your diet

Try to get fruits or vegetables at every meal. Easy enough, right? Add fruit to your cereal or oatmeal, have a salad with lunch and dinner. A good goal for increasing fruit and vegetables in your diet is have 1 cup of fruit at breakfast and 1 cup of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Maybe even add a snack with fruit sometime during the day.

If you are not into measuring, use the plate method. Make ½ of your plate fruit and vegetables, ¼ of your plate protein and ¼ of your plate whole grains.

Fruit can always make for a yummy dessert!

Here are a few recipes:

Best Kale Salad Ever!

Prep time:15 minutes
Total time: 15 mins
Author: Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN


2 bunches kale
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 c pistachios
Red pepper flakes to taste
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)


Strip kale leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into pieces and place in a large bowl.

Mix oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, and salt in a jar, small bowl, or salad dressing container. Pour over kale.

With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring.

Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny.

Taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, and / or pepper if desired. Add red pepper flakes to taste.

Top with pistachios for a crunch! Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired (I didn't use parmesan on mine).

Apple, Avocado & Walnut Salad

Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Author: Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN

2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed
1 apple, cored and cubed
1 rib celery, cubed (Used shredded carrots instead. Gave the salad the ORANGE color!!)
1 T dried cranberries
1 T walnuts, chopped
2 T chopped parsley
1 T lemon juice
1 T walnut oil (I don't typically have this in the pantry, so if I used extra olive oil!)
1 T olive oil
1 t honey (Conner suggests acacia honey - I just used what I had!)
salt and pepper, to taste


In a small serving bowl, combine apples, celery and avocados and sprinkle with parsley, cranberries and walnuts.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk oils, lemon juice and honey

Pour dressing over fruits and vegetables, toss lightly and serve immediately.

Check out "Foods that Fight Cancer" on AICR website:


The author is a clinical dietitian with NorthBay Healthcare.



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