Easy ways to add cancer-fighting super foods to your holiday menu

November 21, 2012 | by Hiu Chung So

Still planning your Thanksgiving spread? Why not throw in some so-called 'super foods' too? Researchers at City of Hope have found that mushrooms, grapes, cinnamon, blueberries and pomegranates contain phytochemicals with anti-cancer properties.

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce Try adding zing (and health benefits) your cranberry sauce by throwing in some pomegranates too (Credit: FamilySpice.com)

Mushrooms and pomegranates have compounds that block the enzyme aromatase, which many breast cancer cells use to produce estrogen, says Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Cancer Biology. Because most breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, blocking aromatase’s production of it would be a significant development.

For so-called triple-negative breast cancers, which don’t need estrogen and which are one of the most difficult forms of cancer to treat, blueberries could prove useful. Chen found that a concentrated extract stopped growth of such tumors in the lab.

Pomegranates also suppress aromatase -- and may have the potential to fight colon cancer and diabetes as well.

As for cinnamon, an extract of it has shown promise in interfering with tumor blood supply. Grapes  -- or rather, grape seed extract – is another potential aromatase inhibitor, and it too may have the potential to suppress tumor blood supply.

So add these ingredients to your holiday fare, and those special dishes will get not just a flavor twist – but maybe an anti-cancer twist as well.

Here are some recipes and ideas from food bloggers and enthusiastic cooks who have contributed to our virtual cookbook.

1. Start the day with a wholesome breakfast of baked oatmeal with blueberries.

2. Throw together a berry and pomegranate trail mix as a snack for guests.

3. Marinade some mushrooms for a healthy pre-meal antipasto.

4. Toss your salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette.

5. Throw some mushrooms into your stuffing mix.

6. Serve the turkey with a berry relish.

7. Add some zing to cranberry sauce with pomegranate juice and arils.

8. Stir some cinnamon into your hot cocoa.

Share other recipes and ways to incorporate super foods into holiday (or everyday) spread by visiting our Super Foods page on Facebook.

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