Thanksgiving and Cancer Part 2: Adding Cancer Fighting Veggies to your Thanksgiving Menu
You may not immediately think of healthy eating when it comes to Thanksgiving, but guess what? Fall vegetables are loaded with cancer fighters! With a little planning, it is so easy to add some of these delicious and nutritious super foods into your Thanksgiving Day menu. Here are a few cancer fighting veggies that will make your body’s immune system very thankful.
Mushrooms! Mushrooms boost the body’s immune system making them a super cancer fighting food. They contain a compound called Lentinan. Lentinan has been found in some studies to actually stop or reduce cancer growth. Try making a savory mushroom gravy to go alongside your turkey and dressing.
Pumpkins! Pumpkins contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant with cancer fighting power. Pumpkins are high in vitamins A and C and are rich in fiber. Also don’t forgot those pumpkin seeds! They are rich in vitamins and minerals as well. Try adding fresh pumpkin puree to your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.
Sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which is a powerful antioxidant that can boost your immune system and fight cancer. Try a sweet potato casserole made from fresh sweet potato puree. Go easy on the added sugars by incorporating lots of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg instead.
Here are a few recipes using our super cancer fighting veggies:
Fresh Pumpkin Purée
- An 8-pound pumpkin (preferably a sugar pumpkin)
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Slice off the stem end of the pumpkin 2 1/2 inches from the top, reserving it, scrape out the seeds and the membranes, reserving the seeds for toasting if desired, and brush the inside of the pumpkin with the butter.
- Top the pumpkin with the reserved stem end, bake it in a shallow baking pan in the middle of a preheated 375°F oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pulp is tender, and let it cool in the pan until it can be handled.
- Discard any liquid that may have accumulated in the pumpkin, scoop out the pulp, and in a blender purée it in batches, transferring it as it is puréed to a large sieve or colander lined with overlapping large coffee filters and set over a large bowl.
- Cover the surface of the purée with plastic wrap and let the purée drain, chilled, overnight.
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 (0.87-oz.) package McCormick Homestyle Gravy Mix
- 1 (14-oz.) can beef broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Sauté minced onion and garlic in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes until tender; add sliced fresh mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes.
- Stir together gravy mix, beef broth, and soy sauce.
- Stir into mushroom mixture, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Stir in pepper.
Sweet Potato Pie
- 2 (1-1/2 lbs.) sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp. light butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
- Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 50 to 55 minutes, or until soft. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. Blend potatoes in a blender and pulse for about one minute to remove all fibers.
- Place sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well. Using an electric mixer, mix in sugar, milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with cool whip and enjoy!
In the next segment, we will talk about adding cancer fighting fruits to your Thanksgiving menu!