Colors Matter for Cancer Prevention
Colorful fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals – natural plant chemicals that can act to help promote health and protect against cancer in these ways:
- Stimulate the immune system
- Reduce the kind of inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely
- Prevent DNA damage and help with DNA repair
- Slow the growth rate of cancer cells
- Help regulate hormones
Colorful plant foods also help with getting to and staying a healthy weight:
- You feel full and satisfied after eating these foods because of their water and fiber content
- Bite for bite, you get more nutrients and fewer calories than in highly processed foods and most animal foods. That’s one important reason for filling 2/3 of your plate with plant foods – more food, but fewer calories!
Conquer this challenge: Color your plate!
Shop for color and convenience
- Select fresh produce that will ripen at different times during the week
- Buy your usual fruit and veggies but try something new such as kiwi, papaya, star fruit, or purple potatoes
- Stock up on pre-cut, frozen or canned fruit for fruit smoothies and pre-cut, frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables and beans to add to meals
Boost the color in your favorites
- Stuff sandwiches with shredded carrots, sliced peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, spinach and dark lettuce leaves
- Add to chicken, tuna or seafood salad – grapes, raisins, dried apricots, celery, red onion, grated carrots
- Add extra veggies, beans and peas to spaghetti sauce, salads, soups, stews and casseroles
- Accent thin crust pizza (preferably whole-grain) with more veggies, olives and pineapple
Firm your hips, thighs and buttocks. Learn how – using good form – with Denise Austin.
Join the barre workout band – grab a chair to gracefully and gently stretch and strengthen your muscles in the comfort of your home!
Strategies to use this week
- Plan ahead, keep handy ready-to-eat fruit and veggies such as grapes, dried fruit, carrots, sliced peppers or edamame
- Bring snacks to work or school or enjoy at home:
- Mid-morning – 1/4 cup dried fruit such as apricots, cranberries, plums, raisins; low-sodium vegetable juice
- Afternoon – fresh fruit with low-fat, plain yogurt – try banana slices, strawberries or grapes
- After work or school – fruit smoothie; seasonal fruit such as apple or watermelon slices; baby carrots, chopped raw veggies such as sliced peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, edamame dipped in low-fat yogurt dressings or hummus
- Cook from one of our menu ideas for this week!
Practice knife skills to put more veggies and fruit on your New American Plate!
NAPC Cooking: Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. This week watch videos to master basic knife skills.
Get the whole family involved in eating more colorful vegetables and fruits! Find out how many servings are recommended for you and your kids from AICR’s Health Talk on vegetables. And check out this fun color food tracker for the children in your life.
- Dining out? Check out Filling your plate with color when eating away from home.
Learn more about the research and how to use POWERHOUSE Fruits and Vegetables at AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer starting with our latest one: Carrots.
Eating different colors of fruits and veggies helps you get a variety of nutrients and cancer-protective substances. Here’s a great article all about Creating Colorful Veggies for Good Health, Lower Risk.
Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 1. Reject the Diet Mentality