Cancer-fighting salads

Try these 3 salads to get more cancer-fighting foods into your diet.

Although the risk factors for cancer are complex and no one food can cure or prevent cancer, numerous studies have shown a link between diet and cancer risk.

One of the most promising areas of research is that examining antioxidants. According to the American Cancer Society, “The body appears to use certain nutrients in vegetables and fruits to protect against damage to tissues that occurs constantly as a result of normal metabolism (oxidation). Because such damage is linked with increased cancer risk, the so-called antioxidant nutrients are thought to protect against cancer. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and many other phytochemicals (chemicals from plants). Studies suggest that people who eat more vegetables and fruits, which are rich sources of antioxidants, may have a lower risk for some types of cancer.”

Here are three salads to help you get more cancer-fighting foods into your diet this summer.

Power packed pomegranate salad
Pomegranates are known for their antioxidant punch, which has fueled pomegranate juice sales in North America and around the world. But the seeds may have benefits the juice doesn’t. A Technion-Israel Institute of Technology research team presented a study in June 2001 which indicated that pomegranate seed oil triggers apoptosis — a self-destruct mechanism in breast cancer cells.

This salad combines pomegranate seeds with spinach, a leafy green also rich in antioxidants.

1 pound cleaned spinach leaves, tough stems removed
3/4 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Seeds from 1 pomegranate (approx. 1 cup)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, or President’s Choice brand Honey Pear Vinaigrette.

Place the spinach in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle on the red onion, parsley, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Just before serving, dress the salad with either shakes of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or the PC Honey Pear Vinaigrette, to taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Serves 4

Blueberry chicken salad
Blueberries have become a part of the anti-cancer arsenal due to the fact that they are the berries richest in anthocyanosides, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the prevention of cancer cell growth. This lunch type salad is a great way to add blueberries into your diet, as well as increasing your consumption of leafy greens and lower-fat meat. Feta cheese and pecans add a decadent feel to the dish.

4 cups sliced Belgian endive (about 2 large heads)
1 cup gourmet salad greens
1 1/2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped pecans, toasted

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Combine vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper; stir with whisk. Add dressing to endive mixture; toss gently. Sprinkle with cheese and pecans.

Yield: 4 servings