BOSTON – The holidays are here and so is all the festive food. Some of it is naughty but much of it can be nice.
"When party planning during the holidays, it's important to have variety," Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, a nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said. "Many of the foods we enjoy around the holidays are not only delicious to eat, but they may also contain cancer-fighting nutrients."
Here is a list of foods and recipes from Kennedy and her colleagues that belong on anyone's "nice list."
Skip those holiday dips that are buried in excess fat and calories.
Kennedy said lighten up by substituting with an easy-to-prepare hummus.
This recipe (www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Scallion-and-Roasted-Pine-Nut-Hummus.aspx) calls for pine nuts, which are rich in protein, zinc, copper and manganese, which are important for a healthy immune system. Legumes, like chickpeas, are a great source of protein and dietary fiber, which can help reduce the risk of cancer and help lower cholesterol.
Dust off that family nutcracker. Recent research finds that walnuts may help prevent kidney and colon cancers. In addition, the study suggests that walnuts are a rich source of antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. Walnuts contain essential fatty acids, or the so-called "good fats," which are known to help reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system. So go nuts with a simple pesto recipe, located at www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Walnut-Pesto.aspx.
Mangoes are naturally sweet and rich in a variety of antioxidants. One of them, lupeol, is thought to rid the body of harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can damage a cell's DNA, triggering some forms of cancer and other diseases. Studies have indicated that mango pulp may lower the risk of prostate cancer, inflammation, arthritis, and diabetes.
A colorful and refreshing mousse recipe, which can be downloaded at www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Mango-Carrot-Mousse.aspx, will delight dinner guests.
Pomegranates have definitely moved to the top of many people's "nice list." They are now found in everything from drinks to desserts and for good reason. Recent research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may be a delicious way to help prevent prostate cancer, as well as prevent the metastasis and spread of prostate cancer cells.
Try a good-for-you dessert (www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Apple-and-Pomegranate-Crisp.aspx) that is layered with flavonoids, vitamin C, and other antioxidants.
More recipes can be found at www.dana-farber.org/nutrition