Any cancer survivor will tell you that their strength, recovery and eventual remission is down to several things, but that one of them is undeniably a healthy and nutritious diet. This makes perfect sense. Food can provide so many natural nutrients and immune system boosters that eating and drinking well really can help anyone live better with cancer and look to beat the disease more easily. A vegan diet is especially healthy, mainly down to the fact that one is consuming an almost entirely natural collection of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial ingredients. However, it can be both mentally and physically draining for anyone in post-surgery cancer care to repeatedly cook a full, healthy vegan meal. Here are some easy vegan recipes that place an emphasis on helping fight cancer.
Raw Greens Smoothie
Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables; that is, your leafy and thick green vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choi and the like contain sulforaphane, which is known to be an active cancer fighting ingredient. However, this can be diluted or lost altogether when cooked, so a raw greens smoothie retains all of it.
The ingredients are simple, and more importantly, natural. 1/4 cup of hemp seeds, 3 cups of filtered water, one frozen ripe banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup of pomegranate arils, a knob of ginger, 2 cups of assorted leafy greens (such as kale or cabbage), 10 fresh mint leaves, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a cup of raw broccoli florets (keep the stalks on!) and some fresh lime juice. Simply blend this up and you will have an absolute power smoothie, packed full of cancer fighting goodness. It’s important to keep everything raw, and to keep the mint, ginger, lime and cocoa in so as to remove that green, ‘earthy’ flavour that comes with green smoothies. This one is also great for men’s health because of the prostate and bladder specific cancers that can be fought with polyphenols, which are found in the pomegranate arils.
As well as containing sulforaphane, the leafy greens are packed with iron, crucial for helping the body live better with cancer.
Leafy green walnut salad
This one is again packed with cruciferous vegetables, but also has some added bonuses in the form of walnuts and legumes.
Some cabbage, kale and collard greens will taste delicious if steamed, or, if you fancy going raw, any number of vegan friendly toppings such as balsamic or hemp oil can be drizzled on top. Walnuts are important for women’s health because they contain pedunculagin, metabolised by the body into urolithins; these are compounds that bind to oestrogen receptors and can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Legumes are rich in fibres which are known to reduce the risk of colo-rectal cancers. So throw in some peas, beans and lentils. Post-surgery cancer care can be exhausting, and this is an easy, totally vegan recipe to do in minutes. Beetroot can be added to sweeten the dish, but in recent years, its effectiveness has come under debate; that said, it is certainly not harmful.
Broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mash
This is a super easy, all vegan and all cancer fighting dish. Any cancer survivor can enjoy making this one as it involves a fair amount of cathartic pounding as well! All you need is 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (or hemp oil), 1 large head of a cauliflower (cut into 3/4-inch chunks) 1 small bunch of broccoli (trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch florets), a teaspoon of coarse salt, and pepper to be added to taste. Heat the oil and then add the vegetables until tender, before adding 3/4 cup of water and simmering. Then it’s just a case of mashing and enjoying. Cauliflower and broccoli are two excellent cruciferous cancer fighters, and carrots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant scientists believe may protect cell membranes from toxin damage and slow the growth of cancer cells. This one is perfect for both men’s health and women’s health as sulforaphane and beta carotene are good in a non-specific form; that is, they do not simply prevent one form of cancer.
All of the above recipes can be added to or mixed up as and when required; for instance, cauliflower can be swapped out for spinach or kale, and many people prefer lemon juice over lime in their smoothies. The beauty of a vegan diet is that it’s effectively a blank canvas. When fighting cancer, the heat is admittedly on a little more as cancer fighting ingredients need to be a priority, but this still presents an ideal opportunity to mix it up, add some variety and fight cancer without having to resort to a bland pallet.
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