Last weekend Dr. Joel Fuhrman gave us this as a cancer fighting super combo: greens + onions + mushrooms. For the green part of the equation, cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts and cabbage, are particularly beneficial. The phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables keep toxins from doing the kind of damage to our DNA that leads to cancer. The cruciferous greens modify human hormones, detoxify compounds and stop toxins from sticking around. Onions are like the antibacterial scrub to clean the system. And mushrooms are aromatase inhibitors that block the synthesis of estrogen – making them especially protective against breast cancer. The recipe at the end of this post (and pictured above) is a tasty way to get all three.
According to Fuhrman, the most beneficial compounds we get from these foods though are the isothiocyanates (ITCs). ITCs boost the immune system, but the catch is that they don’t actually exist in the foods themselves. Tricky. ITCs take shape when the foods are chopped or chewed. Think of when you’ve chopped into an onion and your eyes welled up. The smell that’s released and your ensuing water works are a result of a chemical reaction taking place. Fuhrman’s point is to chop before heating and chew well to get the maximum benefit from your foods.
Speaking of chopping an onion… here’s a video that shows how its really done.
And here’s a more complete list of cruciferous cancer fighters:
- bok choy
- broccoli rabe
- brussels sprouts
- mustard greens
- red cabbage
- turnip greens
Kale with Mushrooms and Onions
What you need:
– 1 bunch kale, torn into bite size pieces
– 1 yellow onion, cut into crescents
– shitake mushrooms
– olive oil
– 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
– 1/2 tbsp mirin (rice wine)
– 1 tbsp water
What you do:
Heat pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onions. Cook 2-3 minutes until onions become translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook a few minutes. Add kale. Stir to coat with oil. Combine tamari, mirin and water in a bowl. When greens begin to shrink down, pour in liquid mixture. Stir and cook a few more minutes. Taste greens to know when they’re done. Greens will be wilted and slightly sweet, not bitter. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps families find healthy routines that work, with no more “what’s for dinner?” stress, and a lot better food. Her family meal plans help moms take charge of their kitchen and their own health, leading to more vegetables and less junk all around. Megan also shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.