one green planet
one green planet

Did you know that 39.6 percent of men and women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime? This sobering statistic confirms that odds are, we will be affected by the disease either directly or indirectly at some point in our lives. Thankfully, in the last decade or so, cancer death rate has gone down by 13 percent. While advancements in treatment and research likely play a part, growing awareness about prevention through diet and lifestyle choices certainly helps too. As you know, consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables — antioxidant-rich plant foods — contributes greatly to decreasing our risk of getting cancer (and other serious diseases). If eating the rainbow is still a foreign concept to you, know this — it’s not hard to do when you take advantage of each season’s bounty!

Take a stroll to your nearest farmer’s market and get your hands on any of these 10 cancer-fighting fall foods that you’ll want to add to your plate pronto!

1. PomegranateSpiralized Butternut Squash Noodles With Asparagus, Cashews, and Pomegranate

These red rubies aren’t only delicious and beautiful, they’re a powerful anti-cancer food. Pomegranate contains a high amount of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that targets cancer cells and promotes apoptosis (death of cells). Although consuming the fruit in its whole form packs the most benefits, pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of green tea and significant chemopreventive activity as well.

Wondering how to add more of these amazing cancer-fighting rubies to your plate? We suggest trying this Spiralized Butternut Squash Noodles With Asparagus, Cashews, and Pomegranate, this Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower With Maple-Pomegranate Vinaigrette, and this Warm Fennel and Pomegranate Salad. This Chermoula-Spiced Karantita and Pomegranate Salad and this Pomegranate and Hazelnut Moroccan Grain Salad also make a great fall dinner.

2. CranberriesCranberry Stuffed Squash 1

Cranberries may be famous for their beneficial effect on UTIs but that’s hardly all they’re good for — these fall gems are actually powerful tumor fighters. Their anti-carcinogenic properties are derived from the high amount of flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and small phenolic acids they contain. Studies show that these compounds have strong cancer-cell growth inhibitory activity as well as the ability to induce death of existing cancer cells. In fact, a study showed that incubation of human breast cancer cells in 6.7 percent cranberry juice caused a 20 percent death rate of those cancerous cells in only 20 hours.

Want to enjoy cranberries and reap their incredible benefits? Give this Roasted Cranberry Stuffed Squash, this Spelt Salad with Oranges, Cranberries, and Feta, these Pumpkin Spice Empanadas with Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Filling, and this Sweet Potato Risotto with Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries a try. You won’t regret it!

3. Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprouts Stir Fry 1

Kids all over the world may look at them with disdain but that doesn’t matter — they’re good for you and delicious when you know how to prep them (check out 5 Ways to Get Anyone to Love Brussels Sprouts). Brussels sprouts, as part of the large Brassica family (cruciferous vegetables), have incredible benefits when it comes to preventing and fighting cancer. Sulforaphane, an antioxidant compound found in brussels sprouts, doesn’t only offer protection against tumor development, it also suppresses cancer cells. The chemopreventive effects of brussels sprouts means that eating them regularly can protect us against breast, hepatic, bladder, osteosarcoma, glioblastoma, leukemia, pancreatic, and melanoma cancers. Isn’t that amazing?

When it comes to adding brussels sprouts to our plate this fall, the options are (almost) endless. We recommended trying this Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry, this Apple, Parsnip, and Fennel Soup With Crispy Sage Brussels Sprouts, this Creamy Polenta With Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, and this Brussels Sprouts Pasta Casserole.

4. Delicata SquashDelicata Squash Stew With Chickpeas and Quinoa 2

Delicata squash, also called ‘winter squash’, is actually at its peak during fall. This starchy sweet squash is packed with impressive cancer-benefits because of the carotene it contains. Carotenoids, the type of antioxidants found in delicata squash have been found to inhibit cancer cells proliferation in breast cancer and prostate cancer. It’s also worth noting that these compounds play a role in preventing heart disease and other chronic diseases.

If you’re lacking inspiration and are looking for ways to include this squash into your diet, try out this Delicata Squash Stew With Chickpeas and Quinoa, these Sauteed Delicata Squash Rings, this Maple Cinnamon Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash, and this Delicata Squash Bake. This Autumn Mushroom and Squash Paella and these Toasted Quinoa Delicata Squash Bowls With Pickled Apples and Almond Butter Sauce are also amazing fall dishes that will delight your taste buds.

5. CauliflowerRoasted Cauliflower Piccata (c) William and Susan Brinson (1)

Even though cauliflower may seem like a bland and unexciting fall food at first, cauliflower is actually a good source of vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and phosphorous, and it’s a powerful ally against cancer. Also, it’s mighty tasty when you know how to prepare it! Like other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower contains isothiocyanates compounds, which are phytochemicals that have been shown to block the production of tumors.

Want to get your fill of cauliflower and enjoy rich and comforting fall meals? We suggest trying this Roasted Cauliflower Piccata With Mashed Potatoes With Sour Cream and Chives, this Miso Cauliflower Cashew Alfredo With Kale and Peas, this Creamy Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo, and this Butternut Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. You could also make this Chestnut and Roasted Cauliflower Soup With Lemon-Parsley Oil and these delicious Spicy Cauliflower Lentil Tacos.

6. CabbageLentil Stuffed Cabbage Rolls 1

Did you know that cabbage is one of the cheapest nutrient-rich vegetables there is? It is, and it has incredible cancer-fighting properties as well. Cabbage is rich in compounds called glucosinolates which have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells in hormone-sensitive cancers by their beneficial effect on sex hormones metabolism. Consuming cruciferous vegetables like cabbage on a regular basis is also linked with a decreased risk of developing lung and colorectal cancer.

Put cabbage on your plate this fall by making these Lentil Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, this Fettuccine With Garlicky Purple Cabbage and Cheesy Chickpea Sauce, this Butternut and Cabbage Mild Curry, and this Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage and Radicchio With Mustard Sauce. You also have to try this Chinese Cabbage Salad With Tofu and Spicy Peanut Dressing and these Cheesy Savoy Cabbage Chips!

7. Endives

If you’re unfamiliar with endives, they’re a fall delicacy in the same family as chicory and frisée, with crunchy, slightly bitter leaves. Endives contain a compound called kaempferol which in recent years has been discovered to play a role in preventing cancer. Kaempferol has especially been the subject of studies regarding its effect on ovarian cancer cells. It turns out that the compound may be a good candidate for the chemoprevention of ovarian cancers. Its potential benefits for other forms of cancers is still under investigation.

Not sure how to prepare endive? Give these Pan-Seared Belgian Endives With White Wine Orange Reduction, these Endive Boats With Sun-Dried Tomato Cheese, this Grilled Apricot and Endive Salad, and this Belgian Pear and Endive Salad a try. This Belgian Endive Soup is also perfect to have on a chilly fall night.

8. ArtichokeRoasted Artichoke With Garlic and Fennel

If all you know about artichokes is that they make a mean dip, we’re here to change that because these babies are filled with nutrition and are natural anti-cancer agents. Artichokes are packed with polyphenolic compounds who along with ferulic acid, another compound present in the edible part of the vegetable, have antiproliferative and chemopreventative effects in cancer cells.

Wondering how to add more artichoke to your diet? Making this Lemon-Roasted Artichoke With Garlic and Fennel, this Artichoke ‘Lobster’ Roll, this Artichoke and Spinach Risotto With Lemon Cashew Cream, and this Smoked Tofu and Artichoke Spinach Sandwich is a good place to start. We also recommend trying this Chickpea Artichoke Ricotta and this Healthy Artichoke Dip. You can also check out these 10 Tips for Cooking With Artichokes.

9. GarlicRosemary with Roasted Garlic Hummus

Garlic may leave you with stinky breath but we’re of the opinion that its anti-cancer benefits are worth its occasional unwanted side effects. Also, let’s be real — garlic is delicious! If you didn’t know, garlic contains bioactive sulfur compounds who have been shown to positively impact every stage of carcinogenesis. In other words, eating garlic kills cancer cells and keeps them from spreading while also affecting biological processes that reduce cancer risk. How amazing is that?

Add garlic generously to your favorite fall meals to reap the anti-cancer benefits or try this Rosemary With Roasted Garlic Hummus, this Mushroom Garlic Risotto, and these Garlic and Thyme Pan Seared Mushrooms. These Garlic Parmesan Potatoes and these 5-Ingredient Garlic Onion Black Bean Burgers are also amazing. Totally worth the undesirable breath if you ask us!

10. FennelFennel Bowl With Creamy White Beans and Dry Roasted Vegetables

This fall vegetable is quite unique both in appearance and taste with its frilly fronds and nutty licorice flavor but it deserves to get more recognition. Ethanol compounds found in fennel possess the ability to stop the proliferation of cancer cells and they also have strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Fennel is also very nutrient-rich, packed with manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and fiber.

Unfamiliar with fennel? Check out these 10 Ways to Cook with Fennel Tonight. Then try this Fennel Bowl With Creamy White Beans and Dry Roasted Vegetables, this Red Lentil Soup With Leek, Fennel, and Celery Heart, or this French Onion, Fennel, and Green Lentil Soup. You got to make this Creamy Baked Penne With Kale and Fennel and these Fennel Pies as well. Your taste buds and health will thank you!

Recommended Resources and Recipes to Get You StartedGolden Fennel Soba Noodle Soup

Want to find more info on healthy foods and tasty recipes featuring them? Here are a few articles that might interest you:

If you’re looking for more delicious and seasonal cancer-fighting recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Maple Cinnamon Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash