Having trouble eating your five to nine servings of fruit and veggies a day? This may motivate you: certain foods can actually prevent cancer. If we all got our daily dose, there could be 200,000 fewer deaths from cancer every year. Fortunately, you aren't limited to a lifetime of broccoli. These six fruits and veggies offer just as much powerful protection for your breasts and the rest of your body—and they'll help fight diet boredom too.
A study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that artichokes had the highest antioxidant capacity of 40 vegetables and herbs tested. "Like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, artichokes are rich in flavonoids, which help slow the growth of breast and other types of cancer cells in lab studies," says Dong Moon Shin, M.D., a professor and Frances Kelly Blomeyer chair in cancer research at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta. Check out this amazing skinny stuffed artichoke recipe to help get your fill.
Boil four artichokes for 30 minutes; drain. In the same pot, brown two chopped celery stalks, one chopped onion, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 cup red wine, a 28-oz. can of chopped tomatoes, and four cloves minced garlic. Place artichokes in tomato mixture; spoon mixture over then. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes or until artichokes are tender.
More: Skinny Artichokes With Skinny Garlicky Dip
High in polyphenols and vitamin C (both antioxidants), this fruit helps fight breast cancer. "Dozens of lab and animal studies show that pomegranates may halt the spread and recurrence of the disease," says Lynne Eldridge, M.D., co-author of Avoiding Cancer One Day at a Time.
Simmer 16 oz. unsweetened whole frozen raspberries and strawberries, half cup sweetened pomegranate juice, and a handful of chopped candied ginger for five minutes. Stir in seeds from two whole pomegranates; sweeten with honey to taste. Serve warm of cold over oatmeal, whole-grain waffles, or yogurt. You can also use the compote as a topping for roast chicken or pork.
More: 5 Nutritional Steps to Prevent Breast Cancer
This type of Chinese cabbage is milder then green cabbage or kale, but like those veggies, it's packed with isothiocyanates. "These sulfur compounds help your body convert some of the estrogen it make into a weaker form, which helps protect your breasts," says Karen Collins, P.D., a nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Don't overcook bok choy; that reduces its anti-cancer properties.
Bok Choy-Shrimp Stir-Fry
Stir-fry three heads thinly sliced baby bok choy (or one large head), one sliced sweet red pepper, chopped scallions, a few cloves garlic, and minced ginger in 2 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil for about three minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add 3/4 pound peeled medium shrimp, a dash of low-sodium soy sauce, and a few toasted walnuts. Heat for two or three minutes more or until shrimp are just cooked through. Serve with brown rice.
More: 6 Green Superfoods to Add to Your Diet