Lycopene, a strong antioxidant, is what gives tomatoes their red color. "It plays a major role in helping cells communicate, mainly by rallying healthy ones to band together and kill a "sick" cell that could become cancerous," says Steven Pratt, M.D., the author of SuperHealth. But keep in mind that your body better absorbs lycopene from foods when they're cooked and served with a little bit of fat.
Jumbo Tomato-Chickpea Bruschetta
Sauté four cloves chopped garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add three chopped fresh tomatoes and a 15-oz. can of drained and rinsed chickpeas; simmer for two minutes. Place a slice of toasted whole-grain bread in each of four bowls. Top with tomato mixture, chopped arugula, and shaved Parmesan.
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"Swap Swiss chard for spinach and you'll get similar amounts of important antioxidants-like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lutein—which fight cell damage and strengthen your immune system," says Shin. But this dark, leafy green is less bland, so you get a flavorful boost when you add it to pasta dishes, soups, and stir-fries.
Swiss Chard with Olives and Golden Raisins
Brown one chopped onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add one bunch thinly sliced Swiss chard, chopped pitted green olives, and golden raisins; sauté for about six minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over polenta or couscous, or as a side dish with fish or pork.
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"Resveratrol, which is found in red and purple grape skins, is a plant estrogen, and getting enough of it can lower your breast cancer risk because it blocks the effects of the stronger estrogen your body makes," says Pratt. It also boosts immunity and fights cell-damaging free radicals.
Sautéed Grapes with Spicy Chicken Sausage
Sauté four sausages for about 12 minutes. Transfer to a covered dish. In the same pan, brown one chopped red onion and 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary in 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add 2 cups grapes, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon honey. Cook for six minutes. Add sausages and cook for six minutes more.
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