There are particular times throughout each day when many of us reach for a little extra fuel to maintain our energy levels. Snacking can help us get from one meal to the next, but unfortunately, because of the hectic nature of modern society, it is all too common for us to choose unhealthy and fatty snack options. The ease of grabbing a bag of chips, candy bar, or Hostess cake from the vending machine often results in us consuming addictive and unhealthy sugars and fats. Instead of opting for these snacks day after day, however, we all have the choice to become healthier by choosing snacks that prevent cancer.
By increasing your understanding of the various foods that burn fat and fight cancer, you will be much more eager to grab a healthy snack alternative in favor of typical junk food. While we understand the need to reduce the intake of junk food and opt for healthier snack options, we can come up with creative snack solutions that supply us with real energy instead of the brief sugar high we obtain from unhealthy snacks. Furthermore, we can aim to eat snacks that contain natural cancer-fighting antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Here are five healthy and easy snacks that prevent cancer:
1.) Baked Blue Tortilla Chips and Homemade Salsa:
The health benefits that you can obtain from tortilla chips and salsa greatly depend upon the given product’s natural ingredients, cooking methods, and fat levels. Many tortilla chip and salsa manufacturers will deceivingly label their products with inaccurate health-focused advertisement. If you choose your chips and salsa wisely, however, the classic Mexican combo can be a staple to your new collection of snacks that prevent cancer.
The first thing to look for when you are purchasing tortilla chips is that they are baked, low in sugar, low in sodium, and low in fat. You should also opt for corn, whole grain, or whole wheat tortilla chips for added health benefits (avoid the deceptive label of multigrain). Blue corn tortilla chips, in particular, offer the greatest benefits.
If you decide to buy chips from the grocery store, we recommend you try Garden of Eatin’s Baked Blue Tortilla Chips. These healthy chips are made with organic blue corn, which has cancer-fighting properties such as anthocyanin, and flaxseed, which contains a cancer-preventative plant compound called phytoestrogens. Furthermore, these chips are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which according to Sarah Rafat, a senior dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center,
Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to reduce inflammation in the body. And a variety of cancers have been linked to chronic inflammation.”
Similar to the selection of tortilla chips that are offered at the grocery store, there are a wide variety of salsas that aren’t as healthy as we initially assume. Many of the well-known salsa brands notoriously fill their salsas with addictive levels of sugar and sodium in hopes of keeping you coming back for more. There is no doubt, however, that the vegetables used to make salsa can add a cancer-fighting punch to your diet.
Tomatoes, for example, contain lycopene which has been shown to stop cancer cell growth. Jalapeños and other peppers contain the cancer-fighting antioxidant capsaicin, and onions have been proven to be one of the world’s healthiest vegetables. To get the maximum health and anti-cancer benefits from your salsa, we recommend making it at home with fresh organic vegetables. To get started, you may want to check out a number of health-conscious salsa recipes.
2.) Raw Vegetables and Hummus:
Ever since we were young children, we have been told about the importance of eating our daily vegetables. Unsurprisingly, when we heed this advice and make it a priority to consume the health-promoting qualities that are found in vegetables, we feel healthier, look better, and function at higher levels. One way that we can assure ourselves that we are eating our vegetables, while also curbing our snacking desires, is by eating raw vegetables with hummus.
In comparison to cooked vegetables, many raw vegetables offer us unaffected levels of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Carrots, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower all have cancer-fighting properties and pair perfectly with hummus, a cancer-preventive food in its own right. Broccoli, in particular, is especially potent at combating cancer cells because of the sulforaphane compound that is found within it.
When eaten with hummus, a tasty dip made of chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, and lemon, you can consume other cancer-preventive vitamins, minerals, and compounds, such as folate. Studies have shown that individuals who regularly consume chickpeas, the main ingredient found in hummus, have around a 32% reduced risk of cancer. If you prefer to buy store-bought hummus, instead of making your own, you may want to try: Pita Pal Organic Roasted Red Pepper Hummus or Tribe Organic Classic Hummus.
3.) Trail Mix with Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Berries:
It is well documented that nuts, seeds, and berries all contain a wide variety of health-promoting nutrients, and we can create one of the simplest, yet healthiest, snacks that prevent cancer by mixing them together. Almonds have been shown to protect the body from free radicals and reduce the risk of colon cancer, walnuts contain high levels of ellagic acid and phytosterols, both of which combat cancer cells, and sunflower seeds contain cancer preventatives like vitamin E and selenium.
Berries, similarly, are rich in health-promoting vitamins and nutrients. Anthocyanin, the antioxidant that gives berries their distinctive red, blue, and black colors, can greatly assist in a cancer prevention diet. Dried raisins, blueberries, and cranberries all offer health-promoting qualities and can give you a boost of natural energy. To get the maximum benefits from trail mix, we recommend creating your own mixture at home.
If you aren’t inclined to do this, however, there are a number of good options that you can buy online or at some grocery stores. Three that we recommend giving a try are Eden’s Wild Berry Mix, Allgood Provisions Organic Trail Mix, and Navitas Naturals Organic 3 Berry-Cacao Nib-Cashew Trail Mix. It’s important to point out that if you are trying to lose weight, trail mix may not be your best snacking option because many nuts are high in calories and many trail mixes have sugary bits of candy in them.
4.) Plain Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit:
Within the past 10 years, there has been a major shift in how society consumes dairy products. Instead of relying on milk, cheese, and sour cream, more and more people are reaching for the health-promoting qualities of yogurt. It has become widely known that yogurt contains probiotics that regulate digestion, boost the immune system, and fight off cancer cells in the body (pick yogurts that say ‘live and active cultures’ on the packaging to ensure that the products have probiotics). Yogurt also contains beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.
Unfortunately, many yogurt manufacturers dilute the natural health benefits of yogurt by adding unnecessary sugar in hopes of hooking consumers on their particular brand. To truly receive the immense health benefits of yogurt, it is important to stay away from these sugar-enhanced options. We recommend plain Greek Yogurt because it contains more protein, less sugar, less sodium, and fewer calories than traditional yogurt.
By choosing plain Greek yogurt, and then adding fresh fruit (apples, oranges, berries) to give it a healthy sweetness, you can maximize the snacks cancer-fighting properties. Not only is this one of our favorite snacks because it prevents cancer, but also because it can satisfy a sweet tooth and curb hunger cravings.
5.) Air-Popped Popcorn:
If there is one of the five snacks listed in this article that you probably didn’t expect to see on the list, it would have to be popcorn. While the popcorn that you buy at the movie theater or microwave at home is typically anything but healthy, the unaltered health properties of this super grain snack are actually very life-supporting. There are particular ways that you can cook and prepare popcorn to make it into one of your favorite snacks that prevent cancer. In an article on the American Institute for Cancer Research’s website, Dr. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton tells us:
Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients, and although cereals are called ‘whole grain,’ this simply means that over 51 percent of the weight of the product is whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain.”
Whole grains contain numerous cancer-fighting nutrients and compounds such as phytic acid, saponins, and protease inhibitors. One of the keys to obtaining these health-promoting qualities and making popcorn a healthy snack is to cook it through the process of air popping. To do this, you could use either your microwave or an air popper, specifically made for this purpose, that you can buy for around $20. It is also important to resist the temptation of adding an excessive amount of butter and salt, as this will limit the health-promoting qualities that were just discussed.
These five healthy snacks that prevent cancer can certainly improve your health over time. If you plan on substituting some of your typical snacks in favor of these healthy and tasty alternatives, be sure to plan in advance because of the potential preparation time you will need.