Living with cancer blog

Add colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. August 17, 2013

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it's summer — time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens or the local farmers markets. Summertime is a great time to get in the habit of adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Your body needs a healthy diet to function at its best. This is especially important if you have cancer.

As you are choosing your favorite produce, remember to choose color. Deeper colors usually mean that fruits and vegetables are richer in phytonutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Phytonutrients have been shown to help fight chronic illness, prevent cancer and strengthen the immune system.

Think of dark purple eggplant and blackberries, which are full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Also consider dark green zucchini, spinach, kale and lettuces, which are also rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Bright red tomatoes are full of lycopene and antioxidants. Orange cantaloupe melon is rich in vitamins A and C, minerals and hydrating water.

As we transition into the fall and winter seasons — look for winter greens, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash and citrus fruits full of rich vitamins and fiber.

Pick up a few of your favorites this week. Look for bright color and freshness. Wash and rinse well with water or a water-vinegar mix to make sure the produce is clean and safe prior to eating.

A summer menu might include a simple salad with lettuces, tomatoes and a healthy addition of toasted walnuts or almonds. Follow this with grilled eggplant and zucchini with a drizzle of olive oil. And for dessert, enjoy a slice or two of melon with a handful of berries.

What are your favorite colorful fruits and vegetables? Write back with your thoughts and inspire additional menu ideas.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Aug. 17, 2013