A diet rich in beta-carotenoids has been shown to lower breast cancer risk, as well help prevent the most serious and aggressive forms of breast cancer. Here are three simple and utterly delicious ways to increase your consumption of foods rich in these important nutrients.
Tri-Color Grilled Bell Peppers
When bright-colored peppers flood your local farmers’ market, it’s time to fire up the grill and take advantage of their abundance.
Halve peppers, scoop out the seeds, and brush or spray with olive oil.
Place the peppers, skin side down, on a hot grill. Cook until they’re showing char marks, then turn them over. Continue to cook until the peppers are softened, but still hold their shape. Note: Red peppers are especially rich in beta-carotene.
Remove the peppers from the grill, and slice them into strips. Serve as a side dish; grilled peppers go great with all kinds of meat.
Double Melon Agua Fresca
Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon are available at markets year-round, but they’re especially plentiful in the summer — making them the perfect base for a refreshing hot-weather drink. In Mexico, agua fresca is made with fruit and water; but to really enhance the drink’s nutrition, make it with simply melon and lime juice.
Cut the melons of your choice into peeled chunks, and place in a blender. Add a large pinch of salt (to enhance flavor), and the juice of a lime.
Blend until smooth. Add sugar to taste (if desired), and blend again. Serve with a twist of lime.
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Apricots
Dried apricots are particularly high in beta-carotene. Deliciously sweet, with a tart undertone, they pair wonderfully with dark chocolate — another antioxidant-rich food.
Place chopped dark chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet) in a bowl, and heat in the microwave just until the chocolate starts to soften. Stir to help it melt. If necessary to melt completely, return to the microwave and heat in short bursts, stirring until smooth.
Dip dried apricots in the melted chocolate, using a toothpick, skewer, or just your fingers. Place dipped apricots on a piece of waxed paper, parchment, or plastic wrap to set.
Enjoy! Store at cool room temperature; or wrap well and refrigerate.
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PJ Hamel is senior digital content editor and food writer at King Arthur Flour, and a James Beard award-winning author. A 16-year breast cancer survivor, her passion is helping women through this devastating disease. She manages a large and active online survivor support network based at her local hospital and shares her wisdom and experience with the greater community via HealthCentral.com.