4. Red Cabbage
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, physician and registered dietitian, votes for the cruciferous vegetable red cabbage.
"[It's] a great source of fiber; vitamins A, D, and K; folate; and lots of trace minerals with only 22 calories in one cup chopped," Gerbstadt says. "Rich in antioxidants, this veggie can boost cancer-fighting enzymes. You can eat it raw, cooked, sweet, savory, stand-alone in a dish like coleslaw, or added to almost anything from soups, to salads, casseroles, sandwiches, burgers, and more."
She suggests keeping a head of red cabbage in your crisper to inspire creative ways to add more color and nutrition to your meals.
5. Canned Tomatoes
Fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes are a staple in the pantry of Georgia State University professor emeritus Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD. "Everyone thinks fresh is best but cooking tomatoes helps release some of the disease-fighting lycopene so it is better absorbed," Rosenbloom says.
A study in the 2009 Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that a diet rich in tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer and that lycopene, a strong antioxidant, may also help prevent other types of cancer. Of course, many other lifestyle and genetic factors also affect cancer risk.
Stock your pantry with canned tomatoes for pizza, spaghetti sauce, and home-made salsa, or toss a can into soups, stews, casseroles, greens, or pasta dishes. And if your power goes out, "canned foods are a lifesaver," Rosenbloom says.
If canned tomatoes are not your favorite, how about low-sodium vegetable juice? Sheah Rarback, MS, RD, nominates vegetable juice that has been around for a long time with only 140 mg of sodium and that is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
6. Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
There are many yogurts on the market, and plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is a standout.
All yogurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.
Judith Rodriguez, PhD, RD, says, "Skip the extra sugar calories found in most yogurts and pump up the protein by choosing Greek yogurt." She adds that it contains twice as much protein, "which is great for weight control because it keeps you feeling full longer."
Rodriguez suggests pairing the tart yogurt with the natural sweetness of fresh fruit or your favorite whole grain cereal.