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Five Fall Faves: Foods that Fight Cancer

AICR’s Picks for Your Autumn Table

Cooler weather and shorter days mean new tasty and colorful cancer-fighting foods in the supermarket, like apples, winter squash and cranberries.

Take advantage of red, green and orange produce with these five fall favorites. We’ve got tips to help you get started, but keep reading to the end to see delicious recipes to wow your family and friends.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts look like dark green miniature cabbages. They fit the bill for AICR’s findings that foods with fiber, carotenoids (including beta-carotene) and vitamin C – lower risk for several common cancers.

As a cruciferous vegetable they contain glucosinolates, a compound that shows promise in lab studies to keep carcinogens from becoming active.

Roasting is a popular way to prepare Brussels sprouts, it brings out their natural sweetness.


Everyone can find an apple variety they like – whether sweet or tart. As a fruit that contains fiber and vitamin C, apples play a role in lowering risk for cancers of the colorectum, mouth, esophagus, lung and stomach.

The phytochemical, quercetin is one of the flavonoids in apple that, in lab studies, slows development of colon, lung and breast cancer cells.

You can incorporate apples into any part of a meal, from soup to dessert.

More Apples

There are dozens of apple varieties to choose from: popular ones for eating raw include Honeycrisp, Fuji, Braeburn, Gala, Pink Lady and Red and Golden Delicious.

Apples that keep their texture in cooking and baking are better for chutneys, cobblers and prepared with grains, vegetables and meats. Try Cortland, Jonagold, Winesap, Granny Smith and Rome Beauty.

Winter Squash: Spaghetti

Winter squash are nutritional powerhouses with vitamins A and C – nutrients that show cancer protective properties in lab studies. And as a food that contains fiber, it also helps protect against colorectum.

Most winter squash flesh is firm and can be cooked in chunks, but spaghetti squash cooks up – well, like spaghetti! If you haven’t tried it, gather the kids or grandkids around and make a fun spaghetti dinner – with squash.

Winter Squash Bowls

Use winter squash like acorn, butternut or kabocha as serving bowls – it’s another way to get kids interested in these healthful fall foods.

Cut the entire squash in half and roast until the flesh is tender. Fill halves with your favorite stuffing and return to the oven to heat through. Try a quinoa and bean mixture for a beautiful and delicious vegetarian meal.


These nuts boast fiber, minerals, protein and the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid. Best of all they add crunch and of course, a nutty flavor to salads, stir-fries, grain dishes and desserts.

Try spiced walnuts – sweet, hot or spicy.


Lab studies show that cranberries’ anthocyanins act as antioxidants to help protect DNA from damage that can lead to cancer.

In the kitchen, go beyond cranberry sauce – add fresh cranberries to rice pilaf and other whole grain sides, or mix them with sweeter fruits to serve as is or layered with yogurt.

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