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May 17, 2011 | 2 minute read

An All-Star Dish

One of the easiest recipes ever is this week’s Health-e-Recipe for Veggie Casserole. It puts 9 vegetables (plus garlic and oregano) on your plate.

The protection you’re getting from all these veggies is a lot more complicated than the dish. Hundreds of phytochemicals in plant foods appear to work together to protect our health in ways scientists are still discovering.

Phytochemicals abound in every veggie here: it’s like an all-star team of cancer-fighters. Butternut squash and carrots give you beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that may help keep your body’s cells healthy.  The mushrooms contain aromatase inhibitors, cancer-fighting compounds that some findings say may fend off breast cancer.

What’s more, the garlic is rich in protective organosulfide phytochemicals for a number of anti-cancer benefits and the tomatoes are high in lycopene, a substance that studies say might help prevent prostate cancer.  The green pepper has vitamin C and the green beans add digestion-friendly fiber to that of the other veggies, including the potato and zucchini. Even the oregano contributes carnosol and quercetin, two more phytochemicals.

When you want a little cheese but don’t want too much fat, Parmesan or Romano are great choices. They are hard cheeses with a strong taste, so a little goes a long way — especially when freshly grated over a dish like this.

For more delicious recipes, visit AICR’s Test Kitchen. Click here to subscribe to weekly Health-e-Recipes.

Photo copyright: fotolia.

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