Integrative health recipe corner: cherry berry smoothie & avocado strawberry caprese
The American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) and American Cancer Society’s (ACS) recommendations for cancer prevention and survivorship include a diet full of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits provided fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other plant compounds that have been found to reduce cancer risk. Not only are vegetables and fruits helpful for cancer prevention, they are also important components for the prevention of other chronic diseases.
Here are a couple of recipes that can help provide nutritional benefits while helping to beat the heat of the summer.
Cherry Berry Smoothie
Having a smoothie for breakfast is a terrific way to incorporate several portions of fruits and vegetables into your diet at the start of your day. If you are typically rushed in the morning, you can place all of the ingredients in a blender the night before and refrigerate. This leaves only the blending for the next morning.
- 1 cup fresh mixed berries (or 1 cup of any single berry)
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- ½ cup unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk (more as/if needed)
- 2 cups fresh, well-washed spinach leaves
- ¼ cup unsalted (roasted or raw) walnuts
Instructions: Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- If possible and affordable, consider using organic ingredients. Frozen organic fruits can frequently be found in large bags at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.
- You can use fresh or frozen fruits, or use more or less milk, depending upon your preference for a thicker or thinner smoothie. For example, the more frozen fruits you use, the thicker your smoothie.
- If your preference is to use cow’s or another milk as your smoothie base, feel free to substitute that in the recipe.
Avocado Strawberry Caprese
This recipe is a terrific salad incorporating some of summer’s bounty: basil, tomatoes, strawberries and avocado. Add a light dressing made of a balsamic vinegar reduction and extra-virgin olive oil and you have a salad that is refreshing and slightly sweet.
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and diced
- 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chiffonade cut
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Toasted sesame seeds or chopped pecans, for serving
- In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium heat. Once the vinegar starts to simmer, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 6-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the strawberries, tomatoes, avocado, and basil into a large shallow bowl.
- Drizzle on the oil and gently toss until the vegetables and fruits are coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss again just briefly.
- Top your salad with the desired amount of toasted seeds or pecans. Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar reduction.
- Serve immediately.
Note: This salad is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for a few hours if necessary.