Food Spotlight: Crunchy Carrots and Tasty Tomatoes

The preventative properties and healing power of fruits and vegetables cannot be disputed. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with sufficient fruit and vegetable consumption. A daily dose of ample amounts of fruits and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. Worldwide, low fruit and vegetable intake accounts for 19 percent of gastrointestinal cancer, 31 percent of ischaemic heart disease, and 11 percent of stroke.

Additionally, epidemiological studies concluded that a lower risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer, has been related to diets rich in cruciferous vegetables and vitamin-containing foods. Take a look at yet another study published in the British Journal of Cancer, which found a decreased risk of malignant mesothelioma among subjects reporting a high consumption of cartenoid-containing fruits and vegetables. According to the study:

After statistical adjustment for occupational asbestos exposure, the odds ratio was 0.2 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.1-0.8] for carrot consumption and 0.5 [95% CI 0.2-1.4] for tomato consumption. However, the frequency of consuming other foods that have a high vitamin A or cartenoid content was not associated with a decreased risk of cancer. The results provide some justification for the hypothesis that provitamin A or B-carotene may decrease the risk of mesothelioma.

Though treatment plans for mesothelioma are often unique to the individual, in many cases, incorporating proven foods such as tomatoes and carrots may help control inflammation, increase immunity, and boost nutrient levels in the body. Tomatoes provide:

Flavonones – naringenin, chalconaringenin
Flavonols – rutin, kaempferol, quercetin
Hydroxycinnamic acids – caffeic acid, ferulic acid, coumaric acid
Carotenoids – lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene
Glycosides – esculeoside A
Fatty acid derivatives – 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid

Along with prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer are the two best-studied areas involving tomatoes and cancer risk. Research on tomatoes and breast cancer risk has largely focused on the carotenoid lycopene, and there is fairly well documented risk reduction for breast cancer in association with lycopene intake (

Carrots are one of America’s most popular root vegetables. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. Carrots provide:

Carotenoids – alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein
Hydroxycinnamic acids- caffeic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid
Anthocyanindins – cyanidins, malvidins

Studies have shown that carrot extracts have the ability to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells. These studies evaluated the effects of drinking about 1.5 cups of fresh carrot juice a day.

In many cases, cancer patients may find it difficult to consume juice, water or just about anything following chemotherapy or radiation treatments. In addition, some foods may be restricted based on a number of reasons from overall health to other unrelated conditions. Before adding any recipe to your diet, talk to your doctor or refer to your own individual list of permitted foods. If you find restricted foods on the list, simply swap it with a suitable substitute. If there are no restrictions, proceed, tweaking to your own taste and body’s reaction as you go along.

Carrot and Tomato Recipes

Watermelon-Peach Salsa and Tomatoes

1/2-cup hot pepper jelly
1-tablespoon lime zest
1/4-cup fresh limejuice
2 cups seeded and diced fresh watermelon
1 cup peeled and diced fresh peaches
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

Whisk together pepper jelly, lime zest, and limejuice in a bowl; stir in watermelon and next 3 ingredients. Season halved baby tomatoes with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; spoon into cocktail glasses. Top with salsa. Garnish, if desired.

Southern Living
July 2011

Coriander Glazed Carrots

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
2 pounds baby carrots (preferably rainbow), tops trimmed
1/2-cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh limejuice
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coriander seeds and toast 30 seconds. Add the carrots, then stir in the orange and limejuice, brown sugar, 1/4-cup water, 1/2-teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are almost tender, 13 to 15 minutes.

Uncover, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the cilantro.

Food Network
February 2011