For those with a cancer diagnosis, healthy lifestyle behaviors may improve outcomes, quality of life, and self-esteem.  Several studies provide evidence that nutrition is an important influencing factor for either tumor progression, recurrence, or survival.

A recent survey showed that 6 in 10 Americans are concerned about developing cancer, but only 1 in 4 change their life habits for a lifestyle that may prevent cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, half of cancer cases are preventable.

Those key lifestyle habits include:

  • healthy eating
  • physical activity
  • avoiding tobacco
  • limiting alcohol
  • maintaining a healthy weight

For more information about cancer prevention, visit the American Institute for Cancer Research.

A special note for immunotherapy: Recent studies have shown that eating a high fiber diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is associated with better effectiveness of immunotherapy.

The recipe of the week comes via the American Institute for Cancer Research and is a colorful side salad for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Kale, Butternut Squash, and Pomegranate Salad

 Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (can also sub pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds)
  • 2 large bunches Tuscan kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place cubed butternut squash on baking sheet and drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the top. Add whole garlic cloves, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the butternut squash with oil and spices. Spread butternut cubes evenly around pan and roast for 30-40 minutes until squash is fork tender.

While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are just golden brown, 2–3 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare the kale by slicing it into thin strips. Add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt and massage into kale to wilt. Set aside.
*Note: if you are prepping the day ahead, only add the lemon and massage the kale the day it’s served.

When the squash and garlic are done roasting, remove the garlic pieces and add them to a medium bowl or food processor. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and shallot. Whisk or pulse until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine kale with about 3/4 of the dressing and toss until kale is lightly coated. Add more dressing to taste and reserve any leftover for another use.

Add roasted squash and pomegranate seeds to the kale. Toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, and top with toasted walnuts.