Celebrate the season, healthfully, with a superfoods recipe

December 14, 2013 | by

For many people, the holiday calendar is packed with parties, and superfoods – found by City of Hope scientists to have the potential to fight cancer – are an easy and good-for-you addition to a holiday menu.

Cancer-fighting mushrooms

Mushrooms have the potential to fight breast, prostate and lung cancer. Try them in this recipe. Photo courtesy of Katie Chin.

Take mushrooms, for example. Researcher Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., has found that white button mushrooms can help block hormones that cause breast cancer to grow and spread. Researchers are now studying this same hormone-blocking effect for prostate cancer. Further, a medicine derived from shiitake mushrooms is currently being tested for its ability to help the body boost the immune system to fight lung cancer.

Mushrooms even may help prevent fatty liver, slow down the formation of fat and reduce the incidence of metabolic diseases.

Chef and City of Hope culinary ambassador Katie Chin suggests a way to include mushrooms at holiday parties: Thai chicken lettuce cups. She shared the recipe from her latest cookbook, Everyday Thai Cooking, during our recent Community Science Festival at  City of Hope. It scored rave reviews from the Obama family when she visited the White House to talk about superfoods, she said.

Chin is a cookbook author, chef and television personality.  Here's her recipe:

Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

Ingredients
•    2 tablespoons oil
•    2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
•    1 garlic clove, minced
•    1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
•    1/2 pound ground chicken
•    ¼ cup canned chopped water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
•    ¼ cup finely chopped white button mushrooms
•    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
•    1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion, white and green parts
•    1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
•    salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
•    8 large butter lettuce leaves

Instructions
1.    Heat the oil in a wok or skillet on moderately high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the water chestnuts and mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
2.    Add the cilantro, green onion, fish sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Dish out and transfer to a serving bowl.
3.    Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves and allow guests to form their own wraps.

Chin also shared her tips for eating healthy and resisting temptation throughout the holiday season, when a smattering of holiday parties can derail diets. In the video below, she recommends eating a protein-rich snack before a party, plus focusing on the company and not the food while at the party. She also shares her tip for drinking in moderation.

View more healthy superfoods recipes »