Cancer Research UK is promoting November as their ‘Take the Veg Pledge’ month, asking people to go vegetarian for the full month and raise money for the charity at the same time.

The charity cites five good reasons why eating a plant-based diet will benefit us:

1. CUT THE RISK OF BOWEL CANCER. Eating lots of processed and red meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer. If you’re eating lots, it’s a good idea to try and cut down. How much is too much? People in the UK have 70g a day on average - that’s around 3 slices of ham – so try to stick within that.

2. BOOST YOUR INTAKE OF HIGH-FIBRE FOODS. When you cut down on meat, there’s more room on your plate for high-fibre foods like veg, wholegrains and pulses, like lentils and beans, which are all high-fibre foods that reduce the risk of cancer. 3. SAVE MONEY Meat is often the most expensive item in the shopping trolley. So, by eating less meat, not only are you helping your own health but also your bank account.

4. HELP OUR PLANET. The meat industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, so the World Health Organisation has said that one of the best ways we can personally take action against climate change is by eating less processed and red meat, and more fruit and veg.

5. LEARN SOME NEW RECIPES. By giving up meat, you have the opportunity to learn some new, tasty vegetarian recipes that you might not have otherwise tried. There’s plenty of delicious recipes online and if you try out a new one each week of November, you’ll soon have a staple collection that you know and love.

Probably the easiest way to get a good daily intake of vegetables, is by making a tasty soup. By using whatever vegetables are in season through the year, you will always be benefiting from the freshest ingredients, and it doesn’t take long to knock up a hearty, healthy bowl.

Eating a high amount of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, has been associated with a lower risk of cancer, particularly lung and colon cancer. Studies have suggested that sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite, is also what gives them their cancer-fighting power.

In addition, another important vitamin that broccoli contains, folate, has been found to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women.

Try this delicious soup from the New Covent Garden Soup Company, using cancer-beating broccoli and tangy horseradish.

Broccoli Soup with Lime & Horseradish 15g butter 1 small onion, chopped 110g potato, cubed 270g broccoli, chopped 850ml vegetable or chicken stock 1 lime, zest plus juice 2 tablespoons parsley and chives, chopped 2 teaspoons fresh horseradish, grated (or 1 tblspn hot horseradish from a jar) 2 tablespoons double cream salt & freshly ground black pepper Melt the butter and cook the onion and potato gently for 5 minutes, without colouring.

Add the stock and the zest and juice of the lime.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the broccoli in boiling water for 10 minutes until tender but still green.

Cool the potato mixture a little, then liquidise.

Add the broccoli and liquidise briefly so you can still see bits of broccoli.

Return to the pan and add herbs, cream, horseradish and seasoning to taste.

Garnish with chopped herbs and croutons.

The Northern Echo: