Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Sprouted Garlic

March 25, 2014


We were always under the impression that once  garlic had sprouted, it was on its way out. Those green shoots were a supposed indication that the garlic had passed its prime, accompanied by the ominous warning that sprouted garlic was the cause of nasty morning-after garlic breath.

A recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry suggests that those green sprouts may be actually be filled with heart healthy antioxidants.

After researchers in Korea (a country that knows their garlic!) observed the growth in old heads of garlic for five days, they concluded that the seedlings contained new compounds to protect the plant against pathogens. These compounds also increased the antioxidant levels in the older bulbs.

No word on whether or not the age of the garlic has any effects on the breath issue.

Sprouting carrots, onions, chickpeas, beans and wheat may also be safe to eat, as long as they are not beginning to soften. Potatoes however, are considered poisonous once they begin to sprout, or form “eyes,” and should be avoided.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Peas Please

July 8, 2013


It’s pea season, and the farmer’s markets are brimming over with shell peas. Pop the pods open and roll out the tiny green peas nestled inside. Each pod only contains a few, so if you are thinking about peas for a crowd, invite someone else to join in the task.

Lots of pods...

Lots of pods…

There are lots of reasons to eat your peas. They are high in protein, vitamin C, fiber and other healthy micronutrients and antioxidants.

Once extracted, the peas can be eaten raw, boiled for 20-30 seconds just to soften them slightly, or quickly sautéed. They are great as a side dish, with just a little butter and salt, or tossed into a salad. Peas are versatile, and can be used in pastas with a creamy or lemony sauce, or pureed into soups, and spreads. Add them to risotto, or grind them into pesto. There isn’t much these little green wonders won’t work with.

Not so many peas...

Not so many peas…

Feel free to share your favorite pea recipes in the comment section!

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Tiny Seed; Big Benefits

July 31, 2012

Flaxseed has been around for thousands of years, but its assets are just recently becoming known.

These little seeds pack big benefits, including lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing bone loss, promoting weight loss, increasing immunity and fighting cancer.

Flaxseed is high in vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and manganese, as well as the B vitamins.

It is full of fiber and phytochemicals including many powerful antioxidants.

Flaxseed’s inflammation fighting power comes from being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, flaxseed oil has a significantly higher percentage of plant based omega-3’s, called alpha-linoleic acids than walnut or canola oil.

So, how do you add these little wonders into your diet?

Sprinkle toasted flaxseeds on your cereal or oatmeal.

Add them to salads for a nutty crunch.

Sprinkle a little on your fruit and yogurt.

Grind them up and add them to soups, stews and smoothies.

Mix a little ground flaxseed into homemade piecrusts, or breads.

Keep flaxseeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator for best storage, and introduce them into your diet for better health. You might just find you enjoy the added flavor!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Too Good to be True?

April 4, 2012

Last week was full of great news on the food front. It seems that all my favorite foods were found to have health benefits. How often does that happen?

A new study by the University of Scranton found that the hull of popcorn is rich in antioxidants that have disease-fighting properties and prevent damage to cells.

Of all the whole grains, popcorn is one of the least processed. It is extremely high in fiber, and relatively low in calories…that is until we pop it in lots of oil, and slather it with butter and salt.

Air popped popcorn is the healthiest method of preparation. Microwave popcorn can also be low in calories, but the chemicals in the bags have been found to cause respiratory problems after prolonged exposure.  The “DIY” version is a great alternative. Just put kernels in an untreated brown paper bag, and fold the top over several times. Toss it in the microwave, and zap until the popping slows down.
Season it lightly with sea salt, or some Parmesan cheese.

Caveat: The doctors admitted that further studies were needed to determine if the high fiber content causes the popcorn to pass so quickly through the body that the antioxidants do not have any significant effect.

“Eating chocolate can make you thinner!”

That was a headline that made me look twice.

A study from the University of California at San Diego has discovered that people who eat chocolate regularly have a lower BMI (body mass index) than those who do not.

The team surveyed over 1000 people between the ages of 20 and 85 years old about their eating habits. While the chocolate eating group did not report eating fewer calories or exercising more than their non-chocolate eating counterparts, they consistently had lower BMIs.

The doctors are hypothesizing that there are metabolic benefits to chocolate that would off set the calories consumed “in moderation.” It is speculated that the caffeine in the chocolate could be the cause of the metabolic boost. Dark chocolate is also an antioxidant.

Beware: Most chocolate is very high in fat and sugar, and packs a mean calorie punch. Opt for a tiny piece of dark chocolate, or a bit of Dutch processed cocoa.

I love a little dark cocoa mixed into some Greek yogurt or fat free ricotta cheese as a creamy low calorie dessert.

Red wine has long been touted as a heart healthy drink. A substance called resveratrol is the key ingredient in red wine that has been attributed to lowering “bad cholesterol” and preventing blood clots.  However, the risks associated with drinking alcohol are thought to be much greater than the benefits.  For healthy people, drinking red wine in moderation can be a good thing. For those who are pregnant, have heart problems, take aspirin, or for those with addiction issues, wine is not recommended.

While all of this appears to be great news, the studies admit that their findings are inconclusive. For now, I will stick to the idea that chocolate, popcorn and wine are treats to be indulged in in moderation, and count on my healthy diet and exercise routine to keep me in optimum health.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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