Stray Away from Boring Iceberg by Adding Some Excitement to Your Salad to Start the Meal
We’ve put together an awesome list of why you should eat all the green goodness you can and even some red ones!
9 Reasons to “Eat Your Radishes!”
While many vegetables have been pushed upon us at the dinner table as kids, you don’t often hear “eat your radishes honey.” Broccoli, spinach, green beans and asparagus are the more common culprits, but it might be worth adding radishes to the repertoire. As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes have a host of health benefits but are typically under-appreciated – pushed around on crudité platters until they’re all that’s left and then drowned in ranch dressing to wash them down.
However, for both their health benefits and amazing array of flavors radishes top our list of foods to start paying more attention to and eating on a daily basis. Especially in the spring and early summer when they grow locally and can be picked at their height of freshness and flavor, radishes should be a staple item in your kitchen.
Beyond the natural zing and satisfying crunch they provide, here are nine reasons to “eat your radishes!”
1. Naturally cooling
Radishes are a naturally cooling food and their pungent flavor is highly regarded in eastern medicine for the ability to decrease excess heat in the body that can build up during the warmer months.
2. Soothe sore throats
Their pungent flavor and natural spice can help eliminate excess mucus in the body and can be especially helpful when fighting a cold. Radishes can help clear the sinuses and soothe sore throats too.
3. Aids digestion
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Radishes are a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system, helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins built up over time.
4. Prevents viral infections
Because of their high vitamin C content and natural cleansing effects, regular consumption of radishes can help prevent viral infections.
5. Eliminates toxins
In Eastern and Ayurvedic healing practices radishes are said to have effective toxin-purging effects, helping break down and eliminate toxins and cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
6. Protects against cancer
As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family (same family as broccoli and cabbage) radishes contain phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals that are cancer protecting.
7. Relieves indigestion
Radishes have a calming effect on the digestive system and can help relieve bloating and indigestion.
8. Low in calories, high in nutrients
With a very low-calorie count, less than 20 calories in an entire cup, radishes are a great way to add nutrients, fiber and tons of flavor to your meals without compromising your health.
9. Keeps you hydrated
With a high water content and lots of vitamin C as well as phosphorus and zinc, radishes are a nourishing food for the tissues and can help keep your body hydrated and your skin looking fresh and healthy all summer long!
Want a recipe to go along with your next bunch of radishes? Try our What is your favorite way to eat these delicious vegetables?
Dandelion Greens – so much more than a Weed!
This wild green is most commonly thought of as a weed, known best for its prolific yellow flowers. But dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious and healing greens you can buy or forage. The flowers are edible too. Dandelion greens have more vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, and iron than even broccoli.
Dandelion greens are powerful cleansers as they support proper digestion. They are a diuretic and a laxative, so they increase urine and stool production which supports the elimination of toxins. They also reduce swelling and have been shown to treat viruses, edema, gout, eczema, and acne. 1
Dandelion greens are one of the first greens to be harvested in the Spring and are best in salads when tender and young. However, the large dandelion greens make a great addition to green smoothies or they can replace the greens in our recipes for Sauteed Collard Greens or Mustard Greens in Coconut Milk.
If you wish to gather your own dandelion greens make certain to find a place safe from the use of pesticides and other chemicals. Roadsides, parks and public lawns are probably not safe areas for foraging your dandelion greens! Watch for them in specialty markets and health food stores in the early Spring.
Move over Popeye and make room for the “queen of greens,” kale. Gaining in popularity, kale is an amazing vegetable being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor.
Eating a variety of natural, unprocessed vegetables can do wonders for your health, but choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.
Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
What makes kale so exceptional? Here is why it’s a superstar vegetable — and ways to work it into your diet.
Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulfur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
Super-Rich in Vitamin K
Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin K is abundant in kale but also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens, and animal products such as cheese.
Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.
But too much vitamin K can pose problems for some people. Anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs. Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet.
Kale might be a powerhouse of nutrients but is also contains oxalates, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.
A staple in Asian cooking, this round-leafed vegetable may be less familiar to American cooks. Here’s what you need to know — including what its name means, how to wash it, and how to use it.
Bok Choy’s Name: Bok choy is sometimes referred to as white cabbage, not to be confused with Napa cabbage, which is also a type of Chinese cabbage. There are many kinds of bok choy that vary in color, taste, and size, including tah tsai and joi choi.
Bok Choy’s Family: Bok choy might look a lot like celery, but it’s a member of the cabbage family.
Bok Choy History: The Chinese have been cultivating the vegetable for more than 5,000 years.
Bok Choy Cultivation: Although the veggie is still grown in China, bok choy is now also harvested in California and parts of Canada.
Cooking with Bok Choy: Bok choy, known for its mild flavor, is good for stir-fries, braising, and soups and can also be eaten raw.
Cleaning Bok Choy: The leaves and the stalks can both be cooked, but should be separated before washing to ensure that both parts are thoroughly cleansed.
Keeping Bok Choy: For optimal freshness, don’t wash bok choy until you’re ready to use. Unused parts can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to six days.
Bok Choy Vitamins: The veggie is packed with vitamins A and C — one cup of cooked bok choy provides more than 100% of the recommended dietary allowance of A, and close to two-thirds the RDA of C.
What is escarole, you might be asking yourself? This green belongs in the endive family and is full of flavor and vitamins. In comparison to endive, escarole’s leaves are different-much broader and less bitter. Escarole is often used as a delicious side dish to many entrees, and it is also found in soups and salads.
Health Benefits Of Escarole
Escarole is chock-full of healthy nutrients. It has fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin K. You can prepare escarole essentially raw for salads, and you can even cook it a bit and mix it with lemon juice for a simple side. If you want to sneak some greens into your children’s next meal, slip some escarole into a nice warm soup. They won’t even realize how healthy it is until they are scooping up the last spoonful.
A simple escarole salad recipe is easy to make. Just tear out the lighter leaves of the escarole, and put them into a salad bowl. Toss the leaves with light store-bought or homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Then top the salad with sliced cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of goat cheese. Before serving, ask guests if they’d like some fresh ground pepper on top. If you don’t want to add in the goat cheese, try some croutons instead.
Steamed Escarole And Grilled Chicken
A perfectly healthy meal can be made with escarole and grilled chicken. You can steam several pieces of escarole with just a touch of garlic, salt, and pepper. It will take only a few minutes. Pair the escarole with a nice piece of seasoned grilled chicken. You can make the chicken on an outdoor grill or do it in a pan on the stove. Another option to steaming, of course, is braising. You can also make this elegant dish with fish in lieu of chicken. A nice tilapia or cod fillet will work the best.
Romaine Lettuce for a Better Salad
If you’re looking for a traditional and familiar lettuce, you can’t go wrong with romaine. Romaine lettuce is low calorie, high in water content, and packed with nutrients. It’s crunchy and sweet so it’s great for salads, wraps, and green smoothies.
The fiber in romaine is particularly cleansing and heart healthy. It combats cholesterol by preventing it from oxidizing and sticking to the insides of arteries. Romaine is full of vitamins A, K, C as well as folate, manganese, and chromium. 2
Lettuce is listed among the “dirtily dozen” by the Environmental Working Group. These are the 12 foods that test for the highest concentration of pesticide residue when grown conventionally. So be sure to buy your lettuce organic.
Lettuce and other greens are also prone to carrying microscopic bacteria and parasites, so it’s wise to remove these in a safe way. Soaking any of your suspect produce in a mild solution of apple cider vinegar will purge the bugs. Use one tablespoon of vinegar per gallon of water and soak for 15 minutes. 3
Romaine and leaf lettuce should be washed and dried before storing in the refrigerator. It will keep this way for up to 7 days. A salad spinner is a great investment for drying your lettuce without damaging the tender leaves.
Photography by Aric Attas
Originally Published on Vero Home Life & Design