One of the first signs that winter is over, asparagus is bursting with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.
- Recent research has shown that asparagus contains saponins, phytonutrients that fight inflammation and chronic diseases such as cancer. They also help with blood pressure and blood-sugar regulation.
- Asparagus is also rich in glutathione, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and several flavonoids that make it an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powerhouse.
- Inulin, a prebiotic, is found in asparagus (as well as in chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke and other foods). It helps nourish probiotic (good) bacteria in the large intestine that improves nutrient absorption and balances biochemistry while lowering the risk of allergies and many chronic diseases. Because asparagus is also high in fiber, it’s excellent for digestive health.
- High amounts of B vitamins in asparagus help lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine and contribute to heart health.
Celebrate the Delicate Side of Cabbage this St. Patrick’s Day.
- One cup of raw, shredded savoy cabbage provides 60 percent of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin K, which is important for healthy blood coagulation and maintaining bone mass. It’s also loaded with vitamin C, phytonutrients and fiber.
- When cooked, savoy’s vitamin K disappears. But steaming or lightly boiling savoy makes other vitamins — especially vitamins C and A — more accessible during the digestion process.
- Raw, shredded napa cabbage offers plenty of vitamin C, plus some vitamin A and calcium. The vegetable’s folate, manganese, copper and iron are not readily accessible to the body when it’s raw.
- When steamed or lightly boiled, though, a cup of napa cabbage delivers 12 percent of your RDA of folate, as well as a healthy mix of manganese, vitamins A and C, copper, and iron.
- The strong flavor of cabbage comes from its glucosinolates, which contain sulfur and nitrogen. Glucosinolates and isothiocyanates are phytochemicals in cabbage that help ward off cancer. By signaling the genes to increase production of certain enzymes, cabbage’s phytonutrients also help optimize the body’s detoxifying abilities.
- Raw cabbage juice has been shown to be effective in treating peptic ulcers.
- Purée chickpeas with olive oil, fresh garlic, tahini (sesame seed paste) and lemon juice to make hummus, which you can serve with pita, vegetables or as a sandwich spread to accompany meats, vegetables or fish.
- For a crunchy, flavorful snack, season chickpeas with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss with rosemary and balsamic vinegar, then roast at 200 degrees F for 45 minutes. Stir, then roast for another 15 minutes.
- Add chickpeas to vegetable soups to enhance flavor and protein content.
- Sauté chickpeas in olive oil with garlic, then combine with spinach, tomatoes, feta and quinoa pasta for a fast, delicious and nutritionally balanced meal.
- Chickpea (garbanzo) flour makes a flavorful, light and nutritious whole-grain alternative to wheat flour in pancakes, fritters, crackers and polenta.
Tempeh Nutrition Know-How
- A 4-ounce serving of cooked tempeh provides 41 percent of the daily recommended amount of protein.
- Tempeh is a good source of probiotics, gut-friendly microbes that help control harmful bacteria in the body.
- Rhizopus oligosporus, a fungus used to ferment tempeh, produces a natural antibiotic that is effective against certain harmful bacteria.
- Tempeh is high in riboflavin, which helps the body produce and regenerate glutathione. This key antioxidant, which can be depleted by stress, poor diet, pollution, toxins, medication and a host of other stressors, is essential to your immune system and detoxification process and helps prevent chronic illness.
- The fermented soy in tempeh is high in vitamin K2, which can help prevent osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and diseases of the brain — including dementia.
- Tempeh’s isoflavones have been shown to reduce symptoms of menopause in women and to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
- The protein and fiber in tempeh can help regulate blood-sugar levels. Tempeh’s fiber also helps remove carcinogenic toxins from the body and may be able to lower rates of colon and breast cancer.
- Tempeh is rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, phosphorous and potassium.
Both Paleo and vegan diets have become popular in the last few years. But what are their pros and cons, and how might they affect your health? We assembled a roundtable of experts to make sense of the debate.
(And, apart from the article debate among the experts, check out the debates going on in the comments - some interesting stuff!)