You may never have thought about lonely little herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme being first line defenses against some diseases but they can be. For anyone who has dabbled or dealt with essential oils, chances are that person can tell you the benefits since many essential oils come from herbs. The health benefits are far reaching!
Try adding small amounts of herbs to anything savory you cook including meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. Not only do the herbs give foods a layered taste, but also, added health benefits. Here are some suggestions where to use herbs:
Here are some Recipe Ideas:
We all know the Mediterranean diet is healthy and guess what is a major staple in this way of eating?
Yup- tomatoes! Tomatoes are a powerhouse of carotenoids with the best known one being lycopene, which by the way, is also high in last week’s featured food- watermelon. Lycopene has high antioxidant activity. Translated: they protect our cells from damage. Most notably, tomatoes have been shown to protect against prostate cancer, UV skin damage and even pancreatic cancer. Some tips for getting the most out of your tomatoes: eat the skins where most of the carotenoids are and eat some fat with your tomatoes like olive oil or avocado. The fat helps us absorb the beneficial compounds in tomatoes.
These 8 AMAZING facts about tomatoes, and more info on their health benefits, and how to prepare are from:
EIGHT amazing facts about tomatoes!
Your Recipe: Gazpacho
Try this amazing gazpacho recipe to use up all those summer tomatoes in your garden:
1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
Copyright 1999 The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
There are plenty of good reasons to eat watermelon. It is:
Here's Your Recipe (great for summer cookouts)
Cucumber- Mint Watermelon Salad
Enjoy within 1-2 hours.
Ok, so kale is so…. 2015, right? Well, it does not diminish its superfood status! Kale rose to superfood status for good reason- it is extremely healthy. If you have not had it yet, now is the time to try it. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods on our planet. That means for the little number of calories it contains, it gives us back huge amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, K and C and a good source of copper, magnesium, vitamin B6 and calcium. It also contains sulfur compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer and help our livers do their detoxifying jobs. Finally, kale is good for our eyes as it has certain antioxidants that are especially beneficial for our eyesight. That’s nothing to blink about!
Try raw kale in salads, either mixed in with other greens or as a stand- alone. Tip: it is easier to chew raw kale if the salad is prepared a day in advanced and allowed to sit overnight. Another tip: “bruise” your kale by adding a drizzle of olive oil and squeezing it in your hands.
Your Recipe: Sauteed Kale
Try this easy sautéed version. I like to add a little feta cheese at the end:
SERVINGS = 4
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and let them sizzle a bit in the oil.
Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.
Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all (most) the liquid has evaporated. The kale should still remain bright-ish green.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Total Fat 8 g
Sodium 75.6 mg
Carbohydrate 18.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
Sugars 1.2 g
Protein 5.8 g
If kale just isn’t your thing, keep adding it to your green smoothies.
Liz Weinandy, M.P.H., R.D.
Besides being a member of the 614Fitness community, Liz is a Registered Dietitian and staff dietitian at the OSU Wexner Medical Center. She has published numerous articles on diet and appears often on local television.