Spinach is very versatile and it is easy to incorporate spinach into a diet. That is great because spinach has so many health benefits. Vitamin C, or ascorbate, is chemically the simplest vitamin. Unlike humans, plants can synthesise ascorbate, accumulating it up to 10% of the total water-soluble ‘carbohydrates’, according to research findings. The washing process of pre-packaged spinach, which uses circulating water with chlorine-based sanitiser, “can be a potential source of ascorbate loss and younger plant tissues often have higher ascorbate concentrations than older ones, e.g. in spinach.” (Food Chemistry 233 (2017) 237–246) So, if you are buying spinach for a salad, try the baby spinach that is sold unpacked and wash it yourself.
The following is very interesting too:
“Dark green leafy vegetables are primary food sources for lutein and b-carotene, however these bioactives have low bioavailability… Lutein liberation and in vitro accessibility were three-fold higher from spinach puree compared to whole leaves. Results for b-carotene liberation were similar, whereas that of b-carotene accessibility was only about two-fold.” (Food Chemistry 224 (2017) 407–413) This is good to know, well supports my recipe for Tabouleh. They call lutein ‘eye vitamin’.
Spinach can be added to many savoury dishes, raw or cooked. I prefer cooked spinach in winter and raw in summer. We are in the middle of the winter right now in Australia. And, here I am again with a new soup recipe. Please enjoy!
Cloudy Spinach Soup
2 cup vegetable stock
2 cup filtered water
250g diced turnip
150g leek white, thinly sliced
300g fresh baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small bunch of dill
salt and pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
*for vegan version replace eggs with 1/3 cup of almond milk
1. Cook diced turnip and leek in the vegetable stock and water mix until ready.
2. In the meantime, wash dill thoroughly and chop up. Put aside.
3. Beat the eggs until consistent and creamy. Put aside.
4. When leek and turnip are cooked, add seasoning, spinach leaves, dill and garlic.
5. As the soup starts boiling, immediately add beaten eggs in a thin running stream and rotate the soup with a ladder in one direction. Add lemon juice and switch off the heat.
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Courgette (Zucchini) is a simple and affordable fruit that is harvested immature. Some information about zucchini was collected in the other post for Zucchini Patties recipe. Young zucchini have a subtle taste and they are perfect for being used raw in salads. If you like cucumbers try to substitute them with young zucchini and you will increase your vitamin intake. Below recipe uses uncooked zucchini but not completely raw!
Marinated Zucchini Salad
5 small zucchini
100g soft goat cheese
Cashew tree produce cashew apples, and cashew apples have cashew seeds. The green seeds are processed, and we find them as light brown cashew nuts on the food store shelves.
From a traditional stir fry to a modern cashew milk, from breakfast to dinner, cashew nuts prove to be more versatile every day. Health benefits of the cashew nuts inspire not only many of us who experiment with home cooking but also some food manufacturers.
I had a few posts on legumes previously, please search ‘legumes’ to access them. Lentils are a high protein, high fibre member of the legume family.
Traditional hummus is made of chickpeas, and chickpea hummus is a very smart food.
Here is a comparison of the brown lentil and the chickpea for your review:
One cup of cooked brown lentils contains: Sugar 4g, Fiber 16g, Protein 18g, and Iron 37%. Total 230 Calories.
One cup of cooked chickpeas contains: Sugar 8g, Fiber 12g, Protein 15g, and Iron 26%. Total 269 Calories.
So, I’ve just experimented with hummus made of brown lentils, and I love it!
Brown Lentil Hummus
Fish is a healthy protein. It is a good source of Phosphorus, which is needed to build strong bones and teeth, and also filters out waste in your kidneys. Loads of information on the health benefits of fish is available now.
What I find amazing about the fish it is how it impacts blood sugar levels. I experimented with this with one of my family members who is 73 years old and has diabetes. The blood sugar levels in the morning were constantly showing between 9 and 11, and an opinion was formed that this health condition of 20 years cannot be improved due to age. I convinced them to eat fish and vegetables for lunch and dinner just for one week. Fortunately, the schedule was followed and after a few days the morning blood sugar levels showed 5.5, which is better than mine! (The same medication was taken.)
I know this diet is not the most convenient one as it is not easy to buy fresh fish every day and find different ways of cooking it.
Check out my Coconut Fish post, that recipe is very simple and meal portions can be frozen too. The below recipe has more ingredients but it is still simple and can be also frozen.
My Trio Colour Salad might sound too simple but it is elegant and very tasty. I also love this salad because:
- It’s convenient. The root vegetables can be stored very well, unlike the greens that you need to buy on a day. I use them raw in this salad so it is very quick to prepare.
- It’s excellent for weight management. These root vegetables are packed with nutrients, also are high in fibre that help to keep you feeling full longer and are also low in calories.
- It’s a healing salad. They reduce chronic inflammation due to Choline nutrient.
- It’s very healthy. Beets contain an antioxidant called Alpha-Lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
- It’s beneficial for your health. Carrot is a unique source of vitamin A.
You will need this Strip Slicer
Teff is a fine grain, it is less than 1mm diameter. Traditional Ethiopian bread is made using fermented teff flour, which is naturally gluten free. Teff, being a tiny grain, is rich in fibre. Teff also contains similar amounts of protein as lentils, about 13%.
This suggested recipe below is simple but a great entertainer. It is a very healthy choice, and quick to prepare. The Tzatziki is made with raw zucchini and has a few more secret ingredients to make it unique.
Tzatziki and Teff Crackers