EGGPLANT — or aubergine as it is called in France, is a vegetable long prized for its beauty as well as its unique taste and texture.
In addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidant activity. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such as caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin.
Research on eggplant has focused on the anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage, particularly the cells of the brain.
The predominant phenolic compound found in all varieties tested is chlorogenic acid, which is one of the most potent free radical scavengers found in plant tissues. Benefits attributed to chlorogenic acid include anti-cancer, antimicrobial, antiviral and cholesterol lowering activities.
When laboratory animals with high cholesterol were given eggplant juice, their blood cholesterol was significantly reduced, while the walls of their blood vessels relaxed, improving blood flow.
Although available year-round, they are most abundant Now, July to October. My favorite way to cook eggplant is to either grill or roast it. Slice it into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush it with olive oil, sprinkle S&P, and grill or roast. Add it to sandwiches, salads, or pasta.
Not your typical vegetable, ginger generally considered an herb has long been regarded as having many therapeutic benefits. Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
- Gastrointestinal Relief. Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, ranging from intestinal gas to nausea to colon cancer. Ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness as well as very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
- Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells, suggests research presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.
- Ginger has profound anti-inflammatory effects. Gingerols are very potent anti-inflammatory compounds. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly.
Ginger is so concentrated with active substances, you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.
Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form. Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for up to six months.The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more potent kick.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Add extra inspiration to your rice side dishes by sprinkling grated ginger.
- Combine ginger, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing.
- Add ginger and orange juice to puréed sweet potatoes.
- Spice up your healthy sautéed vegetables by adding freshly minced ginger.
This member of the onion family is loaded with flavonols, compounds that work to keep your blood vessels flexible and prevent blood clots that can lead to a heart attack. (Other good sources of flavonols are yellow onion, kale, brocolli and tomato.) One flavonol in particular, kaempferol, may be especially heart friendly. Leeks are also rich in the B vitamin, folate, which is also reported to be cardioprotective.
Before using leeks, it is important to clean them well. Finely chopped leeks are ideal for recipes where you want a subtle onion flavor (tarts, gratins, soups, sauces) – use the white and light green portions.