Grapefruit: Ruby Star of Winter

standard January 12, 2015 Leave a response

One of my favorite things about Texas? Huge, juicy, ruby-red grapefruits. No other state comes close to growing grapefruits as well as we do. So much so that I know to bring a bag full of them to my parent’s every Christmas in Missouri.

I have never understood the need for sugar on grapefruits. I grew up just eating their juicy goodness straight up. But over the years, I have found a handful of delicious sweet and savory ways to enjoy them beyond more than a snack.

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Nutrition:

With a little over 100 calories per fruit, grapefruits are filled with carbohydrates in the form of sugars and pack a significant amount of vitamins A and C, potassium, and folate. Their red and pink hues come from lycopene, and they are also full of polyphenols, giving them a high antioxidant capacity.

Benefits:

With over 100% DV of vitamin C, grapefruits are a terrific winter germ fighter. Although vitamin C has not been proven to keep away colds and germs, it certainly helps to support the immune system and antioxidant activity during those contaminated months.

As a lycopene-rich food, grapefruits also are a heart healthy food, working to prevent heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol.

Grapefruits are also at the top of the list of hydrating foods, due to their high water content. Along with being a good source of insoluble fiber, this makes the citrus gem a terrific food for maintaining digestive health.

Recipes:

Enjoy a grapefruit straight up, or enjoy it in one of these unique recipes this winter:

Radicchio: The Other Red Cabbage

standard December 15, 2014 Leave a response

Tis definitely the season for lots of greens! The past few weeks of CSA deliveries have included everything from butter lettuce and spring greens to collards and kale. And this week, another new crunchy, leafy lettuce – radicchio. While not green, it is a leaf vegetable that is easily lumped into the “greens” category as something that can be tossed as a base for salads or wilted into stews. It is also easily confused for red cabbage, which is actually more purple in color, and which contains its own diverse nutrient makeup and benefits.

(Can you find the radicchio hiding in all the greens below?)

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Nutrition:

Like most leaf vegetables, radicchio is low in calories and high in fiber and micronutrients. This bitter red lettuce is particularly high in copper, potassium, manganese, folate, and vitamins C and K.

Benefits:

The key nutritional benefit in radicchio is its antioxidant makeup. This little crunchy red vegetable is packed with polyphenols that help to neutralize free radicals, promoting the oxidation of healthy cells.

Another significant benefit of this powerhouse is radicchio’s abnormally high levels of vitamin K which aids in bone health and, along with significant amounts of inulin, promotes insulin resistance and blood sugar regulation. At over 100% DV, one serving of radicchio will have you set for the day.

Recipes:

Try a new spin on the usual green dishes with one of these radicchio-filled meals:

Turnips: Robust Roots

standard December 1, 2014 Leave a response

There are a handful of vegetables that I’ve always avoided, mostly because they have a bad reputation, and partly because they’re a little obscure. Brussels sprouts, parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips included. A few years ago I fell in love with Brussels sprouts. But turnips have been a little questionable. I’ve had them in CSA boxes, so I’ve eaten them. But I never got excited about them. Until now. Turnips are a nutrient powerhouse, especially for a white root vegetable. And the things you can cook with them are some of my favorite meals now.

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Nutrition: 

Turnips are a nutrition packed cousin of the potato. Both are white root vegetables, full of starchy carbohydrates. At 51 calories per cup, they are a terrific source of fiber and vitamin C. Turnips also contain between 3-9% DV of a number of key vitamins and minerals including folate, thiamin, potassium, manganese, copper, and calcium.

Don’t dismiss those turnip tops either. Turnip greens add vitamins K and A, and even more calcium, folate, and vitamin C to their root counterpart.when eaten together.

Benefits:

All these vitamins and minerals provide turnips with a large number of health benefits. Their folate content benefits cardiovascular health. The numerous antioxidant vitamins  can help reduce cancer risk, tumor growth, and prevent cell damage. Fiber aids in digestion, gastrointestinal support, and metabolism management. And the combination of potassium and calcium benefits bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

Recipes:

Give these little robust roots a try in one of these easy recipes: