The brighter the color, the better the nutrition
Posted in , Sep 10, 2009
One of my favorite gatherings is the Food as Medicine conference, which brings together hundreds of nutritionally minded physicians, nurses, and other wellness professionals.
I cook for the attendees, and while they often kindly tell me how much they learn from me, it definitely goes both ways.
In fact, this recipe was inspired by Dr. Joel Evans, who is attracted to nutrition from both a scientific and an aesthetic viewpoint and loves to speak about the colors of food having a tangible relation to their healing qualities.
There is a school of thought—and increasing scientific evidence—that the more vibrant the color, the more nutrition there is to be found in a food.
As an ode to Joel, I set out to create the most colorful salad I could, using purple beets, orange carrots, and fresh mint. If I’d had a vegetable crisper instead of a box of crayons as a kid, this salad would have been the result.
You can substitute lemon or lime juice for the orange juice.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup peeled and shredded carrot
1 cup peeled and shredded red beet
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1. Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, and salt together until thoroughly combined.
2. Put the carrots in a mixing bowl, drizzle with half of the dressing, and toss until evenly coated. Place the carrots on one side of a shallow serving bowl.
3. Put the beets in the mixing bowl, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and toss until evenly coated. Place the beets in the serving bowl next to the carrots for a beautiful contrast of red and orange.
4. Top with the chopped mint before serving.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Nutritional Info: Calories: 50; Total Fat: 2.5 g (0.4 g saturated, 1.7 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 7 g; Protein: 1 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 195 mg
Who Knew? Strength in Numbers
When it comes to antioxidants, including the carotenoids so prevalent in orange fruits and vegetables, experts pretty much sing the same song: Generally speaking, the right way to go is to cast a wide net instead of focusing on a single antioxidant. (This is their way of saying don’t turn into a rabbit and consume so many carrots that you turn orange from a beta-carotene megadose.)
Nutritionist Suzanne Dixon notes, “Individual, isolated carotenoids don’t tend to provide a whole lot of benefit. You should get the whole food, preferentially. Getting a lot of different carotenoids in the diet, I believe, is a very, very good biomarker of general healthy eating behavior. Those people tend to do better in terms of disease risk across the board.”
This recipe is from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz. Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz. Published by Ten Speed Press, a registered trademark of Random House, Inc.