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   Jun 06

Spring Harvest Bowel

We’re well into Spring now in my neck of the mountains; how about you? I think we can safely say that there will be no more of that four-letter word that begins with “S” … at least not until later in the year! I hope you were able to create and enjoy my Winter’s Harvest Bowl a few months ago.

So I’ve been dying to make this nutritious bowl of springtime delights to share with you. And it was finally time. All of the ingredients help the body to detox and rebuild as well as to shed those pesky winter pounds…

Asparagus is beneficial to the kidneys, adrenal glands and bladder. It also contains fiber that facilitates the intestinal transit and encourages digestion. Its gentle effect on the intestinal functions can help reverse a tendency for constipation, without irritating the intestinal mucous membrane [1]. Asparagus also provides a truly unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients [2]. Other anti-inflammatory nutrients in asparagus include the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. And if that’s not enough, asparagus provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium and has been proven to fight the proliferation of cancer cells [3,4,5,6].Mustard Greens, like other cruciferous greens, provide tremendous detox support for the body including antioxidant nutrients. They also contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. At least three key glucosinolates have been clearly identified in mustard greens in significant amounts: sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin [7].

Rye fiber has an abundant quantity of noncellulose polysaccharides, which have exceptionally high water-binding capacity and quickly give a feeling a fullness and satiety, making rye a real help for anyone trying to lose weight. A wonderful characteristic of rye is that is has a 4:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium. This is an important quality because many Americans are quite deficient in their magnesium intake as compared to calcium.

Daikon Radish is believed to help the body burn fat. It is extremely low in fat and cholesterol, but dense with nutrients, making it a great addition to any effective weight loss program. It contains large amounts of enzymes that aid in fat and starch digestion as well as high levels of vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium. It also contains other phyto-nutrients that fight cancer.

Artichoke Hearts contain bitter principles, cynarin and sesquiterpene-lactones. Scientific studies show that these compounds inhibit cholesterol synthesis and increase its excretion in the bile, therefore promoting cholesterol reduction in the blood. They are also good sources of antioxidants such as silymarin, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid, which help the body protect itself from harmful free-radical agents.

Fennel, like many of its fellow spices, contains its own unique combination of phytonutrients – including the flavonoids rutin, quercitin, and various kaempferol glycosides – that give it strong antioxidant activity. The most fascinating phytonutrient compound in fennel, however, may be anethole – the primary component of its volatile oil. In animal studies, anethole in fennel has been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer [8].

You can use whatever quantity of the above health-promoting goodies in your bowl you like, and enjoy them with any of your favorite nut-based salad dressings. I made a very simple creamy lemon dressing which was perfect for this dish since it had a mellow flavor which enhanced but didn’t overwhelm all of the subtle yummy goodness of the bowl ingredients (recipe below).

Bowl Ingredients:

• asparagus, lightly steamed

• mustard greens, chopped and steamed

• fennel bulbs, quartered and steamed until tender (save some of the fronds for garnish!)

• whole rye berries, cooked in water 1 part rye to 3 parts water

• artichoke hearts (I used frozen for convenience)

• daikon radish, grated

• green onion, sliced

• edible flowers (optional)… I found some flowering winter cress on my morning walk that I used.

blend together:

• 1 cup raw cashews

• 1 cup water

• juice and zest of one lemon

• 2 medjool dates

• Chrubasik C, Maier T, Dawid C et al. An observational study and quantification of the actives in a supplement with Sambucus nigra and Asparagus officinalis used for weight reduction. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):913-8. 2008.

• Podolak I, Galanty A, and Sobolewska D. Saponins as cytotoxic agents: a review. Phytochem Rev. 2010 September; 9(3): 425 – 474. Published online 2010 June. 2010.

• Shao Y, Chin CK, Ho CT et al. Anti-tumor activity of the crude saponins obtained from asparagus. Cancer Lett. 1996 Jun 24;104(1):31-6. 1996.

• Sidiq T, Khajuria A, Suden P et al. A novel sarsasapogenin glycoside from Asparagus racemosus elicits protective immune responses against HBsAg. Immunol Lett. 2011 Mar 30;135(1-2):129-35. Epub 2010 Oct 28. 2011.

• Singh RS and Singh RP. Fructooligosaccharides from Inulin as Prebiotics. Food Technol. Biotechnol. 48 (4) 435 – 450 (2010). 2010.

• Sun Z, Huang X and Kong L. A new steroidal saponin from the dried stems of Asparagus officinalis L. Fitoterapia. 2010 Apr;81(3):210-3. Epub 2009 Sep 12. 2010.

• Angeloni C, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, et al. Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5615-22. 2009.

• Chainy GB, Manna SK, Chaturvedi MM, Aggarwal BB. Anethole blocks both early and late cellular responses transduced by tumor necrosis factor: effect on NF-kappaB, AP-1, JNK, MAPKK and apoptosis. Oncogene 2000 Jun 8;19(25):2943-50. 2000. PMID:12930.

Source: Living Green Magazine

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