Aug 10, 2010

Fruits and Vegetables to enhance your meals


Also known as sweet anise, fennel has a sweet, mild licorice flavor. The feathery fronds can be used as an herb, like dillweed, to flavor soups and stews. The broad, bulbous base is treated like a vegetable and can be eaten raw or sliced and diced for stews, soups, and stuffing. Try it roasted for a sweet treat.

Bok Choy

An Oriental cabbage, bok choy is like the Chinese version of spinach, only better. It doesn’t get mushy, it retains its crunch, and it is the perfect vehicle for soy sauce. Serve it chopped and stir-fried in a bit of peanut oil and soy sauce. Or toss a chopped bunch into a hearty vegetable soup just before serving.


Known as the Mexican potato, jicama (pronounced HE-kuhmuh) is a root tuber (like potatoes). Buy it smooth and firm with unblemished roots. Serve it cold and raw, or in soups, stews, or salads. Great as a substitute for water chestnuts.


These days the politically correct term is “dried plums,” but we’ll never stop thinking of them as prunes. Blend prunes with water into a puree and use this to replace oils and fats in baking, add prunes to stews for a delicious sweetness, or chop them and sprinkle over salads, yogurt, cottage cheese, or cereal. Prunes have a special kind of soluble fiber called pectin, which forms a gel in your intestines that absorbs excess cholesterol, sweeping it from your body. When 41 men with mildly high cholesterol levels added 12 prunes a day to their diets for four weeks, their LDL levels dropped more than when they drank grape juice for four weeks.


Remove the loose paper covering from a head of garlic, cut off the tops, drizzle olive oil over it, wrap in foil, and bake in a 350°F (175°C) oven until soft, about an hour. Then squeeze the soft heads of garlic onto toasted bread and spread. You’ll be getting fabulous amounts of plant nutrients called thioallyls that dramatically lower blood cholesterol levels, as well as prevent blood from becoming sticky and clumping into heart-damaging clots. Scientists believe you can lower your total cholesterol about 9 percent with just 1.5 to. 3 cloves of fresh garlic daily for 2 to 6 months.


Yes, we never thought of actually buying it either, let alone eating it. But this fruit is awesome— and not just plain. Add the flesh to smoothies, dice it into fruit salads and salsas, and puree it for a fabulous sauce for fish or chicken. An added benefit? Researchers had 50 people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol eat four to seven guavas a day for 12 weeks. They found that the guava eaters had much lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), and they had higher HDL cholesterol (the good kind) than 50 people who didn’t add the fruit to their diets.

Source - Reader's Digest

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