Tag Archives: broccoli

While our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have relied on hunting and foraging to satisfy their needs, we couch-sitting contemporaries can have groceries delivered to the curb. This may be a significant innovation in terms of convenience, but the loss of physical activity in modern life has cost us dearly in more ways than one. Maintaining a small garden is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. Besides, any gardener will tell you that for taste, nutritional quality and value, there’s no substitute for growing your own food. Here are five Paleo Diet® essentials to easily grow at home:

 

Beets

Rich in folate, manganese, and dietary fiber, these vibrant tubers are packed with energy and rich in flavor. Eaten raw, beets add unique color and texture to salads. Roasted, they are sweet and earthy. Beet greens are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Beets grow well in cooler weather but can be planted in early spring, late summer, and early autumn for multiple harvests each year.

 

Cucumbers

These crunchy summer staples are so easy to grow they practically grow themselves. Cooling and fresh, this veggie scores lower on the glycemic index than almost any other. You can enjoy them in a salad, smoothie, or eat them sliced and dipped in your favorite Paleo dip as a snack. Plant the seeds at the end of spring near a trellis, fence, or other structure for optimal production.

 

Kale

This superstar of the nutrient-dense veggies is simple to grow and a half-dozen plants will provide you with more dark, leafy goodness than you can imagine. You can get more than your daily recommended amounts of vitamins A, C and K from one cup of chopped kale. Kale is one of the most versatile greens: great raw in salads and smoothies or sauteed, steamed, or cooked on its own or as a side dish. For best results, you’ll want to sow seeds in the final months of summer or plant starts in the garden in early autumn. Once your kale is well-established in the garden, simply trim off the older, outer leaves as you need them for a continuous harvest.

 

Peppers

There are few greater pleasures than fresh, homegrown peppers, especially if you find grocery store varieties a bit repetitive. When you grow your own peppers, you can experiment with varieties from all over the globe to see which suit your fancy. Loaded with vitamin C, peppers are a perfect Paleo food: They can be eaten raw, grilled, stuffed and more. Starting from a seed can be a little tricky as peppers need warm weather to germinate. You may have better luck starting seeds in pots in a sunny window in the spring and transferring the plants into the garden once the risk of frost has passed.

 

Broccoli

There’s a reason your mom made you eat your broccoli. It’s loaded with folic acid, potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C. While President George H.W. Bush hated it, this green is a staple for anyone looking to include a lot of vegetables in their diet. This superfood can be served cooked, raw or in a crudités with a dip. Broccoli also thrives best in cool weather with lots of sun and moist soil. Plant it in late summer to reap the best harvest.

 

These are just a few of the Paleo essentials you can easily grow at home. Even if you don’t have a spot for a garden in your yard, you may want to consider seeking out a community garden plot near you. Walking or cycling to your garden brings you even closer to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Whichever path you find toward growing your own Paleo fare, you’ll thank yourself for it every step of the way.

4 Anti-inflammatory Farmers Market Finds

National Farmer’s Market week celebrates two distinct and important aspects of this way of eating: locally-sourced foods and seasonally appropriate. And to that end, here are a few great, nutrient-dense seasonal foods you may find at your local market to include in your Paleo menu. Many of them provide not only a great variety of flavors, but also anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and otherwise health-promoting compounds. 2, 6

Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C and fibre, and is surprisingly high in protein. It is a source of some potent phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which have demonstrated protective effects in models of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and other conditions.1, 5, 11 Sautéed with a little garlic (another nutritional powerhouse) in olive oil, and you’ve got a delicious side dish for any Paleo meal.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a good source of antioxidants, retinoids (vitamin A-like compounds), and lycopene. The latter has been shown to protect the skin from the damaging effects of excess ultraviolet radiation – which might come in handy in the summer months, coincidentally, when tomatoes are in season.4, 7, 10 Cooking tomatoes maximizes the lycopene content,3 perfect for a summer Paleo Gazpacho.

If you have an autoimmune disease, certain glycoalkaloids in tomatoes may act to increase intestinal permeability and also contain certain immunological adjuvants (alpha tomatine in tomatoes) that up-regulate the immune response and should be avoided.

Zucchini

Zucchini is rich in folate, copper, and potassium, and is an extremely low-calorie food; only about 10-15 calories in a whole zucchini. It’s also one of the best sources for lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytonutrients that are good for ocular health.9 Zucchini has a delicate flavor which has been described as savory by some, and can be sliced, grilled, and ready-to-eat in just a few minutes.

Raspberries

Raspberries are another great source of antioxidants and anthocyanins. One study showed the equivalent of about a handful of raspberries per day reduces markers of inflammation in the blood while another study showed potentially protective effects against colorectal cancer. 8

While this is a terribly abbreviated list, you’ll surely find many other great Paleo Diet approved options at your local Farmer’s Market, so by all means, enjoy!

William Lagakos, Ph.D.
@caloriesproper
CaloriesProper

William Lagakos, Ph.D.Dr. William Lagakos received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology from Rutgers University where his research focused on dietary fat assimilation and integrated energy metabolism. His postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, centered on obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Dr. William Lagakos has authored numerous manuscripts which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a non-fiction book titled The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie which explores the concept of calories and simultaneously explains how hormones and the neuroendocrine response to foods regulate nutrient partitioning. He is presently a nutritional sciences researcher, consultant, and blogger.

References

1. Jayakumar P, Pugalendi KV, Sankaran M. Attenuation of hyperglycemia-mediated oxidative stress by indole-3-carbinol and its metabolite 3, 3′- diindolylmethane in C57BL/6J mice. J Physiol Biochem. Jun 2014;70(2):525-534.

2. Jiang Y, Wu SH, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Ji BT, Milne GL, . . . Yang G. Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely correlated with circulating levels of proinflammatory markers in women. J Acad Nutr Diet. May 2014;114(5):700-708 e702.

3. Kamiloglu S, Demirci M, Selen S, Toydemir G, Boyacioglu D, Capanoglu E. Home processing of tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum): effects on in vitro bioaccessibility of total lycopene, phenolics, flavonoids, and antioxidant capacity. J Sci Food Agric. Aug 2014;94(11):2225-2233.

4. Khachik F, Carvalho L, Bernstein PS, Muir GJ, Zhao DY, Katz NB. Chemistry, distribution, and metabolism of tomato carotenoids and their impact on human health. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). Nov 2002;227(10):845-851.

5. Lenzi M, Fimognari C, Hrelia P. Sulforaphane as a promising molecule for fighting cancer. Cancer Treat Res. 2014;159:207-223.

6. Macready AL, George TW, Chong MF, Alimbetov DS, Jin Y, Vidal A, . . . Group FS. Flavonoid-rich fruit and vegetables improve microvascular reactivity and inflammatory status in men at risk of cardiovascular disease–FLAVURS: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. Mar 2014;99(3):479-489.

7. Rizwan M, Rodriguez-Blanco I, Harbottle A, Birch-Machin MA, Watson RE, Rhodes LE. Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. Jan 2011;164(1):154-162.

8. Sardo CL, Kitzmiller JP, Apseloff G, Harris RB, Roe DJD, Stoner GD, Jacobs ET. An Open-Label Randomized Crossover Trial of Lyophilized Black Raspberries on Postprandial Inflammation in Older Overweight Males: A Pilot Study. Am J Ther. Aug 26 2013.

9. Sommerburg O, Keunen JE, Bird AC, van Kuijk FJ. Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes. Br J Ophthalmol. Aug 1998;82(8):907-910.

10. Stahl W, Heinrich U, Aust O, Tronnier H, Sies H. Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection. Photochem Photobiol Sci. Feb 2006;5(2):238-242.

11. Tarozzi A, Angeloni C, Malaguti M, Morroni F, Hrelia S, Hrelia P. Sulforaphane as a potential protective phytochemical against neurodegenerative diseases. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013;2013:415078.

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