folate

Punchy Parsnips!

Parsnips belong to the same family as parsley, celery and carrots and have a distinct sweet flavour that adds depth to many dishes. Surprisingly, parsnips are also packed with a number of health promoting nutrients.

Parsnips are high in soluble fibre which provides many health benefits. High fibre in the diet is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, reduced blood cholesterol and helps prevent against heart disease. The high levels of soluble fibre also allow you to feel full up, by preventing the release of the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin’. The fibre in parsnips will also contribute to a healthy and efficient digestive system.

Additionally, parsnips contain folate which is essential for nervous system health and can reduce the risk of depression. It is also vital for preventing neural tube birth defects in infants. 

Parsnips contain good levels of the mineral potassium, which can help to reduce the risk of strokes and high blood pressure. It is essential for the skeletal system and our smooth muscle function.

Furthermore, nutrients including vitamin C and E provide great antioxidant support helping to ‘mop up’ unwanted circulating free radicals. Additionally, vitamin C provides benefits for the skin, bone, teeth, blood vessels and immune system. Be sure to eat parsnips while fresh to benefit from the higher vitamin C content. 

Enjoy parsnips pureed, mashed or roasted and include in soups, stews or a warm hearty salad.

 

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk and like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/marcellerosenutrition/

What's so special about courgette?

IMG_6179 (2).jpg

Courgette also known as zucchini is a member of the summer squash family. It has some amazing health benefits; helping to balance blood sugar levels, supports eye health and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Recent studies have indicated that courgette is one of the riches sources of a number of health supporting carotenoids. The skin of the courgette is particularly packed with these nutrients which are especially beneficial for eye health.

Nutrients including folate, choline, zinc and magnesium and vitamins B6, B1, B2 and B3 all contribute to the blood sugar balancing benefits of courgette. Additionally, courgette is high in dietary fibre and the seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, which further enhance these properties. By aiding insulin regulation, this combination of nutrients may offer protection against diabetes.

Courgette contains excellent levels of the mineral manganese and high levels of vitamin C which contribute to its antioxidant benefits. The omega3 fatty acids in the seeds provide anti-inflammatory benefits especially notable for the gastro-intestinal tract and cardio-vascular system.

Courgette is extremely versatile and can be grated onto salads, pureed into a creamy vegetable soup or used in chunks in a ratatouille or minestrone soup. It can be tossed into a frittata, used as courgette ribbons instead of pasta or sliced into crudités to serve with a tahini dip. Steaming or healthy sautéing in water helps retain most of the courgette’s fantastic nutrients.

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk and like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/marcellerosenutrition/

Beautiful Beetroot

Beetroot belongs to the chenopod family and along with other family members (including chard, spinach and quinoa) it does not fail in terms of its super nutritious benefits. Beetroot is a valuable source of folate, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin C.

In addition, beetroot has unique pigments which function as both anti oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Researchers are beginning to look into whether these nutrients can reduce tumour growth in cancer and though in early stages, there have been encouraging results.

Preliminary studies also indicate that the unique mix of nutrients can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. The B complex vitamin choline in beetroot has also been shown to reduce inflammation with regards to cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, the special pigments in beetroot are thought to help stimulate detoxification activity, consequently aiding the removal of toxins from the body.

Beetroot contains a special type of dietary fibre (as with carrots) that is particularly beneficial to our digestive tract and will offer further cardio vascular support.

Don’t forget to make use of the beetroot’s green leaves which are also highly nutritious. Beet greens are especially high in the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which are fantastic for eye health.

Beetroots need to be cooked delicately to retain these amazing nutrients. They can be lightly steamed and tossed in a salad with olive oil, lemon juice and goats cheese. Alternatively, this magnificent vegetable can be roasted, juiced, grated raw in to salads and blended in to soup.

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk and like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/marcellerosenutrition/

 

Legendary lettuce

Is lettuce just the base of your salad or the crunch in your sandwich? Surprisingly, lettuce varieties contain a wide range of nutrients and including a combination of these in your diet will offer plenty of health benefits.

Each lettuce variety has its own phytonutrients and these are dictated by the colour pigments they contain. Phytonutrients provide us with unique health properties. For example green leaf lettuce contains quercetin; which can have anti-histamine effects and help prevent heart disease. Red leaves contain cyanidins, which are helpful with conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol. 

Romaine lettuce is particularly rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids) and is also rich in folate and molybdenum amongst many others.

The vitamin K content is particularly important for maintaining healthy bones, blood clotting and preventing heart disease. Additionally the carotenoids are vital for promoting eye health, the immune system and normal cell growth and development.

So don’t just use lettuce as a garnish; it is delicious roasted, made in to Asian style wraps, puréed in to a smooth soup or braised with peas, onions and lemon juice.

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter atwww.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk

Splendid Celery

Celery is often thought of as a crunchy low calorie option due to its high water content. However, this veggie is bursting with numerous vitamins and minerals including molybdenum folate, potassium, manganese, B vitamins and vitamin K. It is also rich in a range of antioxidants and this combination of nutrients can provide us with many surprising health benefits.

The special and varied phytonutrients in celery provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection. New research suggests that some of these phytonutrients actually help to reduce certain inflammatory molecules in the blood, helping to reduce unwanted inflammation in the body.

The anti-inflammatory protection can be particularly helpful in the digestive tract. The pectin based, non-starchy substances contained within celery, protect the digestive tract against inflammation and new research suggests that these substances may decrease the risk of stomach ulcers.

There are specific nutrients in celery that can provide cardiovascular benefits. These nutrients are believed to help our blood vessel walls relax. Consequently the blood vessels may be more flexible and able to enlarge, helping to maintain low blood pressure.

Tip: Make use of the celery leaves as they contain the most calcium, potassium and vitamin C. However use the leaves within 2 days in order to avoid them wilting.

Celery can be thinly sliced and steamed to make celery spaghetti and it is great as crunchy crudités dipped in nut butter, tahini or hummus.  Conversely, this fantastic veggie is just as delightful in chicken or minestrone soup, chopped in to salads, stir fried, roasted, braised or juiced!

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk

Fabulous Fennel

Fennel plants at the market   

Fennel contains a myriad of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and has countless health benefits. Furthermore, it has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for congestion, digestive problems and to promote breast milk flow, menstruation and urine flow. 

Clinical studies have indicated that the phytonutrient anethole has anti-cancer properties and can reduce inflammation. The research found that anethole inhibits the promotion of a harmful molecule which can alter genes and cause inflammation. 

Fennel promotes bone health due to it’s combination of iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and manganese. Fennel’s potassium, calcium and magnesium composition can help to lower blood pressure and the fibre content will help to reduce cholesterol levels. Heart disease is associated with elevated levels of the molecule homocysteine in the body, however, fennel’s folate content can help to prevent it’s build up.
 
Fennel consists of a crunchy white bulb, pale green stalks and feathery green leaves from which flowers grow and where the seeds are found.
 
All parts of the fennel can be used in your cooking. The stalks are a delicious addition to a soup base or stock .They can be sautéed with fennel leaves and onions. Additionally, the leaves can add a subtle liquorice aroma to many a dish. The seeds can spice up any meal, be brewed as herbal drink or just chewed to promote good digestion. The bulb can be chopped into salads, steamed, sautéed or roasted as a delicious starter or side.

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk

Luscious Leeks

Leeks share similar health promoting properties to other ‘allium’ family vegetables including garlic and onion. They are bursting with nutrients and are particularly wonderful for cardio-vascular health.

Many components of leeks contribute to supporting the cardio vascular system. The flavonoid, kaempferol present in leeks, increases a natural gas in blood vessels which helps to keep them flexible and protect them from damage.

Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. However the B vitamin folate, found in leeks, will help to reduce this risk by helping to keep our homocysteine levels low.

There are also a number of fantastic antioxidant nutrients which help to protect our blood cells from oxidative damage.

In order to boost the leek’s health promoting properties, leave them to sit for over 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking.

Try combining your leeks into a healthy sauté with fennel or seasonal greens, include them in a tasty frittata or blend them into a rich vichyssoise soup.

My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics

If you are interested in reading more of my ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk