Healthy and detoxifying Fall crops!
by Nancy Mehlert
As we roll into September, October and November in Texas, you will begin to see local farmers’ markets and grocery store produce sections offering locally grown arugula and cucumbers.
Of all the foods we eat, few would disagree that vegetables are the most nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and hydrating food you can eat. It is also worth noting that they carry no risk to speak of – no one has ever eaten too many! So let’s take a closer look at arugula and cucumbers since they are now in season and excellent choices for reducing inflammation and detoxifying the body.
Arugula has been cultivated in the Mediterranean since time has been recorded and thus very much a part of the Mediterranean diet. The French call arugula “rocket” lettuce. The younger, paler leaves are mild in flavor while the more mature, darker leaves are described as peppery. Arugula makes a wonderful salad base by itself or pairs nicely with other greens and lettuces. It is an excellent addition to pesto or soup and brings an eye-appeal to a slaw.
Nutritionally, arugula is in the cruciferous family and offers antioxidant benefits, detoxifying enzymes, an excellent source of fiber and vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. You’ll be surprised to know that a serving even offers 3 grams of protein and critical B vitamins that help to support good HDL cholesterol while lowering the bad cholesterol. Arugula is especially beneficial in preventing cholesterol from sticking to arteries, lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow and improving blood vessel function so it’s a great choice for heart and circulation health, all because of the flavonoid content in it and its ability to increase nitric oxide levels in the body.
Studies conducted on arugula suggest that it may help to heal gastrointestinal ulcers and psoriasis as well as protect against lung, skin and mouth cancers. Research is also pointing to arugula as an excellent detoxifier with the ability to remove both heavy metals as well as pesticides and herbicides from the body. Apparently, there are even ancient Roman writings suggesting arugula is an aphrodisiac especially when combined with chicory, dill, lettuce or lavender.
Cucumbers also originated in the Mediterranean and are 90% water, which makes them an excellent hydrator. There are over a dozen varieties, and they thrive in both cool and warm climates. They are one of the most widely cultivated vegetables in the world. Varieties are usually identified as either a good choice for slicing or most suitable for pickling. My favorite choice is the longer and thinner English cucumber also known as a gourmet or “burpless” cucumber. These have such small seeds they virtually go unnoticed. I like to slice them, freeze them and add them to my water for flavor or make a salad like the recipe provided in today’s newsletter. They can also be sliced very thinly, lengthwise, to get a wonderful wrap for other veggies, hummus, cream cheeses, chicken salad or paté. Finally, cucumbers are one of the best choices for juicing or blending a green drink.
Cucumbers have been used traditionally in India to treat headaches while the seeds have been found to be an effective diuretic. They are an excellent source of vitamin K, C and B5 and also have a compliment of minerals including manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Recent studies have shown that cucumbers contain powerful lignans that can reduce the estrogen burden in the body, thereby reducing the risk of several cancers including breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers. Another phytonutrient called cucurbitacins, are known to strongly inhibit cancer development. Cucumbers are very alkaline, soothing to the stomach and gut and can help relieve nausea.
Cucumbers remain fresh the longest when stored at room temperature and away from any other fruits or vegetables that give off ethylene, a natural plant substance, as it will initiate a rapid ripening/rotting process. Ethylene is especially ubiquitous in bananas, melons and tomatoes.
References: https://draxe.com/top-10-bible-foods-that-heal http://foodfacts.mercola.com/arugula.html http://foodfacts.mercola.com/cucumber.html http://bembu.com/alkaline-foods.html