Using fresh, red produce is healthier than you might realize!
If you were asked to describe the summer of 2012 you’d only need a few words to do so; scorching hot and parched. We are all feeling the heat but just because it is close to intolerable it doesn’t mean that summertime fun has to come to an end. I say the summer festivities must go on!
In fact, attending or holding something as simple as a summer barbecue is one of life’s simple pleasures. Not only does a barbecue allow us to enjoy time to mingle with our family and friends, but it also allows us to enjoy some seasonal food items. Honestly, what could be more enjoyable than that?
As far as seasonal food goes, there some delicious fresh produce items available at your local grocery stores and farmers markets. One way to enjoy several items at once is to combine them into a salad, which is always what I look for at any barbeque, picnic or summer festivity. Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, chives, bell peppers are awesome in any given salad, but one particular salad that is served at all of our family gatherings is the best!
It’s called spaghetti salad and I consider it pretty simple to prepare and best of all it includes red food items! Why is that so great? I learned from fellow blogger, Grace Derocha, about the numerous health benefits of red foods like watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, apples; and vegetables like tomatoes, red peppers, red onions and red cabbage.
Grace explained that these colorful and tasty foods are gifts from nature and offer many health benefits because they have some of the following nutrients; lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. She also reminded me that we can also receive plenty of these nutrients in processed tomato products as well, salsa, spaghetti sauce and ketchup! In fact, here are some of the health benefits of red food items:
- Reduce the risk of prostate cancer
- Protects the body from prostate, cervical and lung cancer
- Reduces tumor growth
- Protects the body from harmful free-radicals
- Protects the body against heart disease
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol in the body
- Support joint tissue for those with arthritis
- Keeps one regular aiding in gastrointestinal health
Remember the benefits listed above when you are enjoying this delicious Davis family favorite.
Cook 1 lb. spaghetti noodles (I prefer whole-wheat spaghetti)drain and rinse with cold water – set aside.
Place in medium-sized bowl:
1 large cucumber – peeled and diced
2 large tomatoes – diced
½ C chopped chives / onions
1 can black pitted olives – drained and cut in halves
1 small red bell pepper – diced
1 small green bell pepper – diced
1 bottle – 16 oz. – low-fat Italian dressing
Place cooked spaghetti noodles in large serving bowl. Pour above ingredients over noodles and stir gently. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight – not necessary but the flavor is better the next day.
Another red food item is that I’ve been enjoying this summer is watermelon. We discovered that watermelon can create a great tasting smoothie, and of course – they’re good for you too. Try this simple recipe and let me know what you think:
3 cups watermelon chunks
1 small banana, chopped
1 cup ice
1 ½ cups Greek-style vanilla yogurt
Simply place watermelon chunks, chopped banana, ice and yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into four large glasses and enjoy!
How do you plan on adding more red produce into your diet?
Photo credit dog.happy.art