Posts Tagged ‘polyphenols’

Image

Lettuce is one of the oldest known vegetables, native to the Mediterranean region, and thought to have been cultivated for nearly 5,000 years. Apparently Pharaoh was quite fond of the leafy green as homage was paid to him and lettuce in paintings found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.

Romaine lettuce was one of the first lettuce varietals introduced to the United States, from England, in the 1600’s. Though it is the second most consumed vegetable in the United States today, lettuce gets a bad rap as just being a gateway vegetable for dressing. At best, it’s credited with making other vegetables tolerable. But finally, lettuce, thanks to researchers at Rutgers University, lettuce has finally come into its own.

Ilya Raskin, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers, and his team of researchers started with regular red lettuce as parent stock and then bred the darkest strains to create new deep purple leaf and Romaine varietals, which they call RSL (Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce), now branded by Coastline Family Farms in Salinas California as Nutraleaf Burgundy Leaf Lettuce and Romaine™. Coastline is introducing the new lettuces to the produce industry at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit conference in Anaheim, CA, where 30,000 retail, foodservice and produce representatives gather. They will also introduce it to over 8,000 registered dietitians at the 2014 FNCE conference in Atlanta.

Image 3
Dave out standing in his (actually Coastline’s) field…

The lettuces were developed, through natural breeding processes to contain higher levels of the antioxidant group polyphenols and anthocyanins – twice as high, based on phytochemical analyses, when compare to blueberries. Nutraleaf Burgundy Leaf Lettuce™ and Nutraleaf Burgundy Romaine™ are nutrient rich at only 20 calories per 2 cup serving, are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and the mineral manganese, and a good source of fiber. The Nutraleaf Leaf Lettuce is also a good source of iron and potassium.

Rutgers, who received partial funding for their research from the National Institutes of Health, has also been studying the impact of the new lettuces on health parameters. They have published one paper on their work in the prestigious scientific journal PLOS ONE and in the journal Nutrition. In this animal study, blood glucose was lowered in the intervention group that consumed RSL, which the authors attributed to the properties of the polyphenols found in RSL. In another animal study, just completed and awaiting publication, the Rutgers group also found positive effects on genetically obese mice. A European group is conducting a human nutrition study to document this benefit.

But what is great nutrition without outstanding taste and enjoyment? I think you will be thrilled with these yummy recipes I developed working with Coastline Family Farm’s for their Nutraleaf lettuces launch. Definitely try out my “Purple Reign” smoothie recipe. Are you digging the Prince references?

IMG_2481
Purple Reign

Ingredients:
Burgundy lettuce -6 leaves (1 cup)
Welch’s blackberry juice 1 cup
1 strawberry lite Greek yogurt (5.3oz)
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Directions:
Wash and pat dry lettuce leaves and place in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve with a lettuce garnish.

Image
Grilled Mixed Veggies with Watermelon BBQ Reduction

Servings: 4

BBQ Reduction:
2 tablespoons Balsamic
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mixed berry preserves
3/4 cup watermelon juice
4 chopped prunes
½ cup frozen mixed berries
2 teaspoons tamari sauce
1-teaspoon dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
2-tablespoons ketchup

Grilled mix
16 California Strawberries
1 cup purple cauliflower
2 medium Vidalia onions, quartered
1 red pepper, cut in 8 pieces
1 yellow pepper, cut into 8 pieces
4 ¼ inch slices of pineapple
8 purple fingerling potatoes , sliced in half

Dressing
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Honey
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Directions:
BBQ Reduction:
Cut up watermelon pieces and place in a fine mesh strainer. Place strainer over a glass measuring cup. Press watermelon pieces with a spoon and express out enough juice to yield ½ cup. Pour juice into a saucepan. Mix in all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat and cook reduction down to a BBQ sauce consistency (about 20 minutes). Stir frequently. Set aside.

Grilled Mix:
Preheat grill. Place fingerlings in a microwavable bowl and heat on high for two minutes. Set aside. Place whole strawberries on their own skewer with four on each skewer. Skewer remaining vegetables, including fingerlings, on their own skewer. Brush all skewers lightly with canola oil. When grill is hot, place skewers on the grill. Cook until grill marks are apparent on all sides. Remove strawberries once grill marks occur (just a few minutes). Brush BBQ sauce on remaining skewers and grill until veggies are soft. Set aside.

Salad:
Mix ingredients of dressing together. Set aside. Lay Burgundy lettuce leaves on a platter. Drizzle dressing over leaves. Place grilled mix on top of salad. Drizzle BBQ reductions over grilled mix and serve.

Lastly, Coastline Family farms, the exclusive grower/shipper of the Nutraleaf lettuces in North America, grows Nutraleaf lettuces along with 20 plus other premium lettuces and vegetables in the fertile Salinas Valley just inland from Monterey Bay, CA in the spring, summer and fall, and in the Imperial Valley in Southern California in the winter. To download more Nutraleaf recipes and for further information on Coastline Family Farms, please visit coastlinefamilyfarms.com/nutraleaf.

Art Grotto
(That’s my almost 94-year-old dad enjoying one of his favorite purple beverages in moderation!)
David Grotto, RDN

I know you may be thinking that “seeing “red” was your only color choice when it comes to making smarter dietary choices to support heart health. Not so fast!

Though red is a wonderful color, there are more colors in the rainbow when it comes to doing what’s best for your ticker. Many of the foods that I recommend and feature in The Best Things You Can Eat for heart health actually come in red, white, tan, orange, green and even purple! Turning purple is a lot more fun and easier than holding your breath. That’s why I’m thrilled to be working with the folks at Welch’s to share the grape news about heart health.

Polyphenols are a group of plant nutrients that, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, may play a role in heart health by supporting healthy blood vessels. You’ll find polyphenols especially in purple variety foods such as grapes (think wine and 100% grape juice), cabbage, potatoes, eggplant and even non purple foods such as tea, onions and even nuts. In fact, berries (including grapes!) are a delicious way to get your daily dose of purple, and they deliver polyphenols (specifically anthocyanins) not found in many other colors of fruit.

Purple potatoes. This variety hails from South America and is rich in potassium, vitamin C in addition to polyphenols. By the way, leave the skin on. Like grapes, you’ll find polyphenols in the skins! Roast in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum!

Eggplant. Hard to believe that there was a time that this lovely vegetable was once thought to cause insanity and leprosy! Amazing! But the good news is you’ll find potassium, folate magnesium fiber and many other additional healthy nutrients in eggplant.

Purple Cabbage. Cabbage belongs to the family of veggies called Brassicas. This stinky but yummy veggie contains a healthy amount of fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins. Glucosinolates, another group of plant nutrients found in cabbage, may help support a healthy immune system, too!

Wine. I see the debate brewing already. “Come on Dave … wine is not a food, it’s a beverage.” Well, hold onto your grapes of wrath! Red, purple, blue and black varieties of grapes are all used to make red wine. What distinguishes red versus white wine is that red varieties are allowed to have the skin and the seeds come in contact with the grape juice as it ferments. The health benefit may be due to a group of plant nutrients called polyphenols, which are abundant in red wine varieties. As with all alcoholic beverages, wine is beneficial for your health only in moderation.

Concord Grapes. And for those who are not wine lovers or choose not to drink alcoholic beverages, dark purple Concord grapes and 100% grape juice possess many of the same polyphenols as those found in red wine. Thanks to the Concord grape, 100% grape juice helps support a healthy heart. An 8 ounce glass of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes supplies 250 mg of polyphenols, provides an excellent source of vitamin C and counts as two servings of fruit.

Here’s a twist on the traditional tuna fish salad sandwich to include some tasty polyphenols and other healthy ingredients. Enjoy!

Grapes of Wrap
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
¾ cup Purple grapes, quartered
2 cans Tuna or chicken, drained
½ cup Celery, chopped coarse
1/3 cup Purple/red Onion, chopped coarse
1 teaspoon Dill, chopped fine
¼ cup Canola oil mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Black pepper
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Welch’s 100% Grape Juice concentrate (defrosted)
¼ teaspoon Toasted sesame oil (optional)
½ teaspoon Dry mustard powder
6 Whole-wheat tortillas

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread some of the salad on a whole-wheat tortilla. Garnish with lettuce and tomato, hold together with a toothpick and serve.

Nutrition Highlights
Calories: 195; Total Fat: 4.5g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 20mg; Sodium: 460mg; Total Carbs: 27g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 18g

Dear Guyatitian:

Thank you for your response about my husband’s health scare (boy, was it scary).  He is doing GREAT now and his liver enzyme numbers continue to trend in the right direction.  Wheat grass juice, lots of asparagus, avocado, spinach, broccoli, every kind of lettuce imaginable are very often on his plate (the wheat grass juice goes into a mug with green tea!).  I truly appreciate your very helpful response!

Now I’m writing about a friend’s daughter.  She was adopted from China as a baby and now, as a teen, is experiencing some rheumatological issues, one of which is Raynaud’s and the other could be Lupus.  Are there suggestions you might have for us this time, too??

Ohio Fan

Dear Ohio Fan:

I’m so thrilled that my advice helped your husband – sounds like you are on the right path!

I’m very sorry to hear about your friend’s daughter. Regarding what nutrition advice I can offer, I would suggest that your friend bring their daughter to see a registered dietitian who specializes in autoimmune and possibly connective tissue disorders. You can find a registered dietitian in their area by visiting www.eatright.org. With that being said, here are some dietary suggestions for considertaion as a launch point.

Raynaud’s is a disorder of small blood vessels that feed the skin. Quite often “attacks” can be triggered by cold exposure and stress. There are a variety of possible causes but to date, doctors are not fully aware of why Raynaud’s occurs. Raynaud’s is more common in woman than in men but the onset most often occurs later on in life -  in their 40′s or older.  But Raynaud’s can also arise as a secondary development to conditions such as scleroderma and/or lupus, for example. Medications are often prescribed that help dilate the blood vessels which improves circulation.

In my book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, I have a section on healing foods that may help promote circulation and improve cold feet and hands. These include foods that are rich in the amino acid arginine which helps produce nitric oxide – a vasodialator   - that promotes circulation. Those foods include:

  • Peanuts (unless allergic to them)
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Dairy products
  • Lean meat
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackeral
  • Chickpeas

I’m not sure what blood tests the teenager has had so far but I have found girls/women with iron deficiency often suffer from cold hands and feet. They may benefit from taking a good multi-vitamin with iron and concentrate on iron-rich foods such as:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Dried fruits
  • Red meat
  • Beans
  • Whole eggs
  • Dark leafy greens

Green tea, berries and chocolate contain plant nutrients called polyphenols that promote circulation, too. Lastly, an overall diet that is low in saturated and transfat also promotes blood flow and avoidng stress (rolls off the lips easily but not always easily done) and temperature extremes has been shown to keep Raynauds attacks at bay.

Good luck to your friend’s daughter – I wish her the best of health!

The Guyatitian