The health benefits of antioxidants are most obvious in red food. Especially now that we’re getting older it’s important to look carefully at what we eat. We emphasize variety. The health benefits of antioxidants also get extra attention.
More in general our health is an important drive to pay more attention to our food. Tom had a couple of fierce gout attacks years ago and has kept a purine-free diet ever since. I have a tendency for arthritis, so I avoid among other things the use of salt and alcohol.
I always thought that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach was a funny expression. But I admit, Tom cares more about good-tasting food than I do. Although we both value the contribution to our health of the food we eat.
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Red is our favorite color
Tom and I once went to a seminar about humor. I never had guessed that humor is such a serious matter. Many people usually like the same types of humor. This is because we design concepts that we hold to be true and which help us to understand the world we live in.
This idea was illustrated with several questions we had to answer. The first question was: What is your favorite number? 3 and 7 were the most common numbers. The second question was: What is your favorite animal? No surprises with the animals. The big furry cats were absolute favorites.
Of course, we were asked to name our favorite color. Most people present answered: RED. With my background as an artist and photographer, color mainly interests me as part of a piece of art or a picture. However, once I dived into color as a part of nutrients a whole new world opened up for me.
The significance of antioxidants and free radicals
For Tom and me, red food is one of our favorites. This is because red fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential for our health.
However, antioxidants are a complex physical compound. They control the free radicals that can damage our cells. In their turn, free radicals are important for all kinds of chemical processes that keep the body going.
Our health is in good condition when antioxidants and free radicals are in balance. Although food is an important source of antioxidants, too many antioxidants can have a reverse effect when we age.
Red food contains loads of antioxidants
- Red Currants
- Goji (one of the superfoods)
- Red apple
- Red tomatoes
- Red bell pepper
- Red cabbage
- Red chili pepper
- Red leaf lettuce
- Red onion
How to prepare a coulis
Sweet and moist fruits are excellent for preparing a coulis, a thin sauce. Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, and pomegranates are the red fruits that we now and again prepare.
Preparation is quite simple. You heat a small saucepan at a very low fire or temperature. Use a wooden spoon to carefully break the fruits. Never add sugar because the fruits are sweet enough by themselves. Although you might add some honey or maple syrup.
Always use organic fruits because they give the best taste and don’t have pesticides on them.
With most fruits, the preparation of a coulis is very easy. However, you have to remove the pips from the cherries.
The pomegranates are quite another story. They have very strong skin and many membranes inside. These membranes contain the small beads that are filled with the pulp needed for the coulis.
To remove the pomegranate skin and get the beads out of the membranes is a tough and precise job. The reward, pomegranate coulis, is however more than worth it. It’s my favorite coulis.
More than just antioxidants
Each type of red food has specific health benefits. For example, cranberry juice or cranberry tea are said to prevent cystitis (a urinary tract infection).
The lycopene in watermelons decreases LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of a heart attack, a stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
However, scientists do not always agree on the effects of food on your health. There are probably as many specialists that argue cranberry juice helps with bladder problems as others who say it doesn’t.
Which makes me a big advocate of testing food myself. Moreover, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
List of advantages
Nevertheless, the list of claimed advantages of red food is very appealing, don’t you think?
- Reduces 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
- Supports joint tissue for those with arthritis
- Is an aid in gastrointestinal health
Tostada con Tomate, an easy recipe
Spaniards eat 5 times a day! Around 11 a.m. with or without the sun shining, they go and sit on a terrace and have their second breakfast. Spaniards prefer hearty snacks.
When we’re out having a cup of coffee or tea, by that time, we usually adapt to their custom and eat a tostada con tomate (toast with tomato). We even like those tostadas more than the sweet pastries we used to eat in The Netherlands.
Making a tostada con tomate is really easy. And if you buy organic tomatoes and whole-wheat bread with seeds it’s even tastier than in a Spanish bar.
- 3 tomatoes
- extra virgin olive oil
Blend the tomatoes. Roast the bread in the oven. Drip oil to your liking on the bread and cover it with tomato sauce.
We usually add some fresh or dried herbs. Dried oregano tastes wonderful on a tostada. Sometimes we mix fresh basil in the tomato sauce. Real aficionados of tostada, before adding the oil and sauce, rub the cut side of half a clove of garlic across the toasted bread.
When we accidentally make too much tomato sauce, we use the excess sauce, for example, on an omelet with some dried or fresh herbs.
When you have a favorite recipe with red vegetables or fruit, please let us know in the comment box.
Enjoy your meal!
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