In our Shot-glass Salad post and in our Grilled pizza recipe we use foods with benefits beyond the colorful beauty they add to the dish!

RADISHES

The zesty root comes in many shapes and colors – round and red; long and white, cylindrical and purple; even black. Chinese historians mention them as far back as 2700 B.C. Ancient Romans served the radix (origin of the word radish, meaning root) with honey and vinegar, and the British colonists brought them over to the New World for their medicinal uses to fight kidney stones, skin issues, and intestinal worms.

TOP NUTRIENTS: Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber

HEALTH BENEFITS

◗ Don’t throw away the leaves! A 2009 study published by the International Society for Horticultural Science found that radish leaves contain up to 45 times the capacity of roots to induce cancer-combatting enzymes.

◗ All that vitamin C allows tissues and blood vessels to repair themselves faster, and keeps teeth and bones strong.

◗ The diuretic properties of radishes purify the kidneys and urinary system to relieve inflammation. radish

THE POWER OF PURPLE POTATOES

Relatively new on the potato scene in this country are South American tubers with levels of antioxidants normally found only in superfoods, like blueberries and pomegranates. The common color scheme of these ingredients is no coincidence – all three contain anthocyanin, a deeply pigmented flavanoid known to protect DNA against cancer, strengthen membranes and capillaries, and help lower blood pressure, according to a 2012 study presented at the American Chemical Society National Meeting.

watercress

The peppery herb has a tender texture that lends itself well to salad. Watercress plants grow on the banks of slow-moving streams and rivers, and its leaves must be harvested just before it begins flowering – otherwise its flavor turns bitter. The high zinc and iron content made ancient Roman and Persian civilizations prize it as an aphrodisiac.

TOP NUTRIENTS: Vitamins K, C & A, Manganese, Calcium

HEALTH BENEFITS
◗ The iron found in watercress makes it an effective treatment for anemia, and the vitamin C helps with iron absorption.

◗ High iodine content present in watercress improves thyroid function and relieves some symptoms of hypothyroidism.

◗ A 2007 study by the University of Ulster in the UK reported that daily consumption of watercress can significantly reduce DNA damage to white blood cells, impeding an important trigger to cancer.

ABOUT THYME

While the ancient Greeks believed thyme was a symbol of elegance and refinement, civilizations such as the Romans, Scottish highlanders, and Middle Age Europeans considered it an emblem of strength and courage. Whatever its purported social significance, thyme essential oil is proven to prevent infection. It was used in bandages long ago, and now functions as the active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. Other myriad benefits to the body include mood enhancement, relief from cough, calming an upset stomach, and many more.