What do all these ingredients have in common? They are nutrient-dense, created in nature as opposed to a food lab and promote health and healing of the body. The phrase that came to mind when I was making this recipe in my kitchen was "Let food be thy medicine," coined by Hippocrates. You'll see it's very fitting once you read this post.
Here are the health benefits of this delicious trio of vegetables:
Radishes (the "watermelon" variety is seen above)
Excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of calcium (the leaves contain six times the amount of C, so don't throw them out. Same goes for the beet greens).
A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, the radish shares the same cancer-protective benefits as broccoli and cauliflower.
Sulfur-based chemicals in radishes increase the flow of bile, which helps maintain a healthy gallbladder and liver, as well as improving digestion overall.
In a study of patients with stomach cancer, beet juice was found to be a potent inhibitor of the formation of "nitrosamines," cancer-causing compounds found in smoke or cured meats.
Beet fibre has been shown to increase the level of antioxidant enzymes, specifically glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase, also known as the superman of antioxidants. It also increases white blood cells, which are responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells.
The pigment that gives beets their rich red colour, betacyanin, has powerful anti-cancer abilities and is protective against colon cancer.
Sweet Red Peppers
Studies show sweet peppers to be very protective for the eyes against cataracts, most likely due to their vitamin C content.
Sweet peppers aid in the prevention of blood clot formation and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke due to specific substances including capsaicin, flavanoids and vitamin C.
They are have cholesterol lowering ability -- not quite as high as chilli peppers, but still notable.
This recipe is just bursting with a variety of purples and reds. Phytochemicals, which number in the thousands, are what provide these beautiful colours to the vegetables. More importantly, they play important roles in healing our body and scientists have only discovered a fraction of what these foods can do for us. New phytochemicals are discovered every single day! Pretty amazing, isn't it?
Local Beet, Sweet Red Pepper and Watermelon Radish Salad
5-6 small to medium sized organic beets, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 sweet pepper, slice or chop any size you wish
1 watermelon radish (You don't have to use this type, it was just so pretty! You can also use red radishes). Slice or chop any size
3 spoonfuls of pecans
2 tbsp parsley
A few handfuls of arugula
2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Freshly squeezed lemon
2 tbsp goat cheese (optional)
Place the beets in a baking dish and roast covered for 35-45 minutes at 350F or until fork tender. I usually make beets for dinner and then use the leftovers for this salad at lunch. Once the beets are cooled, combine them with the cut-up sweet pepper and watermelon radish. Mix in the parsley, drizzle with EVOO and squeeze as much lemon as you desire. Lastly, sprinkle some pecans (or whatever nuts you have on hand) and goat cheese. I put a handful of arugula into my salad bowl and placed the salad on top of it. Serves four as a side dish.
Real food is such a beautiful thing. Enjoy!