Filling our plate with a rainbow of vegetables and fruits not only livens up our meals, it is also one of the easiest ways to boost our nutrient intake and reduce the risk of some diseases including cancer.
Vegetables and fruits get their colour from compounds called phytonutrients which are thought to be good for our health. Different phytonutrients have different benefits so by eating a rainbow of colour you get a great range of nutrients.
Soup is an easy way to add colour and nutrients into the diet. So we have prepared some recipe sheets for three soups for our CAREGivers to use when cooking for clients. We have chosen:
- A red soup -Tomato soup
- An orange soup - Carrot and red lentil soup
- A green soup - Broccoli, celery, spinach and dill soup
Carrots get their bright orange colour from the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. They also contain fibre, vitamin K, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc.
The average carrot contains about three milligrams of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer. A carrot a day thought to reduce the risk of strokes. Carrots can also help diabetics, carrot is good for blood sugar regulation because of the presence of carotenoids in carrot. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar.
These are packed full of vitamins– including vitamins A, C and E. They contain natural anti-inflammatories, potassium and other mineral salts. They also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which helps eliminate damaging free radicals in the body that can harm body cells. In fact, people living in the West get 85 per cent of this nutrient from tomatoes. Lycopene may help ward against prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer as well as age related macular degeneration. Furthermore some studies have suggested tomatoes may have a role in reducing cholesterol. (Source www.netdoctor.co.uk)
This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fibre and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium and niacin. Spinach is loaded with flavonoids which act as antioxidants protecting the body from free radicals. The various nutrients offer much in the way of disease protection. For the best benefit spinach should not be cooked for long and best added towards the end of cooking let it wilt down and then finish. (www.national-healthy-eating.com)
These are great made on market day when you can buy the vegetables fresh from the stall holders with the minimum of packaging and cook them the same day!
We made some of these soups and then had a CAREGiver soup tasting session added to their March CAREGiver meetings. Tuesdays group preferred the green soup and Thursdays group liked the orange we have two more groups planned next week so we do not know the winner yet!
We have recipe sheets in the office so if you would like a copy let us know and we can email you the recipes.