St. Patty’s Day and healthy eating don’t traditionally go hand in hand as this day is all about indulging – overindulging – for most. But, many of these traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods are actually loaded with antioxidants and can be very beneficial to your health. As we discuss, often, antioxidants combat free radical damage that contributes to heart disease, cancer and premature aging. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale was developed to determine which foods are the richest in antioxidants and we encourage our clients to eat about 30,000 ORAC points per day. You can even rack up ORAC points on the 17th by consuming these Shamrock foods that boost antioxidant intake and battle those nasty free radicals.
- Most traditional corned beef and cabbage recipes call for 12 oz of beer to add flavor to the meat and vegetables. Use Guinness Extra Stout, which provides powerful flavonoid antioxidants as well as a rich, nutty flavor. Antioxidant wise – the darker the beer, the better!
- Potatoes and carrots often accompany a St. Patty’s Day meal. Potatoes (ORAC: 1,600 per ½ potato with skin) and carrots (ORAC: 200 per ½ cup cooked) – on their own are a good start! Try roasting the potatoes with skin, and add spinach (ORAC: 1,300 per ½ cup cooked) or better yet, broccoli rabe (ORAC: 6,800 per 1 bunch) to the vegetable side dish to boost the ORAC value.
- If you grew up on meat and potatoes on the 17th, they probably feel incomplete without cabbage. Cooked cabbage has an ORAC value of 600 per ½ cup, but its more colorful and flavorful brother red cabbage trumps it with an ORAC value of 2,400. Try boiling a mix of these cabbages as a pairing to the main dish, or prepare a raw cabbage slaw by mixing with Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar (ORAC: 100 per Tbsp.).
- Craving dessert? Try traditional apple barley pudding, a hot dessert similar to applesauce made with fiber-rich barley and lemon juice (ORAC: 400 per 1 oz). Use granny smith apples which provide an ORAC value of 7,100, and save calories by swapping out the heavy cream topping with 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon and you’ll add 7,000 ORAC points to your total.
Sláinte!Posted on: Mar 16, 2011