Green Food: Making the Most of Eating Green Food (cont.)

Sometimes we overlook some good sources of green power.

"Soy is great at destroying free radicals."

Edamame are soybeans harvested while young and still in their pods. They can be found in the produce section or a salted form as a snack food. Soy is great at destroying free radicals and has been shown in some studies to lower the risk of breast cancer and lower cholesterol. Soy can even contribute to bone strength and help prevent osteoporosis. Carol A. Miles, PhD, agricultural systems specialist at the Washington State University Vancouver Research Station, tells WebMD that she thinks of edamame as a protein source. "No cholesterol!" she adds. She boils the fresh pods for three minutes; butter and salt are optional. Miles says she doesn't even add them.

Green olives have been cultivated since prehistoric times and are healing not only to nations (olive branch) but to innards. The pale green oil does not clog arteries and is credited with helping prevent some cancers. It is even singled out as beneficial in the government's new dietary guidelines ( Cross recommends using olives themselves in salads, spaghetti sauce, ratatouille, stews, and almost any savory dish.

Mint is for both sweet and savory concoctions and is available fresh in most produce sections. It settles the stomach and freshens the breath. Cross recommends using it in salads, brewing it in hot or iced tea, mashing it up in chocolate cake or pudding, or grinding it like a pesto to top roasted meats. "And don't forget the juleps," she winks.

Green tea is getting a lot of good buzz these days. The pale green elixir is loaded with catechins which are credited with reducing rates of cancer, as well as tumors. Green tea may also lower cholesterol and blood sugar and kill viruses. Substitute it for soda at your desk. Cross also recommends making it into a gelatin dessert or ice cream.

The little green Granny Smith apples (yes, there was one, in Australia in 1868), are perfect pie apples, look fabulous in a coat of caramel, and can be baked with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with ice cream. According to Smith (no relation), apples contain pectin and fiber, which slow the release of blood sugar and keep energy levels high (and the doctor away). Cross recommends grating Granny Smiths into muffins and pancakes, or dipping them in peanut butter. "Their lemony taste is great with peanut butter," she says.

The parade of greenery is endless. Even green beer contains B vitamins and no cholesterol.

No recipe for shamrocks, though. Maybe with a nice vinaigrette?

Published March 7, 2005.

SOURCES: Melissa Diane Smith, nutritionist; and author, Going Against the Grain: How Reducing and Avoiding Grains Can Revitalize Your Health. Audrey T. Cross, PhD, nutritionist, Columbia University, New York City. Carol A. Miles, PhD, agricultural systems specialist, Washington State University Vancouver Research Station, Vancouver, Wash.

©2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Last Editorial Review: 3/18/2005 4:36:14 PM

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