My last post “Incredible Cruciferous” http://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/incredible-cruciferous/ looked at the range of veggies to try in this group and their amazing nutritional properties, as well a few suggested recipes to try out. This time, I want to share some top tips on how to get maximum benefit from these gorgeous vegetables – and a new recipe idea to try out too.
Cruciferous vegetables are determined to provide us with their beneficial properties. Scientists have discovered that raw or cooked cruciferous vegetables have different effects and benefits at varying stages in the gut. In freshly picked broccoli, for example, enzymes stay active for 48 hours. If that broccoli is eaten raw in this time, the enzymes are absorbed more readily in the upper part of the gut; these nutrients then head straight to the liver to be put to good use. Excellent! Storage and heat deactivates these enzymes, however, so the older or more cooked, the less these enzymes are available for absorption in the higher part of the gut. All is not lost though, because bacteria that live in the lower part of the gut reactivate the enzymes. This ensures the nutrients are absorbed as well as keeps the lower gut healthy. It’s a win-win!
Here are some other top tips about eating these super health-supporting vegetables:
- Food preparation makes a difference. Chopping or cutting these vegetables activates enzymes. So prepare your vegetables and then leave for a few minutes before either eating raw or cooking. This makes the nutrients available throughout the gut.
- Steam or simmer in soup or stews is the better way to preserves the active enzymes and nutrients; the high heats of boiling or microwaving is too hostile
- Eat plenty but don’t eat too much! There is evidence that eating excessive amounts of cruciferous vegetables every day for a period of time could lead to an underactive thyroid. There is evidence that a lady who ate 1 -1.5kg of bok choi every day caused her thyroid to stop functioning. This is an extreme amount! So what is a safe amount? A study found that eating 150g brussel sprouts every day for a month had no detrimental effect on thyroid function – that’s still a lot of sprouts!
Kohlrabi is one of the more unusual veggies in this group. Not found so often in supermarkets, they turn up in my Riverford veg box every now and then, and it’s always a joy because I love the crunchy texture. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Recipes mainly focus on the bulb, but the leaves can be eaten too, although better cooked when larger. And who wouldn’t want to eat them – this photo is from a gorgeous purple kohlrabi that turned up in my box this week; the leaves are so pretty!
Packed with vitamin C and B vitamins, kohlrabi also has a good amount of potassium, and in particular has an excellent sodium:potassium ratio, which means it’s good for maintaining blood pressure and heart health. And of course it provides a good dose of fibre, keeping your guts healthy and happy.
This salad is quick to make, light and refreshing, perfect for the hot weather we have been having recently. It’s an excellent side dish for a BBQ, so why not give it a go the next time you light the coals for some summer time dining?
Kohlrabi, carrot and daikon salad (makes 4 large servings)
1 medium kohlrabi
3 medium carrots
1-2 daikon radish
2 spring onions, finely chopped
couple of handfuls of fresh coriander
sprinkle toasted seeds (optional)
For the dressing:
4 heaped tablespoons dairy free yoghurt
1-2 tablespoons tahini
juice of a lime
salt and pepper
Grate the kohlrabi, carrots and radish on a large hole (or get out the spiralizer if you have one). Place in a bowl with the chopped spring onion and half of the fresh coriander. Mix well.
Place the dressing ingredients into a small blender bowl and whizz to mix well. Taste and add more lime, salt or tahini as needed. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well. Sprinkle the remaining chopped coriander and toasted seeds over the top and serve. Enjoy!