One of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to increase the antioxidant levels in any meal is to add a savory member from the Allium family. The Allium family (Dr. Perricone’s #2 super food) includes garlic, leeks, onions, shallots, green onions and chives, which are all excellent complements to hearty autumn fare. One of the key benefits of this super food family is that they stimulate the production of glutathione (a tripeptide that governs a host of critical mechanisms in the body). As we age, our glutathione levels decrease and as they decrease, the internal signs of aging manifest in our skin in the form of lines, wrinkles, crepy, thin skin and lack of radiance.
- To get the highest concentration of the allicin compound (the active constituent in garlic) consider adding raw, minced garlic to homemade vinaigrettes. The simple combination of garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil makes an incredibly flavorful salad dressing. This can also double nicely as a marinade.
- Add raw garlic to bruschetta.
- Roast garlic cloves whole. You can incorporate them into an appetizer spread, or add them to mashed potatoes to up the flavor, but not the calories.
- Leeks offer a much more delicate flavor profile. They’re spectacular with stuffing, in soups, dips, omlettes and frittats.
Herbs are another excellent way to boost flavor and nutritional benefits. Essential oils in herbs have been found to have anti-inflammatory function by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which mediates inflammatory cascade reactions in the body. Be liberal with them! Rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage are potent sources of many anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Chop some extra herbs and include them in your salad dressing.
- Add fresh herbs to olive oil. The flavor infuses rather quickly and you can serve this alone as a dipping sauce or use in cooking as a flavored cooking oil.
- Herbs are being used to enhance the flavor and taste of vegetable, chicken, fish and lean meat dishes.
What are your favorite ways to make a meal healthier?