Salad Days: Hoot Cela!

MY COLUMN: from May 2011

I'm sure you have heard of Coleslaw. It's almost a standard treat in our house. In case you've ever wondered how coleslaw got its name, it's quite possible it may have been derived from the Dutch whose word for cabbage is kool, and salad is sla.
Of course we know that raw cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, bak choy and many edible plants of the cruciferae family are very wholesome foods, and that these are an anti-carcinogen.

Last fall I wrote about the wonders of fresh roasted coffee. Ours (my husband sells his own roasts) is from organically grown beans, and purchased from a Fair Trade non-profit company that supports small farmers.

I am still marvelling at recent developments in medical research that have altered Doctors' opinions about coffee. For one thing, coffee has now proven to reduce chances of getting diabetes for women over the age of fifty.

I didn't know, when I researched cabbage and nutrition for this column that cabbage, like coffee, had not always enjoyed a reputation for wholesomeness...

Pros and Cons in the Illustrious History of Cabbages

Veg Paradise

If you link to a wonderful, fresh article about cabbages for kings or philosophers, you will find that the bounteous vegetable has been lauded so deeply that its sacred body has been kept placed upon a pedestal and revered by ancient Greeks, for its magical medicinal properties!
And now, the reason for the season, to quote Veg

"Cato, an ancient Roman statesman, circa 200 BCE, advised one to eat plenty of raw cabbage seasoned with vinegar before a banquet at which one plans to "drink deep." Even the ancient Egyptians advised starting the meal with raw cabbage, including cabbage seeds, to keep one sober. It seemed that the standard treatment of the day for a nasty hangover was more cabbage."

Next time you feel like partying, remember to eat well before you drinkup, and to consume a good portion of coleslaw. If you don't know what Coleslaw is, here's the thing- you shred raw cabbage and a tiny bit of carrot, and toss it with oil and vinegar.It really is a delicious sidedish, and now you know, raw cabbage can keep you sober!

I am rambling on here about cabbage, and there are some interesting facts that you might want to research on the many cabbage pages. Did you know, for example,that some person in middle history believed that cabbage gave one the "black vapors"? A modern explanation might come from nutrition facts, posted at Nutrition Data. Although cabbage does scan as full of good nutrients, it is considered to be quite high in sugars.

In 1984 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations listed cabbage as one of the top twenty vegetables considered an important food source sustaining world population. Many countries of the world have incorporated cabbage as part of their national cuisine.

Med Pros and Cons

"Researchers have learned that foods in the cabbage family inhibit the growth of breast, stomach, and colon cancer due to phytochemicals called indoles. These indoles tend to burn up the female hormone, estrogen. Indoles also tend to ward off cell changes that lead to colon cancer. Some of the phytochemicals seem to produce anticancer enzymes. A University of Utah School of Medicine study on 600 men revealed that those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had a much lower risk of colon cancer. On the side of caution, however, consuming excessive amounts of cabbage may contribute to thyroid problems, possibly goiter."

LINK TO Veg Paradise for the whole story.

What You Never Bothered to Find Out About Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you use a steaming method to cook them. Actually, I didn't even know that (what ignorance!) I go ahead and boil mine! Apparently, the fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed.

When this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. I liked that a lot. It's always good to check your cholesterol consumtion somehow. Lecithin will break down bad cholesterol, but I never thought up steamed brussels sprouts as having a medicinal value like this!

Raw Brussels sprouts still lower cholesterol - not as much, though, as steamed Brussels sprouts.
This delicious vegetable, which is like a miniature cabbage that grows many from one cabbage-like plant stem, may have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection:

"A recent study has shown improved stability of DNA inside of our white blood cells after daily consumption of Brussels sprouts in the amount of 1.25 cups. Interestingly, it's the ability of certain compounds in Brussels sprouts to block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that researchers believe to be responsible for these DNA-protective benefits.

For total glucosinolate content, Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli.

In Germany, Brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But it's recent research that's made us realize how especially valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.

The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.

Brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function. In a recent study, 5 ounces of Brussels sprouts were consumed on a daily basis for 4 consecutive weeks by a small group of healthy adults and not found to have an unwanted impact on their thyroid function. Although follow-up studies are needed, this study puts at least one large stamp of approval on Brussels sprouts as a food that can provide fantastic health benefits without putting the thyroid gland at risk."

Quoted from: WH Foods, Brussel Sprout Facts

I must say it is well worth surfing to and fully reading the material that I have linked to. My clips have only scratched the surface for interestingness!

Tickle your taste buds, though, and without having to worry about the vapours or your waistline, try a hot salad made of Brussels Sprouts. I've posted one of my ideas on the recipes page for you.
You've heard of 'kool sla' by now (Dutch for coleslaw) so, why not adventure and try Hot Sla? So "Kool!"

Bye for now!



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