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Try It Out Tuesday - Alliums

Photo Credit: David Grunfield

We'll be starting off the Try It Out Tuesday series with Power Foods, so I wanted to give you a little background information about what those entail.

Power foods (or power nutrients, super foods, or whatever you prefer to call them) are those foods that pack the most bang for your buck, so to speak. These foods are full of phytochemicals, which are chemicals (such as beta carotene) that occur naturally in plants. They can also be fruits or vegetables which have an abundance of antioxidants in them. Personally, I think that the idea that antioxidants are going to save the world is a little over emphasized, but the foods do have valuable nutrients in them that are good for you, not to mention that most are packed with flavor (so they will be included in my trying it out series).

Our first Try It Out Tuesday will focus on the Allium family of foods. The allium family contains foods such as onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic and chives.

By consuming members of the allium family, you stimulate your body to produce more glutathione, which is a an antioxidant that is present in your body (particularly in your liver, where is can help your body get rid of chemicals). Glutathione also helps to eliminate toxins and carcinogins in your body, which can help to prevent cancer (reference here).

Other benefits of the allium family include:

  • Lowering total cholesterol
  • Raising HDL cholesterol 
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • May enhance testosterone levels (this is a good thing, even for women!)
  • Lowers the risk of blood clots
  • Can prevent and fight the common cold 
  • Can help to regulate blood sugar (see article here)

If you are only going to add one member of the Allium family to your diet, garlic would be the best choice, as it has the most known beneficial side effects. Crushing or chopping garlic before using it helps to release the enzymes in it (allinase) which are responsible for the benefits, so if you are going to use it in a dish, at least chop the top off of the garlic clove before using it to allow for some activation of the enzymes.

Throughout the upcoming week, I will have a variety of dishes that feature (or at least include) members of the allium family to help to help to inspire you to integrate this important group into your diet.

I would love it if you would join me on this Try It Out Tuesday. What are you planning on making this week? How are you going to incorporate alliums into your diet (or if you already do, what are some of your favorite dishes?)

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