A whole new world of whole grains is opening up to us these days, and rice alone comes in a host of varieties. You may have eaten basmati rice at an Indian restaurant, green “Bamboo” rice or even black rice that actually cooks up to be dark purple and is popular in China and Thailand.
This week’s Health-e-Recipe is for Red Rice Dressing. The phytonutrient called anthocyanin – also present in red berries – creates its hue. Red rice is grown in countries as far-flung as France and Bhutan. (Don’t confuse it with “red yeast rice,” a supposedly medicinal substance used in traditional Chinese medicine.) Red rice contains potassium, magnesium and other minerals.
All rice provides about the same number of calories in a half-cup serving: about 200. But brown, wild and colored rices can contain more cancer-fighting fiber thanks to their whole-grain status from retaining their germ and bran, versus white rice that has had these fiber extras refined out of them. Not all exotic rice is a whole grain, either: if you’re looking for basmati or jasmine rice, for example, choose brown versions to get the most fiber.
Both of these cruciferous family vegetables are well known for their cancer-fighting compounds, especially isothiocyanates and indoles. And broccoli and cauliflower are even more protective in this dish, which also uses bell peppers, onion, garlic and oregano. That’s because each ingredient offers its own set of cancer-preventive phytochemicals, which reinforce the others. Eating a wide variety of vegetables improves the odds of reaping their health benefits.
Quinoa is a whole grain that may rank highest in protein content, providing 8 grams per cup. Along with the vegetables, it also contains cancer-fighting fiber. To add protein but keep it light, serve this dish with some diced chicken breast or baked fish.
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Before the fireworks light up the sky, chill out with our easy Health-e-Recipe for Pasta Salad with Tomatoes for your 4th of July celebration – or anytime.
Tomatoes, green pepper and basil are tossed with whole-wheat bowties, penne, spirals or any other favorite small-sized pasta. Along with the garlic, these plant foods contain compounds that may be cancer protective. They also provide fiber, as does the whole-wheat pasta. Fiber has been associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer by strong evidence in AICR’s CUP report. It also is digested more slowly than white pasta, which keeps blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
The dressing for this salad is a vinaigrette made with olive oil and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar, both healthier than the mayonnaise-based dressings many pasta salads use.
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