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Antioxidants: One of the Many Benefits of Eating Foods “In Season”

Antioxidants: One of the many benefits of Eating Foods “in Season”

Eating foods that are in season is preferred because that is when they are the freshest and most affordable, the most flavorful and the highest in nutritional value.   

What are antioxidants? They are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are
molecules produced when your body breaks down food or by negative environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Many experts believe this damage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), cancer and arthritis. Free radicals can also
interfere with your immune system. So fighting off damage with antioxidants
helps to keep the immune system strong, lowering the risk of certain diseases
and infection.

The recipe below highlights several colorful vegetables that are abundant in most Connecticut Gardens starting late spring and early summer.

Abundance of the Season Veggie Stew

This versatile recipe can be used as a side dish, on top of pasta, or you can add a protein for a meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small onions, Cut into long strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 4 zucchini, chopped into ½ moons
  • 4-5 Chopped ripe tomatoes; Time saver: You can substitute a 15 oz can of Italian seasoned tomatoes (I’ve used Contadina Pasta Ready Italian tomatoes)
  • ¼ to ½ cup dry white wine or broth
  • 4 sweet bell peppers Red, Orange,
  • Yellow and Green– Cut into long strips
  • ½ pound sliced Portobello or Crimini mushrooms
  • Optional Garnish: chopped basil, oregano, parsley, black pepper, freshly shredded parmesan
  • Optional Protein additions: Chopped chicken breast, pork chop or hot and sweet sausage

Preparation:

Chop veggies and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Cook onions, garlic, and salt, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.

Add zucchini, tomatoes, and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until zucchini is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in peppers and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.

Serve hot with protein and garnish of your choice.

Danielle Brodeur is the Program Director and Health/Weight Loss Coach at Aiki Academy of Self Defense in North Branford. If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to Danielle.brodeur@snet.net.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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