Growing Your Own Salad
To start the year off, I thought I’d indulge in promoting one of my favourite tips for eating well: “Grow a Veggie Garden"
I know, it’s hot outside and there’s the dirt and maybe a lack of confidence about what to do. But think ahead a few weeks to picking your own fresh salad greens and herbs. A few more weeks and you'll be picking cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. And you don’t need a large garden for this either. Salad greens, tomatoes, herbs - they can all be grown in containers, or a raised garden bed if you are lucky enough to have one.
Below is a photo of my niece and nephews mini-garden grown in a large garden pot. They have parsley, lettuce’s and basil, and even a strawberry plant - but Ally the dog usually gets to the strawberries first.
Growing salad greens and herbs a few metres from your kitchen door means all those cancer preventing, inflammation reducing polyphenols can be delivered straight to your plate at the peak of their nutrition. You might have heard of some of these polyphenols before. Flavanols and flavones are more well known examples - but have you heard of diterpenes or Isothiocyanates?
Below, I've made a list of where you'll find some of the polyphenols in your common garden vegetables and herbs. Polyphenols are found in many other foods, as well as medicinal herbs, but I'll focus on what you can grow in your garden.
- Quercetin - a flavanol: broccoli (and other brassica vegetables), garlic, red onion, tomatoes
- Kaempferol - a flavanol: beans, broccoli, cabbage, chives, endive, kale, leek, strawberries, tomatoes
- Anthocyanidins: basil, grapes, mint, mulberries, red cabbage, red onion, rosemary, sage
- Apigenin - a flavone: bell pepper, celery, chamomile, chinese cabbage, dandelion, garlic, parsley
- Luteolin - a flavone: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chrysanthemum flowers, green peppers, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, spinach, thyme
- Sulforaphane - an isothiocyanate: broccoli (especially broccoli sprouts), cauliflower, garden cress, kale, mustard greens, watercress
- Diterpenes: rosemary, sage
- Ursolic Acid - a pentacyclic triterpenoid: basil, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, thyme
That's quite a list!
I hope you are feeling inspired to start your own garden patch. Not only will your salads be transformed with zesty, tasty goodness, they will also provide the diversity of nutrition to keep your body cells healthy and bursting with vitality!