Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Radicchio: A Cancer Fighting Superfood

Who knew? Radicchio...a super food? I had never even bought a radicchio until a month ago. After I learned about its powerful effect on fighting free radicals, that cute little ball of radicchio was finally on my radar! Since then I have been purchasing colorful radicchio every week, and adding it to our nightly salads. We regularly hear about the powerful effects of spinach, berries, broccoli, onions, red cabbage, and the families of veggies related to those power foods as being the most healthy. Although I have never heard radicchio specifically mentioned at all. I never considered radicchio in that super healthy food way, until I watched the video below. Yes, I knew that romaine was probably one of the best choices within the lettuce family. Yet I had no idea that Radicchio was even better. I wanted to share this radical radicchio information, so that you will add radicchio to your evening or afternoon salads everyday too. It's that good!

The video below gives a great overview of the types of veggies to eat in your salads to make yours the most powerful cancer fighting salad that you can put together. Great to know when you want to keep on track with doing the very best you can, when choosing which foods to eat everyday.

A member of the chicory family, radicchio comes from Italy, although it is also believed it may have come from Asia to them. It is now grown widely in California, and I would try to do your best to find an organic variety in your local market. You can also grow your own organic radicchio from seeds. Radicchio can come in varieties that are the shape of a softball or look like red Belgian endive. Just look at the many beautiful radicchio varieties available at Johnny's Seeds. Most find that radicchio lasts at least a week in the fridge. I use Debbie Meyer Green Bags  for my veggies, and my radicchio has lasted up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

I absolutely love the bright color in salads, and that is exactly where its power emanates. Color! Like most purple or blue varieties of veggies, it's those deep dark colors that create the nutritional and cancer suppression goodness known as anthocyanidins. They are a type of powerful antioxidant, and radicchio actually has more of them than spinach and blueberries. Since veggies and fruits are made of many different nutrients and vitamins it is important to eat a variety to cover all our bases, although the ones with antioxidants are the ones that have a very strong effect on cancer cells. Anthocyanidins are found to have fifty times the antioxidant activity of both vitamin E and vitamin C. These are said to positively impact heart disease, skin, arthritis, wounds, cancer, and varicose veins. Seems Radicchio is a winner when creating that healthy rainbow of a salad! Red cabbage has a new rival!

Radicchio is commonly found added to warm or cold salads, though it is also able to be roasted, grilled, sauteed, added to risotto, rice, zucchini, soups, and pasta dishes. Plus great news... Radicchio can also be added to your juice and smoothie recipes! I will have to expand my preparation of this versatile vegetable! Below is a video of how to create a wilted radicchio pizza based on a quick recipe from The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone.

Some people describe the flavor of this red leaf as full and mildly bitter. I actually find radicchio sweet, and not very overwhelming in taste at all. If your radicchio tastes slightly bitter to you, just soak your chopped pieces in a bowl of ice cold water for 30 minutes. Then add to your salad. With that gorgeous color I am certainly going to add it to my favorite yummy sandwiches which are filled with avocado and tomato too.

I may have been a bit slow on the Radicchio bandwagon, but at least I am now on board! Hey, even Pliny The Elder (23-79 AD) praised the medicinal uses of Radicchio, so really how slow am I ??? Ha! If you are like me and have not been a regular consumer of radicchio it is time to get started adding that sensational color to your meals! And those of you who have been eating this powerhouse, just eat more! 

In honor of my love for the health benefits of eating radicchio, I made this fab purple lettered t-shirt, "Keep Calm and Eat Radicchio!" You can find the top here in my Queen's Table Shop where I have other healthy food inspired items. Any of the designs can also be placed on men's or children's t-shirts, plus a variety of other products.

Be happy! Be healthy! Be peace!

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