Thursday, September 23, 2004

Foods of Color

Foods of color have proven to be very healthy -- blue and purple foods (like blueberries and related berries, eggplant, grapes) have many known properties. We eat a rainbow of foods at each meal when possible, including lemon, red peppers, something green (endive, olives, greens). We did this even before we knew how the various color foods added more value to our diet. I cannot bring myself to eat a lot of the orange squashes, but sweet potatoes are great for orange foods.
Cranberries have been a favorite, but we had stopped eating them as we thought they were high glycemic. Turns out that, when served unsweetened as we eat them, they are low in carbs and high in fiber and other nutrients (one half-cup has 3.6 carbs, lots of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium). It is common knowledge that they are helpful for the urinary tract, preventing infection. But they are also being studied for their role in fighting heart disease. Cranberry growers are seeking to make the berries more scarlet colored, creating darker juices, as most people consume cranberries as juice. I think that the cranberries are a perfect combination with Splenda, and will be experimenting with them in our nightly fruit compote, along with lemon, ginger, and fruit-flavored vinegars.
I had the opportunity to participate in a cranberry harvest at a bog in Long Beach, WA. The berries are very fragile, and subject to changes in weather. The farmers work very hard for small amounts of crops, as they are very seasonal and extremely price sensitive. I wonder if the news about the cranberry and its low carb status are coincidental with the fact that the season peaks between now and Thanksgiving?