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       Volume I - October 15, 2010

Food for Thought and
Blood Sugar Issues as Well!

by Alice Osborne

There are specific foods that science says do a super job of keeping us mentally sharp and managing blood sugar as well.

PURPLE SWEET POTATOES heads the list! Loaded with antioxidants just like orange and yellow sweet potatoes, the pigments in the purple variety give it some distinct advantages in promoting brain health. These pigments help preserve the integrity of blood vessels that transport oxygen to the brain that normally diminish as we age.

Keeping these blood vessels in good working order will ensure a healthy supply of blood to the brain. The best results will come from eating one sweet potato twice a week with the nutrient rich skins intact.

Purple Sweet Potatoes have been used medicinally in Japan for treating diabetes and other diseases for a long time now. They are much lower on the glycemic index scale than white potatoes. That means that even carbohydrate-sensitive people and diabetics can include these good carbohydrates in their diets.

They are loaded with antioxidants that help to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. They boost immunity, are anti-inflammatory, and keep bones and skin healthy.

The most powerful antioxidants are phytochemicals. Anthocyanins are the phytochemicals that give the purple sweet potato its distinctive rich color and they exhibit greater antioxidant activity than either Vitamin C or Vitamin E. Studies show that purple sweet potatoes have 150% more anthocyanins than blueberries, that’s 2 1/2 times the punch per serving! Studies demonstrate that neither the anthocyanin content nor the antioxidant activity of the purple flesh was affected by common cooking methods — great news! Now for a recipe or two:

Purple Hearts Soup

3 lbs purple sweet potato, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 pinch cinnamon
5 coriander seeds
2 qts chicken stock

In a pot, sweat all vegetables with spices (cover and cook over medium-low heat). Add chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree, strain, and adjust seasoning. Garnish with grilled shrimp, basil and lemon.

  Download this recipe.

Purple Delight with Praline Topping
(those with us with blood sugar issues will have to go easy on this, but oh my, this is a fantastic dessert!)

3 C cooked and pureed purple sweet potatoes
¾ sugar
½ C milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
¼ C butter
½ C chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until smooth and pour into a greased 2-qt casserole. TOPPING: Measure brown sugar and flour into food processor. Add butter. Pulse until mixture is crumbly (this can be done with a hand mixer, a pastry blender, etc. as well). Sprinkle this topping over potato mixture. Disperse chopped pecans over top of this mixture. Bake 30-40 min. until potatoes are bubbly and/or topping is brown.

  Download this recipe.

Another exceptional food at promoting good brain health is GINGER.

Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory, and can preempt the manufacture of inflammatory brain chemicals, and potentially slow down the progression of inflammation related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A 500 milligram supplement capsule a day is the best dosage, but you can also add one teaspoon of fresh ginger or one half teaspoon of powdered ginger to a meal 2-3 times a week.

Cream of Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger
Courtesy FoodNetwork

7 cups chicken, or vegetable stock
2 pounds fresh carrots, peeled
3 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise and thoroughly cleaned
1 yam, peeled
4 stalks celery
4 tablespoons butter
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pint heavy cream (optional)

In a large pot, bring stock to a boil. While stock is heating, chop all vegetables into small pieces (approximately 1/2-inch cubes). In a saute pan, over medium-high heat, melt half of the butter. Saute vegetables with ginger and nutmeg for approximately 15 minutes, or until vegetables are browned. Add remaining butter as needed. Add sauteed vegetables to stock, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender. Soup should be thick and smooth. If you like your soup velvety smooth, pour through a fine mesh strainer. Add salt and pepper. To serve, reheat, ladle into bowls, then drizzle 1 tablespoon of cream into each bowl. Serve in warmed bowls.

  Download this recipe.

And finally, our third entry for brain boosting goodness: Sardines!

Most people that think of fish for their brain boosting omega-3 fatty acids usually think of salmon or mackerel. However, sardines are loaded with them and are also far less likely to be contaminated with mercury than larger fish. They’re also budget friendly, and conveniently canned and often require no cooking. Include 3-4 servings of omega-3 rich fish in your meals weekly. HOT TIP: Be sure to trim the skin when cooking other fish, as that will also reduce mercury content.

Norwegian Sardine Pate

8 oz of cream cheese.
1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice.
½ teaspoon of salt.
¼ teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper.
2 cans (3 ¼ oz) of boneless skinless sardines, drained.
1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped.
Dash of hot pepper sauce.
Capers and more chopped parsley, to garnish.
Toast fingers, bread or crackers, to serve with.

Cream together the cream cheese, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Mash the sardines and beat into the cream cheese mixture with the chopped parsley and hot sauce. Form into a mound. Garnish with capers and parsley. Serve with toast fingers, bread or crackers.


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