Thursday, 16 April 2015

What's Super About the Rhubarb Season?

Rhubarb is a a healthy superfood & Recipe
Rhubarb is a a healthy superfood
Fruit or Vegetable?

Strictly speaking, rhubarb is a vegetable (it’s from the same botanical grouping as sorrel and dock). However, despite it’s naturally tart, sour taste, we actually most often cook these thick, celery-like stalks as though they were a fruit.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant, but, dependent upon variety, it can crop in two seasons: late winter (January to early February, known as forced ) and spring (late March to June). It’s the distinctive, ruby-green stalks that are the edible part of the plant, whereas the leaves are inedible, as they contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can damage kidneys.

What's Super About Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is often described as a “Superfood” and there are two main reasons for this nomenclature based on scientific studies. Firstly, a number of studies have identified rhubarb as having a cholesterol-lowering effect when eaten, and lower LDL cholesterol levels is strongly associated with a maintaining a healthy heart. Importantly, these studies have been into the effect of eating rhubarb or extracts of rhubarb in humans.
Secondly, cooking rhubarb (and slow-cooking or baking in particular) has been found to increase the amount of antioxidant chemicals (polyphenols) it contains. The researchers found that polyphenol content was generally greater in cooked rhubarb than raw rhubarb. The highest polyphenol levels were found in slow-cooked and baked rhubarb. Headlines at the time claimed that rhubarb could prevent cancer, as other research has indicated that polyphenols may offer protection from diseases such as cancer. However, it is important to note that this research on rhubarb cooking methods looked only at the levels of polyphenols derived from the different cooking methods, it specifically did not include any testing of how the human body then responded to consuming that rhubarb.

Honey Ginger Rhubarb  Meringue Pots Recipe
Honey Ginger Rhubarb
Meringue Pots Recipe
Delicious & Nutritious Rhubarb

Rhubarb is also a good source of calcium (for bone health), lutein (for eye health), Vitamin K (for healthy blood) and a wide-range of antioxidants.
Due to its natural toughness and sour taste, rhubarb is almost always cooked rather than eaten raw. Whilst it can be used as an accompaniment to savoury foods, it’s predominately used in sweet dishes, such as my Honey Ginger Rhubarb Meringue Pots Recipe. This heart-healthy, low-fat recipe is under 175 calories with only 0.7g of total fat and is diary-free, gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians. If you would like me to send you a PDF copy of this recipe, just click the button below:

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