Summer in a Bowl
Updated: Jul 30, 2018
I'm into a chilled, refreshing salad these days and it makes everything feel like summer to me. I'm sure there are recipes abounding out there with just these very ingredients, but I haven't seen any. I just happened to have these things on my counter and decided I needed to nosh on them, and it seems the more I eat, the more it appeals to me. And, as synchronicity would have it, one of my Restarters shared her version at our last meeting last night, when I hadn't mentioned it at all. I figured if others are enjoying some form of it, then maybe I should share. It's so simple and you can find the ingredients, as I have, just about anywhere this time of year. I had a tomato from a friend's garden bounty, a cucumber from the farmers' market, and an avocado and lime from my local grocery store this time around. Just pulled out my extra virgin olive oil and some RealSalt from my pantry and voila. Summer in a bowl. Delish! And nutrish!
Avocados are packed with carotenoids, phenolics, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Over the years, many have looked askance at the avocado in fear of the fat calories. No worries: recent studies have shown again that avocados have lipid-lowering, anti-hypertensive, and anti-diabetic effects. They help work against obesity, help prevent atherosclerosis and blood clots, and have heart-protective properties. Heard of metabolic syndrome? It's a conglomeration of risk factors for high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high blood fats, and obesity. Metabolic syndrome itself increases the risk of type 2 diabetes five-fold, and the risk of cardiovascular disease three-fold. Avocados in the diet are protective against metabolic syndrome. Check out this study if you'd like to learn more.
Tomatoes are considered a "functional food", according to one study on the role of foods in health promotion and cancer prevention. They contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant and free radical quencher. We get approximately 85% of the lycopene in our diets from tomatoes and tomato products. Lycopene has been shown to have anti-cancer effects. You can read more in this study.
Cucumbers contain specific phytonutrients which are believed to provide us with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. We haven't heard a whole lot about cucumbers and their potential health benefits, but we should expect to hear more as human studies are completed. This article goes into some detail regarding the nutrition in cucumbers.
Chop up the avocado, tomato, and cucumber to your liking, squeeze a lime over the top, shake on a little mineral-rich RealSalt, and drizzle a little bit of EVOO over the top. Stir to distribute the juice and oil. And there you go. Enjoy the perfect mix of flavors and textures; the smooth, velvet-y soft avocado, crunchy cucumber, and juicy tomato really do complement each other well. It's really good chilled on a warm day, and a great side for any summer meal. Taste the season, and know you are feeding your body well!