So it’s healthy eating week and we’re all being encouraged to eat our five-a-day when it comes to the old fruit and vegetables. Here at Doctor Wellgood we’re all for it – a healthy diet gives a healthy body and the better you eat the better your chances of avoiding health problems in years to come. In the first place you’ll be getting all the vitamins your body needs, then you’ll be giving it some important fibre and finally you’ll not be doing too many calories and lumping on the kilos.
Of course a lot of guys take the view that real men don’t eat Calabrese (that’s the posh word for broccoli). Plus with demands of five-a-side, taking in the odd club night, X-Box, movies and serious sleeping we also don’t get the time, or take the time, to cook properly for ourselves. But DON’T PANIC – Doctor Wellgood has devised a brilliant way of covering the problem with 3 super-foods all blokes love, one kitchen staple and one rather more exotic herb!
The stuff that’s really good for you in tomatoes is called lycopene, plus you get vitamins A, C and E on the side. There’s a whole heap of research about this online and it’s an antioxidant that combats cancer – in particular prostate cancer, so it’s extra good for blokes. Various bits of research also suggest that it lowers bad cholesterol, so it’s good for avoiding heart problems. There are claims it stimulates the skin into helping to protect from UV rays (but please see main story about sun tanning and don’t rub yourself all over with a tube of tomato puree). It may also help prevent wrinkly skin.
Chillies are rather fascinating things and in the UK we’re really waking up to what countries like Thailand and Mexico have known for ever – chillies are hot for your health. The essential ingredient is called capsaicin, also chillies also contain lycopene. Capsaicin has all sort of amazing properties as it’s an anti-inflammatory, it’s good for ulcers, lowers blood pressure and is supposed to act as an anti-depressant (so good when life gets a bit stressy), it’s an appetite depressant and there are claims it stimulates the metabolism which together add up to weight loss, and it has claims to help multiple sclerosis.
All you need for this is onions, garlic, tomatoes, some chillies, a basil plant and a Ciabatta loaf – all easily and cheaply available from your favourite supermarket. Gently fry off the onions and garlic in a little olive oil (good for you and we haven’t even gone there yet!), then chop the tomatoes and chillies and add to the pan. If you’ don’t like fresh tomatoes simply use something out of a tin/box-type-thing.
Stir it all in together, and don’t over-cook it. Meanwhile slice the Ciabatta in half and toast it under the grill. When toasted simply spoon the cooked mixture onto the toast and then decorate with basil leaves. We prefer Greek basil here as the leaves are smaller, but you can always tear bigger leaves.
Basil is green and the last one of the five a day. And basil in itself has a whole heap of healthy properties. Eat Blokes Bruschetta every other day and you’ll never have been so healthy. It’s a meal, or at least a starter, that really impresses the girls too.
We’re talking tomatoes, chilli and garlic – 3 really versatile little ingredients that can be combined in any number of ways to tick those healthy eating boxes. You’ll be amazed just how good they are for you (not just in taste terms) and the great news for those of you who don’t like fresh tomatoes or who can’t be arsed to keep on buying them is that they’re even better for you when they’ve been cooked or processed. Then we’re going to add in the good old onion and then, to add a bit of bling, were going green with a bit of basil.
Cooking or processing tomatoes concentrates the levels of lycopene. That makes ketchup officially good for you, along with all the passata and other tomato-based sauces you get on the supermarket shelves. Ketchup of course does tend to have quite large amounts of salt and sugar in it so just buy a low salt brand and anyway we all need some carbs. Other good news is that the tomato sauce you get as a pizza topping qualifies as one of your 5 a day – this just gets better and better.
Garlic contains half the alphabet of vitamins giving you a hit of A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D and E. Only nature knows how but it also manages to pack in a shed load of minerals – calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.
That’s not bad for a start but the ingredient the smart guys reckon really helps you is a compound of sulphur called allicin. Back in the day, before Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin, garlic was a pretty good cure all. In the first place a daily intake of garlic will help your immune system so has a serious preventative effect. Then garlic has long been known to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects. During World War I, when penicillin was short, garlic made a major comeback.
Then there’s research that suggests garlic helps prevent virtually all types of cancer (except prostate and breast – so tomatoes for prostate then) and also that garlic helps the body metabolise iron which is pretty important in blood. It’s more than a super food, it’s a wonder food, so take our word for it and eat lots. Or don’t take our word for it and Google ‘health benefits of garlic’ and be amazed for yourself.
What can we say about onions? Actually heaps, but let’s settle for the fact that they contain something called quercitin which is a little bloody miracle of a substance that fights asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and a huge range of other infections in general. It’s also claimed to be anti-heaps of things – antiviral, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. It inhibits stomach cancer and is a sedative. Should you for any reason get heavy metals into your body (no, not heavy Metallica or other sorts of extreme rock) it can help detox you.