Healthy and simple: Salad “Union of Contrast”

Here I'm going to share with you my recent finding - recipe of the healthy, ballanced and tasty dish. Meet the salad "Union of contrast" made from red beet and avocado. The recipe is extremely simple so I'm going to spice it up with some details on history and healthy qulities of these products.

 

Olga Sydorenko

 

“Union of contrast”

 

Let's begin with history.

Red beet

History of red beet starts from ancient times - 2000 years BC. Qualities of red beet were well known for Persians, Babylonians, Assyrians, who recognized it not only as a vegetable, but also as a medicinal plant. Cultivation of red beet by man began about 1000 years BC. This is evidenced by the list of all the plants from the gardens of the Babylonian kings, where red beet was listed. Ancient Greeks very much appreciated the beets, yielding it in sacrifice to the god Apollo. The first edible root forms appeared (according to Theophrastus), and were well known by the IV century BC. By the beginning of CE tame forms of common edible red beet appeared. In the X-XI centuries they were already known in Kyiv Rus, in XIII-XIV centuries - in the countries of Western Europe. In the XIV century red beets came to the northern Europe.

Avocado

This ancient culture was discovered by tilling tribes of Central America. It is believed that avocado came from Mexico as a result of crossing of two, or even perhaps a greater number of species. The Indians began to cultivate avocados more than 7000 years ago. Due to the high content of protein and vegetable fat avocado was an important part of their daily food.

Europeans first became acquainted with avocado in the XV century. At that time it was spread around the vast territory from Mexico to Peru. Then it was brought by Spanish and Portuguese navigators to the west coast of Africa and South-East Asia. In 1653 the Spaniards first brought avocados to Europe. Acquainted with its properties, the Spanish sailors were laying in avocados for long trips.

 

After this short history lesson most of the hesitation (if someone had them) in healthiness of those products should have gone for good. Surely there is a good reason for those products being cultivated and presented to the deities for centuries!

So what makes those products special? And what good they can bring to our not divine yet honored organisms.

 

Composition and healthy features of red beet

Red beet

To start with, red beet is rich with carbohydrates (it contains a lot of disaccharides – 8,8 g per 100 g.) And carbohydrates derived from vegetable food is the main energy sours for our body. About 56% of required energy comes from carbohydrates, the rest part is derived from fats and proteins. Red beet contains vitamin С (10 mg. per 100 g.), which is essential for our immune system as well as for iron assimilation (beets are rich with iron). It also contains rich amount of micro and macro elements (specifically with potassium - 325mg per 100 g.) Potassium along with sodium regulate water balance in the body, balance heart rate, take part in the process of neurotransmission, which is essential for contraction of our muscles.

There is a group of biologically active substances called betaines in a red beet. Beet's betaine helps to assimilate proteins and to decrease blood pressure. It also inhibits atherosclerosis and regulates lipid exchange, fights obesity (especially of the liver).

Red beet and it's juice are being used as an immune tonic, metabolism and digestion enhancer. Beet is also recommended as a preventive and therapeutic remedy for hypertension, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Beet is used as a haematopoietic remedy because of high iron and copper. It is good for anaemia and fragile blood vessels.

Attention! People, suffering from urolithiasis and other kidney diseases should avoid consumption of red beet, because it contains a lot of oxalic acid. It is not the everyday product for people with high acidity as well.

Red beet in Ayurveda

Raw beet is hot, sweet, heavy and warming. It is not advised to be consumed when Pitta dosha is high. On the contrary beet is good for those with high Vata dosha. For Kapha dosha it is neutral.

 

Composition and healthy features of avocado

Avocado

Thanks to high content of fat (about 20-30%) aboriginals named this tasty fruit forest butter. Avocado is the most high-calorie fruit (167 kcal). However, avocado's fat is easily digestible because of high unsaturated fatty acids. Avocado is rich with minerals, micro elements (iron, zinc), macro elements (potassium) and vitamins (especially B, E, K).

B group vitamins are essential for metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates and amino acids, synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol, histamine, acetylcholine, haemoglobin. Major quality of vitamin B5 (100 g of avocado contains 29% of daily value) is its ability to stimulate generation of glucocorticoid hormones, what makes it rather effective remedy for arthritis, colitis, allergy and heart diseases. Vitamin B9 (folic acid, which is available in amount of 22% of daily value in 100 g of avocado) is uniquely healthy - some scientists call it "vitamin of good mood". It is folic acid that is essential for generation of "happiness hormone" and good mood. Moreover, vitamin B9 takes part in haemoglobin synthesis by delivering carbon. Vitamin B9 affects cell fission, growth and development of all the tissues, it regulates immune system, supports cardiovascular system, improves liver and digestive system health.

Range of benefits of vitamin Е is outstanding. Any significant biochemical process require this vitamin. Tocopherol is a major guard of the body youth.

Thanks to vitamin К even serious wounds and injuries get crusted over with a barrier of blood cells, which protect it from viruses and bacteria. Vitamin K takes part in function of kidneys, liver, gall bladder, it also normalizes metabolism in bone and connective tissues.

Iron is essential for life, formation of haemoglobin (red blood cells), myoglobin (red pigment in muscles) and some ferments. Iron is a necessary agent for proper metabolism of B vitamins (avocado is rich with them).

Zinc is an important element in human body, it goes next after iron in terms of its content. Zinc is located in cells membranes, it protects them from damage, helps to resist microbes. It is necessary for bone tissue development. Zinc takes part in synthesis of insulin, testosterone and growth hormone. In order to assimilate vitamin A our body needs zinc as well.

In avocado pulp there is plenty of potassium, more than in bananas, which are recognized leaders among fruits rich with this mineral.

By eating avocado one prevents heart attack, helps oneself to resist stress, and contributes to own yong looking skin. Fruits of avocado have noticeable therapeutic effect due to mannogeptulose. When this sugar enters an organism, total blood sugar level comes down. That's why avocado fruits are advised for diet during diabetes mellitus. Moreover, brain cells assimilate glucose better thanks to mannogeptulose. Thats why avocado eating heightens ability of concentration, physical efficiency, removes sleepiness and tiredness. 

Avocado in Ayurveda

Avocado is astringent, cooling, sweet and buttery. It decreases Vata and Pitta doshas, while heightening Kapha. 

As you can see, red beet and avocado perfectly complement each other in terms of major compounds and Ayurvedic qualities, despite their different origin and growth area.

 

“Union of contrast”

Salad

 

And finally the salad recipe. As I promised, it is extremely simple.

Ingredients (for 1-2 portions):

1 medium sized red beet, baked in the owen.

1 ripe avocado

Spices and salt - to your taste. 

Vegetable oil (preferably cold pressed) - 1-2 tablespoons.

Wash the beet, wrap it in foil and bake in the oven at 190-200 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Readiness can be checked with a toothpick piercing the beet - if it goes in softly, the beet is ready. Even if the beet will be slightly undercooked - no big deal, it is possible to eat it raw. If you do not want or can not use the oven, just boil the beet in its skin. In order to make it peeled easily, ready and still hot beet pour over with cold water. Peel it and cut into medium slices.

Avocados are often offered for sale dense and hard. The pulp of unripe fruit is quite dense in consistency and tastes like unripe pear or pumpkin. For quick ripening store avocados for 1-2 days in a heap of apples at room temperature.

Peel the avocado, remove the pit and cut them into slices of medium size. Avocado is better to lay on top of the ready-mixed salad. Sprinkle it with lemon juice. In the process of peeling and slicing avocados, part of its pulp will remain on your hands. Do not wash it off for a while, better rub it into your skin. And your hands will delight you with a velvety skin.

You can use only the two main components - a beet and avocado (it is delicious enough). Or you can add any leafy greens, lettuce, bean sprouts, sesame or pumpkin seeds.Experiment - do every time in a new way, and the dish will never bore you.

Toss the beet with the remaining components (except avocados), spices, salt, and any vegetable oil. Top with slices of avocado, sprinkle with lemon juice so that the avocado would not get dark (it will also increase the amount of vitamin C in your salad).

Bon appetit!