Eat Well, Live Well: Chill Out This Summer

Joanne Smith and Kylie JamesSummer is almost here and we all know it’s far too short, so time to get outside and take advantage of the warm weather and your favorite outdoor activities! Whether you enjoy wheeling, biking, water-skiing, gardening, sailing, canoeing or kayaking, you’ll want to cool off and quench that thirst afterwards with something refreshing, right? Well, before heading to the fridge and reaching for that calorie-laden ice cream or artificially sweetened, colored and flavored sport drink, hold on! We’ve got something that’s not only refreshing but delicious and good for you.

As much as we love these summer sports and outdoor hobbies, for many people with mobility impairments, these activities can put extra strain on joints, causing swelling and pain. Two of the best foods that will help you chill out this summer and maintain your joint integrity are pineapple and cucumber. Yes, this sweet tropical fruit and crunchy, low-calorie, fibrous vegetable have a number of joint-health benefits. To start, pineapple is a natural anti-inflammatory. It contains a mixture of enzymes called bromelain, which can help reduce any swelling and pain you may experience by going that extra mile. Cucumber contains a substance called silica, which is one of the most important minerals for our joints because it helps build the cartilage and connective tissue that make these vital body structures. Furthermore, the high water content of cucumber helps to lubricate our joints, while its vitamin C and caffeic acid also help to reduce swelling. So now that you know all about these two cool foods, here’s a great recipe that combines them both — Mouth Watering Pineapple-Cucumber Gazpacho!

OK, stop. We know what you’re thinking — cold soup is disgusting. Trust us, this recipe is so delicious that you’ll be making batches of it to eat it for breakfast, lunch, snacks and to cool down after a workout. Try it, you’ll like it. And just think how much it will enhance your performance and fun this summer!

Joanne Smith and Kylie James are co-authors of the book Eat Well Live Well with SCI and Other Neurological Conditions. For more information on nutrition for neurological injuries, go to www.eatwelllivewellwithsci.com.

Mouth Watering Pineapple-Cucumber Gazpacho

Ingredients:
4 cups chopped pineapple
4 cups chopped cucumber
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp purple onion
1 cup fresh pineapple juice
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup cilantro leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped raw macadamia nuts (optional)

Instructions:
1. In blender, process 3 cups each of pineapple and cucumber, onion, lime juice, pineapple juice, and sea salt at high speed until smooth.
2. Add the remaining pineapple, cucumber, cilantro and olive oil. Pulse the blender a few times — the soup should be slightly chunky.
3. Pour into bowl and sprinkle nuts on top (optional)

Recipe provided by Matthew Kenney.

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