Surprise! Celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day with the traditional fare of cabbage, carrots, potatoes and corned beef—all washed down with a mug of dark beer—may bring you more than good luck. Many of Ireland’s staples have some amazingly healthy “charm.”
- Cabbage: Whether boiled, braised or raw, cabbage contains indoles—a type of phytonutrient that disarms cancer-causing agents. Studies show that indoles may also halt growth of intestinal polyps, a precursor to colon cancer.
- Potatoes: These humble root vegetables have gotten a bad rap as nothing much more than a “carb.” That’s simply not true! A 1-cup serving of potatoes supplies 25% of your vitamin C needs and 15% of your fiber needs, along with energizing carbohydrates that fuel your workouts.
- Carrots: One medium carrot supplies over 100% of vitamin A needs, as well as beta-carotene, in only 25 calories—a nutritional bargain! This colorful pigment protects the body cells from an array of age-related ailments such as aging skin and heart disease.
- Corned Beef: This St. Patrick’s day favorite gives a good dose of the minerals iron and zinc, along with providing 30% of the Daily Value of protein in a 3-ounce serving. If you’ve been advised by a physician to eat a low-sodium diet, you may want to limit portions of this salted meat.
- Beer: In moderation (a 12-ounce serving), beer may help protect your heart in much the same way red wine does. Phytonutrients found in the grains used to make beer may help protect circulating cholesterol from damaging artery walls.