This salad is, by far, the best in the summer when big luscious tomatoes are in season and full of flavor, and the cucumbers are fresh and tender.
Cucumbers don’t seem to be the sexy new superfood topping all the lists lately, but this vegetable quietly sits amongst the nutrition superstars with plenty of benefits in its own right. Cucumbers actually contain some very valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.
While cucumbers are a great source of conventional nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, they also contain numerous antioxidants, including quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, and also a substance called cucurbitacins.
Pharmaceutical companies are actively studying cucurbitacins—to develop new anti-cancer drugs. This substance can block cancer cell development, along with another ingredient in cucumber, lignans, that fight cancer as well. Lignans from vegetables combine with bacteria in our digestive tracts and become substances that fight breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate cancers.
Tomatoes are excellent sources of potassium, folic acid, vitamin A, C, and E and bioflavinoids. Bioflavinoids in tomatoes fight inflammation. And lowering inflammation is healthy not only for your heart and many other body systems, but it helps you burn fat better too. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, beta carotene, and other cancer fighting compounds as well. Tomatoes help fight ovarian cancer, digestive tract cancers, heart disease, and asthma and lung disease as well. Organic tomatoes tend to have exponentially higher amounts of these powerful antioxidants over conventionally grown, or hothouse varieties.
Onions are are rich in specific compounds that have been scientifically proven to prevent cancer. Substances in onions have been found to actually destroy tumor cells in test tubes and stop tumor growth. Onions are also excellent for a healthy heart, and can boost HDL cholesterol, thin the blood to prevent harmful clots, lower triglycerides and total cholesterol and lower the blood pressure as well.
And, basil contains some amazing qualities as well. Basil actually can prevent harmful food-borne bacteria from growing, including: Listeria, Staph aureus, Ecoli O:157:H7, Yersinia, and Pseudomonas.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can slice up veggies and throw them in and let them marinate for day or two. Then you can keep adding to it as you eat it.
2-3 fresh organic tomatoes, chopped in large pieces
3-4 smaller organic cucumbers or 2 larger ones, peeled and sliced
(I sometimes use baby organic cucumbers and you can leave the skin on these)
1 sweet Vidalia or red onion, sliced and quartered
Fresh basil, chopped
¼ to ½ cup organic apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
1-2 tsp raw sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chop up vegetables and herbs and place in bowl. Pour dressing mix over the top and mix. This salad tastes better if you can prepare ahead of time and let it sit for a while, so the flavors all mix together better. Serves 2-4. Enjoy the healthy goodness!
Till next time,
Stay healthy and lean!