I love desserts. Dessert completes an otherwise excellent dinner. If you want to eat healthier you do not have to cut down on desserts. In fact, you should not stay away from dessert because it is valuable for you body. But maybe you have to change the way you look at desserts.
Compared to cakes, desserts are easier to make without heaps of sugar. While sugar in many cakes is necessary not only because of the sweetness it brings but because of the texture it imparts (no sponge or meringue without lots of white refined sugar), many desserts are not that dependent on sugar and you can easily replace the white refined sugar with healthier options such as honey, maple syrup or agave syrup. Second of all, many desserts contain important nutrients such as berries, fruit, oats and nuts. Two examples of such healthy yet delicious desserts are crumbles and fruit salads.
In the wintertime with the abundance of citrus fruits, I opt for a citrus salad with blood oranges. Because right now, from January until April, is the season for Italian blood oranges, arancia rossa di Sicilia. They add a delicate, seasonal and colourful touch to your salad. Add to that walnuts and pomegranate and the result is a dessert rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and omega 3.
Berries, spices, fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, particularly pomegranate, walnuts and cinnamon. Antioxidants protect us from aging and a range of diseases. They inhibit the process of oxidation, a damage to cell structure and cell function. You are particularly vulnerable if you expose your body to a lot of stress, smoking, alcohol and a unhealthy diet.
The pomegranate is utterly beautiful, strange and biblical. A native to the Middle East it contains more antioxidants than blueberries and 40 times more than apples. The trouble with pomegranate from my point of view, being a ”northern” who is unaccustomed to it, is knowing what to do with it. In contrast to other fruits, the edible part is the seeds and the easiest way to get hold of them is by bashing the pomegranate halves.
Citrus fruits and vitamin C
All citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Most of us know that vitamin C helps our body to absorb iron, a fact quite important as iron deficiency is common among many groups such as females, infants and the elderly. Moreover vitamin C is also conducive in breaking down the cholesterol, bolsters the immune system and is an antioxidant. Because it cannot be stored in your body you have to include vitamin C in your diet on a daily basis, and do remember it does not tolerate cooking well. Hence, the fruit juice is this citrus salad is uncooked.
Walnuts are too good to be true. Filled with antioxidants and omega 3. If you do not like red oily fish, you should cherish them like they were your best friend. They contain the same good fatty acids, omega 3, as salmon and other oily fish do. Omega 3 is important for a functioning brain and in preventing cardiovascular diseases and a vast array of other diseases. Flax seeds has the most omega 3 fatty acids of all plant-based ingredients, but walnuts also have a substantial amount. If you compare nuts you will find peanuts contain about zero omega 3, pecan nuts a fair deal (1000 milligrams), while walnuts ten times that level (10 000 milligrams per gram).
The final touch to the citrus salad are the spices. The salad is flavoured with cinnamon and fresh ginger, both powerful antioxidants. Serving the fruit salad with thick and creamy Greek yogurt makes this salad a complete and fulfilling meal.
Citrus salad with antioxidants (makes 4–6)
Try to get hold of organic fruits, particularly when you are using the skin.
2 blood oranges
2 ordinary oranges
1 pink grapefruit
small piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1–2 tbsp maple syrup
2 (organic) apples
2 handfuls of walnuts
Greek yogurt to serve
1. Segment the oranges and grapefruit. Mix the citrus juice with grated ginger, cinnamon and maple or agave syrup.
2. Add the sectioned clementines (they are not segmented).
3. Cut the apples in cubes and add to the citrus salad. (Keep the apples unpeeled).
4. Divide the pomegranate and hold the cut side down in a large bowl. Bash the pomegranate half with a heavy object (I use the backside of a heavy knife). Squeeze the remaining juice of the pomegranate.
5. Add the walnuts.
6. Serve with the yogurt dressed with some pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of maple or agave syrup.
7. Finish by grating some organic orange zest on the citrus salad and the yogurt.