No Surprise – Vegetables, Nuts and Whole Grains

February 22, 2010 in Antioxidants, Blog Recipes, Cooking & Baking Hints, Diabetic Menu Item, Mediterranean, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

Researchers at the Center on Aging at Tufts University looked at how much vitamin B6 was in the blood of 1,205 people in their study. They published their results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Essentially what they found is less inflammation and oxidative stress (which lead to cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes). I’m wondering if they were surprised with the findings.  It seems as though there are so many studies that have shown a strong relationship between intake of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and improved cardiovascular and diabetes status.

My fear is that people will run out and just buy vitamin B6 in a bottle, feeling that they are thus gaining the health benefits of B6 obtained from real foods. But as it turns out the researchers say that while nutritional content is a very important, they are not sure exactly that the B6 or any single nutrient is responsible for the improved health status. As we’ve discussed before, there are hundreds of nutrients in fruits, vegetables and whole grains besides the vitamins and minerals.

Still, the B6 evidence is notable. Having a higher level of the active form of vitamin B-6 has also been shown to be related to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

If you want to avoid cardiovascular disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer, skip taking the vitamin as a supplement.  Vitamin B6 is widely available in foods. Plant foods lose the least vitamin B6 during processing. Vegetables, nuts and whole grains (including both the bran and germ portions of the grain) are among the best sources of vitamin B6. Enjoy some real food and increase your chance of staying healthy.

I’ve shared an asparagus recipe recently, but when we were in California a couple of weeks ago, our friend Arana G., shared one of her family’s favorites.

Arana’s Asparagus Applause

I’m sure that she could have come up with a better name (she gave it to me without a name), so I got stuck on a bit of alliteration while trying to give it a name. We enjoyed it and thought that you may too.

  • Note: please send any recipes that you’re willing to share. We’ll post them with your name; your choice first initial/last name; first name/last initial; full name; only initials; or anonymous.



Extra virgin olive oil or lemon olive oil

Lemon zest, if you don't have lemon oil


Kosher salt

Cracked pepper

Balsamic vinegar

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Lemon juice


1)  Coat asparagus with olive oil (I  [Arana] use lemon flavored olive oil but plain is excellent too). I used some lemon zest because I did not have lemon-flavored olive oil.

2)  Spread asparagus on a cookie sheet that is lightly greased. I just used the olive oil that was used to coat the asparagus.

2)  Add sliced garlic on top and kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste. I did not use any salt – personal preference.

3)  Liberally sprinkle aged balsamic vinegar (or balsamic reduction) over the asparagus.

4)  Finally, cover the asparagus with shredded parmesan cheese (reggiano is excellent to use).

5)  Roast at 425 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes or until asparagus is cooked but crisp.  Squeeze fresh lemon over the vegetables upon removing from the oven.

Italics added by Joyce

Zest a lemon, if you don't have the lemon-flavored oil.

Zest a lemon, if you don't have the lemon-flavored oil.

Mix extra virgin olive oil with the lemon zest.

Mix extra virgin olive oil with the lemon zest.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle with other ingredients.

Sprinkle with other ingredients.

Serve your delicious vegetable.

Serve your delicious vegetable.