I absolutely LOVE Christmas; that feeling of goodwill to others, extra family time, decorations, snug nights in, Christmas films and being able to share more food with people I love. The colours and flavours of this Jewelled Spiced Rice are so reminiscent of the bright colours and flavours of this festive month that I secretly call this Christmas Rice.
Enjoy – Jo x
Brown rice retains the bran layer and cereal germ which offers most of the nutrients; insoluble fibre, vitamin B1, magnesium and phosphorous amongst others. Starchy complex carbohydrates help to boost levels of serotonin in the brain which helps to regulate sleep and mood. Magnesium also helps to reduce stress and relaxes muscles (including the lungs so it may help to relieve the symptoms of asthma). It is also ‘nuttier’ than white rice so retains a bite to it so please do not think it will need further cooking.
Chickpeas are full of fibre (essential for good digestive health and helps to lower blood cholesterol), protein (helps in cell repair) folate, potassium and magnesium (helps to protect against heart disease).
Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, E and B6 and again have anti-cancer properties.
Carrots are full of alpha and beta carotenes (antioxidants which help prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of certain cancers, lower the risk of infections and mop up free radicals; unstable molecules produced by the body in response to the environment, stress etc. which can cause harm to the body and cell malformation). Beta carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A; essential for growth, boosting immunity and healthy eyesight. As vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, cooking with a little oil helps the body to absorb more of this nutrient.
Peas are packed with several B vitamins (including folate), vitamin C, iron, phosphorous and manganese as well as a great source of soluble fibre. Peas contain more protein than any other vegetable so are a good choice for vegetarians. Research has shown that folate levels are often low in people with depression and anxiety so peas may help with this.
As sweetcorn is a wholegrain it has similar benefits to other wholegrain foods with additional antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and phytonutrients all which work together to prevent disease. Eating more wholegrains helps to prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
This recipe also contains cumin, cardamom and cinnamon which are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, help digestion and contain valuable antioxidants that are cancer preventative.
The addition of walnuts not only adds crunch but is a protein source, rich in vitamin E and omega 3 fats essential for a healthy nervous system (brain). They also offer many B vitamins.
Although this recipe contains 7 different vegetables/fruits, the amounts do not cover the recommended 5 a day but contribute towards it.
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