Soul Food Advice Column

Soul Food Advice Column


October 27, 2016

How Eating Soul Food Can Contribute to Good Health!

Fresh vegetables are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and are extremely good for the body, spirit, and mind. Research has shown that fresh vegetables can help prevent or cure common diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative ailments.  And they are extremely good for you.

But you may wonder, how popular soul food like collard greens, black-eyed peas, and sweet potatoes are really good for you when so many believe they’re not? Before you decide, take a look at each vegetable nutritional value then you decide how these vegetables may help contribute to your good health.

Collard Greens are a soul food staple. No social gathering is complete without them. Not only do they taste great, collard greens are rich in calcium and loaded with Vitamins A and C. Collard greens are extremely good for you.

Sweet Potatoes are low in calories and fat-free. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin C and a very good source of fiber, Vitamin B-6, and potassium.

Black-eyed Peas are another soul food icon and is also fat-free. Studies also show that black-eyed peas provide a high level of energy and a good source of Vitamins A and C.

Green Cabbage is loaded with Vitamin K, bone health Fiber (insoluble), promotes healthy gastrointestinal tract, and an excellent source for weight maintenance. Cabbage is also very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Red Beans which include small red, pinto, and dark red kidney varieties, are an excellent low-fat source of antioxidants, protein, and dietary fiber. They’re also a good source of iron, potassium, and thiamin.

Spinach is high in Vitamin A and is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, and Vitamins B-6 and C. The plant compounds in spinach may boost your immune system and help prevent certain types of cancer.

Green Beans has Vitamin C Immunity enhancement and is excellent for your skin, cancer prevention, and heart disease prevention.

The above vegetables are highly ranked among soul food favorites. Since we know these vegetables are already good for you, so how do you prepare these super soul foods and keep them healthy?

My Advice: Cook vegetables with smoked turkey instead of salt pork, season them with a little olive oil instead of fatty lards or fatty cuts of meat, use small amounts of margarine instead of butter, then cut back on salt by learning to use low-salt or salt-free seasonings. Also, try natural herbs and spices to bring out the true flavors of these wonderful vegetables. You may be surprised at how much you can enjoy food without adding fat and salt.  Just remember, it’s not always what you eat, but how you prepare the foods you love makes all the difference.

Cassandra Harrell is a Soul Food Advisor and recently owned a soul food restaurant and catering service. She has conducted cooking classes and one-on-one sessions on preparing great soul food cuisine. Her new book, Soul Food Advisor is filled with Harrell’s authentic recipes, iconic dishes, and irresistible flavors.  Soul Food Advisor reveals the secrets of perfecting southern cooking, one dish at a time. Please visit the Author Bio and the Cookbook Page.