Veggie Tales: Get More Great Lakes Greens with Rapini in January
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Veggie Tales: Get More Great Lakes Greens with Rapini in January

Jan 24 2019

Welcome to Veggie Tales—the ThinkHealth series that aims to educate Michiganders of the nutritional benefits of vegetables produced in our Great Lakes State that you can prepare and enjoy whenever they’re in peak season.

Veggies. Like many food options, they come in all shapes and sizes. Not to mention, they come from all over the world. And, while many of us don’t like all varieties of vegetables from around the globe, we all need veggies—whichever ones we prefer—to live healthier, more nutritionally-complete lives. That’s right: from asparagus to zucchini, vegetables help our bodies stay strong and stave off illness.

January’s featured Michigan vegetable is akin to the turnip, but resembles broccoli due to its stalky disposition. It’s green, leafy and nutritional—not to mention, it’s full of flavor when prepared properly. That’s right, this month we’re talking about one of the mitten state’s lesser-known veggies, rapini. Rapini, aka broccoli rabe, packs a pungent flavor and nutritious properties in a green, leafy, broccoli-like package that you can steam, sauté or pair with your favorite pasta to add a new flavor and health benefits to your next dish. Let’s discuss more of those health benefits:

It’s good for your bones and arteries.

While the contents of some foods inflame your arteries, the folate and vitamin C in rapini work alongside its other anti-inflammatory nutrients to help your arteries stay healthy and clean. And, while the vitamin C helps fend off illness, the vitamin K contents in rapini promotes healthier, stronger bones. It’s like added strength in a stalk!

Your liver will love it.

Many of us are still getting over the holiday season stretch that started back in November. Whether the holidays found you putting on one too many pounds or partaking in an extra cocktail or two, rapini can help you get back on track to a healthier you. That’s because it contains sulfur that promotes a healthier liver. Try this rapini recovery juice and see if it helps you bounce back from overindulging during holiday happenings.

It hinders hypoglycemia.

So we’ve learned that rapini promotes healthier bones, hearts and livers, but did you know it also helps regulate blood sugar levels? The fiber found in this cruciferous (or cabbage-like) veggie helps lower both glucose and cholesterol levels. If you serve it up with a lot of carbs, like in a pasta, it helps prevent hypoglycemia. This fusilli with rapini, garlic and tomato wine sauce is a great way to try rapini for the first time.

What’s better than rapini’s healthy story and its unmistakable flavor? It’s availability. It grows in China. It grows in Sicily. And it grows right here in Michigan. Next time you’re at the market and want to jazz up your veggie variety, look for rapini. You won’t want to leaf it alone.

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