Pay Attention to What Your Mother Eats. It May Do You a Lot of Good

Fresh vegetables at a farmers' market in springtime, including radishes, beets, and green onions
Radishes, beets, green onions, and other vegetables at a farmers’ market (Image by Mike Goad on Pixabay)

I like to experiment in the kitchen and use modern superfoods, but my mother likes to eat traditional foods. Here are a number of them with some of their health benefits.

Article originally published on April 28, 2023 in The Road to Wellness on Medium

Last year my mother and I did a set of 60 tests as part of our comprehensive blood work. My mother, at 74, scored well on ALL of them. True, she does take half a pill for cholesterol and an omega-3 supplement, but her blood work is stellar mostly because of her diet.

I, on the other hand, am struggling with high cholesterol and triglycerides. I also have a herniated back and less-than-perfect knees, unlike my mother, who despite not working out in conventional ways, is in quite good shape. So while I’ve been researching ways to deal with these numbers and also seen an MD for a detox, I’ve also started to pay more attention to what this woman, amazing in many ways, eats.

Of course, her genes play an important part as well, but so does the fact that she cooks with olive oil instead of sunflower oil, consumes saturated fats in moderation, doesn’t drink much alcohol, doesn’t smoke, and eats lots and lots of veggies, along with some important fruit.

Here are some of my mother’s staple foods. They are all very popular in Romania among older folks, but, again, not everybody cooks them the same way.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical or health practitioner, and no part of This Blog, or the articles, websites, and products I mention and link to on This Blog, is intended as professional medical or health advice, and should not be considered as such. Consult with your doctor(s) about starting any course of treatment, taking any supplements, or changing any (dietary, exercise, etc.) routines. Note that natural supplements and even some foods may interfere with certain medications. Also ask your doctor(s) about potential allergies you may have, including cross-reactive allergies. Some allergens can cause anaphylaxis. Here are my Full Terms and Conditions.

Green onions, Tomatoes, Radishes, and Cabbage

Every spring, my mother does forty days or so of fasting for the Christian Orthodox Easter. During her fast, she abstains from meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, with some exceptions for fish on certain days.

Many people eat lots of pastries with margarine during this time, but Mom focuses on various veggie stews and baked veggies. I love her sweet peas stew with onion, garlic, carrots, tomato sauce, and dill. She also bakes a pan of onion, carrots, zucchini, and beets — with a bit of garlic as well.

I have to say I “invented” — to use one of Mom’s often derogatory terms for my cooking (she doesn’t like to invent recipes from scratch) — the second recipe based on advice shared by Jamie Oliver when he presented three dishes of his own. While Mom doesn’t always go for my kind of cooking, in this case, she appreciated my recipe.

But aside from all these cooked veggie mixes, my mother loves eating raw food in spring, namely green onions or green garlic with tomatoes and radishes, which she often pairs with bread drizzled with olive oil.

In fact, she never goes without green onions in the spring, and she also has veggies for salads chopped up in the fridge. The salads include these green onions, radishes, tomatoes, and lettuce (sometimes cucumbers as well). When she makes them, she adds salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Tomatoes and olive oil are a match made in heaven. I prefer cooked tomatoes with olive oil myself, which makes their lycopene more readily accessible, but I guess these raw salads don’t hurt either, and they do make for more occasions to eat tomatoes, which are truly a superfood.

Tomatoes contain folate, potassium, and fiber, among other nutrients, and lots and lots of antioxidants, among them vitamin C, beta-carotene (which turns to vitamin A in the body), lycopene, chlorogenic acid, and naringenin.

Among its health benefits, lycopene helps with cholesterol — it reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol — while also doing wonders for collagen.

In fact, I watched a documentary last night on how to keep our skin young, and they specifically mentioned lycopene.

Radishes are lesser-known cruciferous vegetables related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnips. Their micronutrient content is not impressive — although according to a general table provided by the USDA, 100 grams of radishes do provide 24% DV vitamin C and 6% fiber — but they have a good number of powerful phytonutrients, from beta-carotene and ferulic acid to glucoraphanin and sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane, a compound in cruciferous vegetables, also helps with arthritis. My mother may not eat broccoli, but she’s always eaten a lot of cabbage — and, in springtime, lots and lots of radishes. My mother has no problems with her joints, which is pretty amazing at 74.

As for the green onions, they are rich in quercetin and other flavonoids. Among other health benefits, these compounds reduce inflammation, protect against cancer, and, hear this, lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Green onions also contain vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and iron, all of them very welcome nutrients. Between the quercetin and these other nutrients, green onions are very good for the heart as well. They also help support one’s immune system.

To Be Continued . . .

If you want to read the whole article, here it is on Medium.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. As always, pins and shares are much appreciated!

To a happier, healthier life,



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