Using nature to help get yourself back into shape after the Christmas holidays
The Christmas holidays are the best time to enjoy food without limit: tables full of delicacies and more than a few drinks to celebrate. But when the holidays end, regrets begin and nature, as always, is there to help us with precious solutions: from winter to spring, it gives us seasonal vegetables and herbs with a slightly bitter taste yet healthy, purifying and detoxifying properties.
At the top of the charts of winter products is the artichoke, which is available for quite a long period of time from October to June. Central-Southern Italy is the main global producer of this Mediterranean plant whose benefits were already known to the ancient Egyptians. In the centre of Italy the best period for the artichoke are the first three months of the year and at the Il Desco Bistrot, vegetarian and gluten free restaurant in Florence, employing farm to table products in our organic cuisine, we use typical Tuscan varieties of the artichoke for our recipes.
Why the artichoke? First of all it is an excellent liver cleanser and protector. Wonderfully diuretic and digestive, rich
in vitamin K which protects against Alzheimers, it is great for the prevention of diabetes. It keeps all of its purifying properties when eaten raw and it perfectly embodies the concept of sustainability: you can use every bit of it without any waste, even the stalk! Its outer leaves can be used in phytotherapy, the use of plants and plant extracts for therapeutic purposes. And let’s not forget tea: don’t throw away the artichoke cooking water because it contains cynarine with all of its therapeutic properties, making it a very bitter yet miraculously healthy drink.
Therefore, the new motto could be
“an artichoke a day keeps the doctor away”
Besides the artichoke, we should give a special mention to the milk thistle, a similar plant to the artichoke which ensures healthiness for the whole body during the winter period. Thanks to the symilarine, the milk thistle protects the liver too, as well as being anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidising and anti-stress.
And when spring comes, some herbs will still be around, such as the dandelion, which has detoxifying properties. Thanks to its taraxacin and inulin, it is diuretic, good for digestion and anti-inflammatory, as well as being excellent for your bones. Last but not least, we have to mention nettles and endives as strong allies of the immune system.
There are so many seasonal vegetables and herbs that you should try in your own tasty recipes. Discover the Tagliolini with pecorino and artichokes recipe, which you will be able to taste in our vegetarian and gluten free restaurant near the Cathedral of Florence!