Skin looking pooped? Antioxidants will help. They’re important little buggers for recovery.

Antioxidants work by disarming those thieving free-radicals lolloping through our bloodstream. Without disarmament, free-radicals can plunder our peachy skin like a game of Space Invaders gone horribly wrong (this is a process called oxidation).

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Don’t worry, this oxidation lark is not exactly an overnight operation. Ideally, we’re aiming to slow down oxidation and keep ageing at arm’s length. I like to imagine every mouthful of food can either help speed this process up, or slow it down.

Plant-based foods like onions, garlic, parsley, peppers and lentils are rich in antioxidants. Think of them as our very own personal ninja squad. Given that oxidative stress has a starring role in the theatre of ageing, I think it’s probably worth giving this week’s recipe a go!

Persian Soup

Serves 6-8 (can be frozen)

You will need:

Olive oil, for sauteing

2 large onions, peeled

2 green peppers, de-seeded

6 cloves garlic, peeled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

80g fresh parsley, finely chopped

80g fresh coriander, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon plain or gluten-free flour

2L chicken stock or veg stock

100g brown basmati rice

100g uncooked lentils

Big squirt of tomato ketchup

Boiled egg, grated (to garnish)

Spring onions, chopped (optional)

Creme fraiche (optional)

1 Preheat your largest pot on a gentle flame, covering the base with a good lick of olive oil.

2 In a food processor (or using ninja knife skills) finely blitz the onions, the peppers and the garlic. Add to the pot and saute them for 10-15 minutes, without letting the veg stick to the pan. Once the veg have softened, season generously with salt, freshly ground black pepper, the ground cumin and the sweet paprika.

3 Add the finely chopped parsley and the finely chopped coriander (and any tender stalks) to the softened veg and cook them down.

4 Next, melt the butter into the pan, stirring to coat everything. Follow with the plain flour or the gluten-free flour, whichever you are using, and mix very well. Cook for a few minutes, then pour in the chicken stock or the veg stock, whichever you are using, and bring the pot to a rolling boil.

5 Add the basmati rice, the lentils and the ketchup. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes without a lid, or until the rice and lentils are cooked. If it seems too thick, loosen it up with a little hot water from the kettle. Ladle into bowls. Top with grated boiled egg, and the spring onions and creme fraiche if you’re using them.

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