Powerhouse Veggies – especially during COVID times

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July 4, 2022

Summer is here, when local vegetables are more abundant, some of which we can even grow in our own vegetable gardens.  Are there some that we could eat to help fight illness during the Covid pandemic? Vegetables are generally what we should consume daily in great amounts, but some are known to be anti-oxidant powerhouses.  Below is a list of vegetables that Dr. William Li, a Harvard trained physician, researcher, author and leader of the Angiogenesis Foundation,  believes we should eat often to help us fight against this aggressive Covid virus:

Mushrooms:  The beta-glucans in mushrooms are known to provoke a strong immune response in our bodies.  Some studies have shown the healing power of mushrooms in fighting certain tumor activities.  Mushrooms’ stems are even richer in beta-glucans compared to their caps, so be sure to sauté them up too!

Broccoli Sprouts:  The cruciferous vegetables, like cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale, are all rich in sulforaphane, with broccoli sprouts having the highest concentration.  Sulforaphane is a chemical in plants known to counter the effects that free radicals could have in damaging our cells.  Another perk from eating a lot of broccoli is glowing skin, as it’s known to fight acne, which is a form of inflammation.

Tomatoes:  Like other “red” fruits such as guavas or papayas, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid known for its anti-inflammatory quality.  Cooked tomatoes release even higher concentrations of lycopene, which can help protect us from the inflammation from sun exposure.  Tomatoes are also known to improve heart health and lower risk for certain cancers, such as digestive tract and prostate cancers. 

Spinach and Beets:  These are particularly rich in nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide, a substance known to decrease arterial stiffness.  In effect, this leads to more healthy blood vessels.  Eat a lot of these vegetables for heart health, as the Covid virus is known for its ability to attack our vascular system!

Dark Chocolate (more than 80% cacao concentration):  The flavonoids in dark chocolate help our 750 million stem cells proliferate to prepare for the fight against Covid.  Stem cell growth, according to Dr. Li, is stunted by fat, salt, alcohol and sugar intake! Dark chocolate may also lower our blood pressure and increase HDL, the cholesterol component that is associated with cardiac protection.

Avocado:  Rich in Vitamins B6, E and C, which protect our immune system, avocado is an essential fruit in our diet.  It is also rich in potassium, which is important to regulate our blood pressure and nervous system function.  Avocado contains monounsaturated fat, which is a more healthy fat. 

Now, you have it, a list of powerhouse vegetables.  For those who love mushrooms like me, below is a simple but delicious recipe that I make almost weekly for dinner.  You can eat it as a side dish, and make a sandwich with the leftovers.  Of course, you can substitute the herbs that you like, for the oregano, thyme and rosemary that I use in this recipe. Bon Appetit!

Sautéed Mushrooms


—1 lb Cremini Mushrooms (Baby Bella)

—1/2 cup of oregano, thyme and rosemary (fresh if possible)

— 2 Tbsp olive oil

— 3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar 

—1/4 cup of white wine (optional)

—1/2 tsp Kosher salt

—1/2 tsp black pepper

When I cook for an “Asian crowd,” I substitute salt with a Tablespoon of oyster sauce or soy sauce.  Mushroom dishes can be made with so many flavors!


  1. Clean and slice mushrooms
  2. Chop rosemary, thyme and oregano ( I use cooking scissors to chop them!)
  3. Over medium high heat, sauté the sliced mushrooms in olive oil, stirring often to coat them with oil.  This step takes 2-3 minutes until mushrooms are soft.
  4. Add the chopped herbs and salt
  5. Add balsamic vinegar and keep stirring often
  6. Add white wine and stir until it evaporates, another 1-2 minutes.  This step is optional.
  7. Sprinkle black pepper over the mushrooms as you turn the heat off