Don’t let summer sneak away without introducing your friends to healthy, great-tasting, nutrient-packed food, and the kind of exercise that puts a smile on everyone’s face. It’s easy to plan a salsa party. All you need are three or four varieties of homemade salsa, something to put it on, music, and a person who can teach salsa dancing. Then go ahead and celebrate life!
Basic Fresh Salsa
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 onion (white, yellow or red)
- 2 peppers (choose by the amount of heat desired)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced cumin
- 1 teaspoon minced coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Chop tomatoes, onion and garlic.
- Add lime juice, vinegar and spices.
- Mash ingredients together.
- Cover and let stand for 15 minutes or longer before serving.
- Multiply the recipe to create huge bowls full of salsa for your party.
- Serve your salsa varieties with a platter of fresh vegetables, a giant bowl of organic blue or purple corn chips, and a bowl of black bean dip
Basic Black Bean Dip Recipe
- Soak and cook one cup of black beans until soft. Puree in a blender with 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin. As with the salsas, anything else you add depends on your imagination.
Salsa is the perfect blend of flavor and nutrition
Salsa has become the bestselling condiment in North America, largely due to its fabulous taste and the perception that salsa is low in cholesterol, fat and calories. Salsa can liven up almost anything. Tell your guests that salsa contains ingredients that keep aging, cancer and degenerative diseases away, and make people shine with the radiance that comes from good health.
Here’s a look at the usual ingredients found in salsa:
- Tomatoes are the foundation of most recipes. Fresh ones from your gardenwill be perfect for your party salsa, or shop locally. Tomatoes are a storehouse of lycopene, the carotenoid that keeps prostates, pancreases, hearts and colons healthy. In addition to this center stage nutrient, tomatoes are loaded with disease preventing Vitamins A and K, and collagen reinforcing Vitamin C. They are wonderful blood cleansers and purifiers that keep cholesterol in check and livers functioning at their best.
- Onions are a primary source of quercetin, a famous flavonoid that protects against cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Onions contain three times the quercetin of apples, and are high in Vitamins C and E, potassium, fiber and folic acid. Onions fight cancer and heart disease, and keep blood vessels in good shape. They are known for helping the body rid itself of heavy metals. Their antibacterial and antiviral properties make onions a high level flu fighter.
- Garlic is probably nature’s most potent food, promoting heart and cardiovascular health and supporting a healthy lipid profile. Garlic prevents platelet aggregation, and reduces high blood pressure. It is a strong anti-inflammatory that can increase the overall level of antioxidants in the body, and a powerful cancer blocker. Garlic has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, and is a potent beauty aid. Its high sulfur content makes it able to tone up the skin, make hair more lustrous, and strengthen nails.
- Hot peppers are chocked full of capsaicin, the compound that gives them their heat. Capsaicin makes cancer cells die, and high intake is associated with lower death rates from prostate and other types of cancer. Hot peppers are a weight loss aid and digestive tract soother. They are known for relieving congestion and sinus conditions, and for protecting the cardiovascular system. Peppers are great sources of Vitamins A and C, and folate. Jalapenos are the traditional salsa pepper, but those wanting a milder salsa can use El Paso or Anaheim peppers. To turn up the heat, use Cayenne, Tabasco, and Red Chili peppers. If you really want some sizzle, try a small bit of Habanero.
- Lime juice adds to the alkalinizing effect of salsa, and is frequently used in traditional salsa recipes. For a slightly different taste, try lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Both are antimicrobial and will keep your skin fresh even in the hottest weather.
- Cilantro provides a wealth of antioxidants and is a natural internal cleanser and deodorizer that can flush out mercury and other heavy metals so they can be removed from the body. Cilantro normalizes cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and supports digestive and urinary tract health. It is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Coriander is a spice that comes from cilantro seeds.
- Sea salt contains trace minerals from the sea, some of which have not yet been identified. It works with potassium to stabilize heart rhythms. Sea salt is a source of energy, and it promotes cellular communication. When added to salsa, it frees the juices from the vegetables and allows for blending of flavors.
These are the ingredients for the traditional basic salsa. What you can do from there depends on your creative ability, or the time you have to research recipes.
Two ingredients that give salsa variety are organic corn and black beans. Each add color, texture and further nutrient dimensions. A sweet pineapple based salsa with chipotle peppers, a papaya-based salsa with mild Anaheim peppers, or a salsa made with tomatoes, onions and garlic that have been roasted are three possibilities.
Salsa dancing blends physical, mental and social aspects into a stress-lowering exercise
Dancing alone or with a partner is one of the most satisfying and empowering ways to exercise. It is a way to let loose and have fun while moving to the beat of the music, and it provides tremendous health benefits. The Mayo Clinic reported that dancing increases energy, improves strength and balance, and increases muscle tone and coordination. It is a real stress buster.
Salsa dancing helps keep the body trim and slim.
It increases muscle mass, boosts endurance, and expands range of motion. Salsa dancing can burn up to 420 calories an hour, without the harmful side effects that may be caused by high impact exercises such as running. Dancing the night away can burn more calories per hour than riding a bike or swimming.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, salsa dancing can lower the risk of coronary heart disease, decrease blood pressure, and strengthen the bones of the legs and hips. It provides the heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while allowing for engagement in a social activity. If you get into it enough to work up a sweat, toxins will be released from your body, and you will feel cleansed.
Because salsa dancing is a physical as well as a social activity, it is stimulating to the mind. A 21-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that dancing can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly.
Dancing may provide a triple benefit for the brain. Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase blood flow to this organ, but the social aspects help reduce loneliness and depression. Memorizing the steps involves a cognitive challenge. And maybe best of all, it provides an opportunity to laugh and have fun, making salsa dancing good for the body, mind and soul.
About the Author – Barbara Minton
Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using “alternative” treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.