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Going red and green

by DR CLAUDETTE MITCHELL Wednesday, October 12 2016

STUDIES indicate the health benefits derived from antioxidants, and the non-nutritive substances – phytochemicals and dietary fibre found in plant foods can aid you in making wise food choices.

Together with the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) found in fruits and vegetables, the supply of dietary fibre from these foods are associated with reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity, along with the phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and anti-inflammatory agents through other protective mechanisms.

Therefore, the addition of fruits and vegetables to diet can help you to maintain your health.

Colour your plate As the meal manager, consider adding more colour to the menu. Perhaps this can be done, by incorporating a variety of pulses, vegetables, fruits, grains, and grain products (oats, brown rice, couscous and so on), ground provisions, and starchy fruits such as breadfruit, plantains and green bananas in the diet; which of course may probably not only help you to meet some of your daily nutritional requirements, but also maintain nutritional status.

What can you do For today’s focus, including a mixture of red and green vegetables such as red and green sweet pepper, tomatoes, beetroot, red and green cabbage, red potatoes, red onions, radishes, spinach, pak choy, dasheen leaves, lettuce, watercress, cucumbers, green beans, celery, ochro, bitter melon (caraille), kale, collard greens and broccoli with your meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and supper are of great value.

This indicates that you may wish to consider serving a vegetable dish at each meal raw (tossed salad) or cooked vegetables as accompaniments to main entr?es such as baked chicken/fish, stew peas, or incorporate them as filling for omelets, vegetable rolls, and stuffing for baked potatoes and melongene. Moreover, for a balanced meal, you can add to the menu some fruits including watermelon, guava, citrus and banana, staples, legumes, foods from animals, and fats and oils. If this approach is used, you may probably notice that the foods you select are from the Caribbean Food Groups.

Dietary recommendations Briefly, the foodbased dietary guidelines for the English-speaking Caribbean, encouraged people to consume balanced meals, and include a variety of fruits and vegetables.

For example, in Grenada the advice is to “eat larger amounts of fruits and coloured vegetables.” For St Vincent and the Grenadines it is, “eat a variety of foods from the food groups; eat more fruits and vegetables every day.” In Dominica the aim is to “always try to eat a variety of foods every day; eat more vegetables and fruits every day.” The mission is similar for St Lucia: “always try to eat vegetables, starches, peas or beans every day; eat more vegetables and fruits every day. The goal are also similar for Barbados – “eat a variety of foods every day; eat vegetables every day; eat fruits every day; and Antigua and Barbuda: “eat a variety of foods every day; include a variety of vegetables in your daily meals and choose a variety of fruits daily.

From this you can conclude that when making up your plate, half of your plate should consist of vegetables, quarter staples, and quarter protein dish, and add a fruit with each meal.

Fighting diseases Vegetables and fruits are good sources of antioxidants which can aid in lowering your risk for diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Red veggies and fruits contain these phytochemicals such as lycopene found mainly in tomato and tomato products, watermelon, guava and pink grapefruit; research indicate that lycopene aids in reducing the risk of several types of cancers such as prostate cancer.

Anthocyanins, another phytochemical is found in red onions, beetroot, red cabbage, cranberries, strawberries.

You should note that anthocyanins play a specific role in human health.

Dark green leafy vegetables contain vitamins (A, C, K, and folate), minerals (calcium, potassium, and iron), and phytonutrients – beta carotene and lutein.

Claudette Mitchell is an Assistant Professor, University of the Southern Caribbean, School of Science, Technology, and Allied Health



Chopped Veggie and Cheese Quinoa Salad

1 cup of quinoa

1.5 cups chopped cucumber

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup small chunks of mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup italian salad dressing



Prepare the quinoa as directed on box. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese.

Place in large bowl.

Add in the cooled quinoa and dressing.

Toss and serve.

Makes 4 servings Whole-grain Spaghetti Tomatoes and Kale 6 oz whole-grain spaghetti 2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped kosher salt and black pepper 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups) 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved 1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds 1/4 cup grated pecorino (1 ounce), plus more for serving Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve .

cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, garlic, . teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Add the kale mixture, almonds, pecorino, and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve with additional pecorino.



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