Pair soba noodles & broccoli for a stronger heart
When LDL ( “bad”) cholesterol particles are oxidized, they are more likely to become plaque in artery walls, leading to heart disease. Antioxidants help fight this oxidation. German researchers discovered that the antioxidants rutin and vitamin C work synergistically to halt LDL oxidation. Rutin is found in buckwheat, the whole grain used to make nutty-tasting soba noodles (a Japanese staple found in the pasta and international aisles at grocery stores). And, of course, vitamin C is found in many fruit and vegetables, including broccoli, citrus fruit and tomatoes.
Try this: For an easy-to-pack lunch, prepare a package of soba ?noodles according to directions and toss with 2 cooked and cubed skinless chicken breasts, 2 cups (500 mL) steamed broccoli florets, 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) red chili pepper flakes. Store in the fridge. Makes 4-6 servings.
Pair tofu & jalapenos to reduce inflammation
Scientists in Korea have discovered that genistein (an isoflavone with antioxidant properties found in soy foods such as edamame and tofu) plus capsaicin (an antioxidant that gives chili peppers and jalapeños a fiery kick) helps tame inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body is known to be a risk factor for heart disease and cancer. Capsaicin also helps reduce blood pressure, offering even more heart-healthy benefits.
Try this: Toss up an easy, meatless stir-fry by combining cubed firm tofu with chopped fresh vegetables and a little fresh ginger and minced jalapeños; splash with low-sodium soy sauce. Or, for a nutritious afternoon snack, prepare 1 cup (250 mL) shelled edamame (found in the frozen vegetable section of most grocery stores) according to package directions and season with 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) sea salt, a pinch of cayenne or chili powder, and a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Makes about 2 servings.
Pair onions & chickpeas to get more energy
According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, sulfur compounds in onions, garlic and leeks can help you absorb more iron and zinc from grains and legumes, including chickpeas. “Iron is involved in oxygen transport in the body, so an iron deficiency can cause fatigue and ‘brain fog,’?” notes Bazilian. “Premenopausal women need to be diligent about getting iron in their diet due to blood loss through menstruation.”
Try this: Make an energy-boosting soup: Sauté 1 diced onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves along with 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until onions are soft. Pour in 4 cups (1 litre) low-sodium vegetable broth, one 540-mL can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1 diced carrot, 1 diced celery stalk, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes and garnish with fresh cilantro. Makes about 4 servings.