- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 red onion
- 1 red pepper
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 dried chili
- salt & pepper
- 1 mango
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and then add the garlic, ginger and chopped red onion. Saute for 5 minutes or until onions are tender.
- Thinly slice the red pepper and add to the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Cut chicken into thin strips and add to the vegetables.
- Add the thyme, curry, chili powder, dried chili, salt and pepper. Make sure the spices are evenly distributed.
- Cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the thinly sliced mango, fresh lemon juice and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the fresh cilantro, mixing thoroughly.
- Pair with your favourite rice and garnish with cilantro.
Chicken is one of the most commonly consumed poultries in the world and its popularity continues to rise (Padilla, 2010). Chickens were first domesticated in southern Asia eight thousand years ago and are now one of the world’s primary animal protein sources (Wirén, 2011). They are also one of the least expensive livestock to rear because of their small size and short generation length (Kearney, 2010). Chicken is an excellent alternative to other animal meats because of its low fat and high protein content which makes it extremely lean. As well, chicken is a great source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins A, B and D (USDA, 2012). More specifically, chicken contains niacin, which is vitamin B3 and essential in the human diet. In fact, deficiencies of this micronutrient have been linked to DNA damage and cognitive decline (Ames, 2001). An interesting study by Morris et al. (2004) assessed the cognitive functioning of people aged 65 years and older for six years. It was found that including adequate levels of niacin in your diet may protect against both age related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to chicken containing valuable amounts of niacin, it also has high levels of selenium. This trace mineral is essential for proper cellular function. Selenium is involved in DNA repair and synthesis, and plays an important role in various metabolic pathways (Hatfield et al., 2011). Overall, chicken is an excellent lean protein full of beneficial nutrients and could also have less of an impact on the environment. It is well documented that chickens produce much less methane and carbon dioxide than ruminant animals such as beef and lamb (McMichael et al., 2007). Since agriculture is such a major contributor to the global greenhouse gas emissions (Friel et al., 2009), making more informed choices on where to procure your protein can only be beneficial.
Salsa is a great summer snack and doesn’t involve turning on any appliances that produce heat. I love this particular recipe because it’s very refreshing and goes well with chicken, shrimp, white fish and of course tortilla chips. I found this recipe (here) and made a few tasty adjustments.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 fresh lime juice and zest
- 1 mango
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup red onion
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- Whisk together the olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, lime juice and zest.
- Finely chop the mango, avocado, red onion and jalapeño pepper into similar sized pieces. *Remove the jalapeño seeds if you don’t like too much spice.
- Add this to the whisked dressing and stir until everything is evenly combined.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and then add the coarsely chopped cilantro prior to serving.
The avocado, nicknamed the Alligator pear because of its skin texture, has been cultivated for many thousands of years (Meyer et al., Chapter 3, 2011). This fruit is native to Central and South America and contains a wealth of nutrients including; carotenoids, manganese, phosphorous, iron, potassium, folic acid and vitamins B, C and E. As well, avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber (6.7g/100g avocado) which aid in digestion and make you feel fuller longer, thus managing weight control (Naveh, et al., 2002). Avocados are also found on the low glycemic index list which means that the carbohydrates are broken down slowly with a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream (NCI, 2009). You may recall from an earlier post that folic acid and vitamin B6 regulate homocysteine levels, which help to prevent heart disease (Meyer et al., Chapter 3, 2011). They are a heart healthy food not only because of the aforementioned, but also because of their ‘good’ fat content which accounts for 85% of avocados calories. Oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acid, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, are found in high concentrations and improve levels of inflammatory risk factors and help to lower cholesterol levels (Dreher and Davenport, 2012). Interestingly, this extraordinary but not ordinary combination of fats is very beneficial to your heart’s health. A study by Ledesma et al.(1996), assessed serum lipids of healthy individuals in a control group and those following a high monounsaturated fatty acid (MFA) diet (which included avocados). After only seven days it was found that the participants following the MFA diet had a significant decrease of blood total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, and an increase of HDL levels. Another study, which had noteworthy results found that by adding 1 cup of avocado (approximately 150g) to a salad increased the absorption of fat soluble carotenoids by 200-400% (Unlu et al., 2005). Although carotenoids are generally associated with orange coloured vegetables and fruits, avocados contain nine different types of this pigment (Colle et al., 2012). On that note, don’t be scared of the fatty avocado…it’s actually very healthy for you and contains a winning combination of fats and fat soluble nutrients!