What to pair your fish, chicken and red meat with to make them even better eats. By Sasha Gonzales
If you’re cooking FISH, pair it with WINE
All fish is good for you, but oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna is especially healthy as they contain omega-3 fatty acids.
These deliver a host of benefits, including maintaining cardiovascular health by reducing plaque build-up in the arteries, lowering bad cholesterol while elevating good cholesterol levels, improving joint health by reducing joint tenderness and stiff ness, enhancing the health of your skin, and even minimising the risk of cancer.
To boost your uptake when eating oily fish, Pooja Vig, nutritionist and co-founder at The Nutrition Clinic, suggests sipping on a glass of red wine. “The wine helps soak up the healthy omega-3 fats found in the fish,” she explains. “One glass has enough heart-healthy polyphenol antioxidants for improved omega-3 absorption.” (See, sommelier tips on how to choose wine.)
If you find wine too strong to drink, Pooja recommends marinating a piece of fish in a small amount of wine before cooking it.
If you’re cooking CHICKEN, pair it with SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which you need for a number of functions in the body, including the production of new cells and maintaining vision in dim light. Zinc, a mineral found in chicken and other meats, supports vitamin A in a number of ways, says Jaclyn Reutens, clinical dietitian with Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants.
Firstly, it helps metabolise vitamin A. Secondly, it is essential in the production of a retinol-binding protein that helps transport vitamin A to all the tissues in the body. Zinc is also needed to convert retinol (a form of vitamin A) to retinal, which helps prevent night blindness. Finally, zinc is used to help with the release of vitamin A from the liver.
If you’re cooking RED MEAT, pair it with ROSEMARY
We are often warned against barbecuing or grilling red meat until it chars. When red meat is cooked at very high temperatures over an open flame, it is believed to trigger a reaction that results in the production of cancer-causing chemicals.
But Susie Rucker, nutritional therapist at Body With Soul says that you can actually temper the carcinogenic effects of barbecuing and grilling by marinating the meat with rosemary before you cook it. “Rosemary not only lends a lovely aroma to the dish, it also has strong anti-cancer properties, which means it may prevent cancerous compounds from forming during the cooking process.”
Indeed, a few studies, including one published in 2010 in the Journal of Food Science, found that cooking meat with rosemary reduces carcinogens by up to 90 per cent. Try marinating red meat, like beef and lamb, with sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary before cooking it.