We Unpack the Benefits of Pistachio Crumbed Chicken with Asparagus SaladApril 4, 2017
You know how it normally is: if it looks good, it’s bad for you. Wrong! Just check out the benefits of Pistachio Crumbed Chicken with Asparagus Salad.
Asparagus – Prebiotic
Turns out some spears are actually good to put in your body. Asparagus, despite its well-known ability to make your wee smell, uh, interesting, has many positive qualities to outweigh this factoid. For starters, it’s a prebiotic. “That sounds like it’s a good thing. But what does it actually mean?” Basically, it’s helping to feed and populate the bacteria in our guts, which is important as this is often where diseases begin to take shape, so we’ve got to keep things nice and tidy in there.
An increasing amount of research around stomach and intestinal health suggests that if you’re not a yutz with your guts, you can help to moderate appetite-regulating hormones, produce some nutrients such as vitamins K and B, regulate your immune system and basically just contribute to the overall health and function of this system. As an added bonus, the combination of fibre and antioxidants such as selenium present in asparagus appear to provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Briefly cop a funny smell to get all that goodness? Pretty worthwhile sacrifice if you ask me.
Chicken – High in Protein
Anyone who’s ever followed someone during the “bulking” phase of an exercise regime might be familiar with an oft-used diet to assist in the process, which consists of two parts: 1. Chicken and 2. So much more chicken. This due to chicken’s status as lean meat, meaning the protein to fat ratio is far in protein’s favour. In fact, a 100g serve of (cooked!) chicken contains around 49% of a male’s recommended daily intake and around 60% of female RDI. I’m no mathemagician, but that seems like a lot.
Additionally, chicken is generally higher in beneficial omega-3 fats (one of those good fats you’ve heard so much about). Omega-3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is necessary for overall brain and heart health, so you don’t become too much of a hothead, nor get too much heartburn. It’s also a high source of B vitamins (as in vitamin B, not second rate vitamins), specifically B3, B6 and B12. B vitamins are also good for brain health, particularly in the production of energy and neurotransmitters (brain hormones), so you’ll have the power to think good! I might need some chicken in my diet…
Cucumber – Hydrating
Ever heard the expression “cool as a cucumber”? Well, it turns out that’s not just a nice little piece of alliteration, there’s actually a physiological reason behind it. For starters, cucumbers are around 95% water, so munching on one on a hot day could certainly help cool you down, giving you a hit of vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper and manganese too in the process.
Not content to just cool you down through hydration, cucumbers also possess a handy anti-inflammatory called fisetin that can help block pro-inflammatory enzymes, thus reducing puffiness, redness and irritability, so people putting cucumber slices on their eyes may start to make sense to some of you. Leaving the skin on cucumbers ensures you’ll be eating all the dietary fibre contained within too. This and the high water content help move all the gunk through your digestive system much quicker, leaving you feeling fresh and pure, like a mountain stream… or something of that nature.
Olive Oil – Anti-inflammatory
Many have a blanket understanding that fats and oils are generally bad for you overall, but for a while now, it’s been proven that there are good fats and bad fats. While bad fats include saturated fats and trans fats, good ones include monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs (you’re welcome). MUFAs are fatty acids like oleic acid, which is prevalent in olive oil, though don’t think that means you should start guzzling it down, as it works best when enjoyed in moderation, you know, like almost everything.
Oleic acid is actually what gives olive oil its well-known anti-inflammatory benefits, which have been shown to go so far as to protect the body against many inflammatory diseases. And don’t worry sweat the rumours, contrary to popular belief, you can use extra virgin olive oil (you’ve got to use the good stuff here!) to fry your veggies in, as it’s stable up to temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius. This is largely due to the vitamin E content, which prevents oxidative damage to the oil as it’s heated. Resistant to that much heat? Anti-inflammatory indeed.
Pistachio and Peanut Mix – Healthy Fats
Ideally, we’d all like to feel full, but not overeat, thus feeling satisfied but keeping healthy. As it turns out, adding nuts to a meal can send you on your way to achieving this, as it increases the amount of good fats in your meal, which increases satiety AKA fullness and satisfaction, the exact things you were looking for, meaning you won’t need to grab the chocolate bar after dinner, nor the 1.5L ice cream tub, or the cheesecake, or the… OK, we need to refocus.
Nuts are another aspect of this dish with a high concentration of MUFAs, but they’re also rich in PUFAs (again, you’re welcome), or polyunsaturated fatty acids, which is believed to be the reason behind the power of nuts to lower cholesterol.
Pistachios specifically, have been found to reduce blood sugar levels and inflammation, as well as contain the antioxidant resveratrol AKA the red wine drinker’s favourite excuse, due to its cardioprotective properties.
As for peanuts, they’re a strong source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc. That’s almost half the periodic table in one nut! Now I’ve heard everything!
Red Onion – Antioxidant
Chopped onions or not, you won’t be cryin’ after you read these cool facts! Red onion contains the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin, an antioxidant, helping to reduce free radicals and protecting cells in the body from attack. Quercetin can also help stabilise the cells that release histamine in the body and thus have an antihistamine effect, helping to stop allergies in their tracks. Would you rather cry or sneeze uncontrollably? Then onions for you!
Onions, like asparagus, are also a prebiotic food, promoting better intestinal health. In fact, onions and green things have a lot in common. A loud-mouthed donkey was once told that onions, because of their layers, are a lot like ogres…
Spinach Leaves – High in Iron
Spinach is an insanely nutrient-dense superfood, it’s no wonder Popeye slammed down so much of the stuff. OK, admittedly this was due to an administrative error regarding a wrongly-placed decimal point in the iron content, but it’s not like it’s bad for you. And it’s actually still really high in iron! Iron helps to create haemoglobin, which has the measly role of transferring oxygen to every cell in your body. You know, that not completely mammoth task? Is this sarcasm coming across? Haemoglobin is good!
Spinach is also high in carotenoids, which the body can convert into vitamin A and is also exceptionally high in vitamin C, which make sense if you remember that song: As we go on / We remember / All the spinach / We had for breakfast. Bit of a stretch, but not to worry. Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that boost immune function and promote hair and skin health as well, so it’ll have you feeling good and looking great too.