Happy World Health Day everyone! This year the World Health Organisation has decided to spotlight the health risk presented by vectors – such as mosquitoes, ticks and sandflies, which are responsible for transmitting a number of potentially deadly parasites and pathogens. If you want to find out more, visit the World Health Organisation Website website.
Although the day is focusing on the health risk presented by vectors, we thought we would give you a few innovative food ideas to enhance your health in honour of World Health Day. So here’s a few new healthy food ideas you may not have tried yet, and what better day to make a healthy change?
Health benefits: Kale pretty much has everything you could want in a food. It’s low calorie, high fibre and has zero fat but still manages to contain a stunning array of nutrients. It’s good for your skin and immune system and provides protection against cancer and inflammatory diseases. It even manages to provide more iron than beef!
Eat it at home: Kale can be eaten raw or cooked and can be easily incorporated into your diet just by adding it to salads. However my favourite way to eat kale is as delicious salty kale chips. Skip the outrageously expensive health food store versions and make some yourself with this simple recipe
Eating out: In The Annex (35 Ross Street, Forest Lodge, NSW) at Glebe serves up a Kale and Egg roll, Eggs and Kale on Toast, Kale smoothies and more!
Amuse bouche at Sepia, featuring pickled seaweed
Health benefits: This salty stuff is high in nutrients but low in calories and is fantastic for digestive and heart health. Its strong detoxifying qualities make it a fantastic hangover cure, while its effect on the thyroid means that it helps to regulate hormones.
Eat it at home: Seaweed is a staple in Japanese food and luckily for us there are already many well established and fantastic ways to eat it. Sushi rolls, stirfries and miso soups are just a few dishes that can benefit from a boost of seaweed.
Eating out: With its complexity in both flavour and texture this health trend is gaining serious popularity in top notch restaurants. Sepia Restaurant (201 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW) at Darling Park uses a seaweed base for many of its dishes and incorporates the health boosting ingredient frequently.
Health benefits: These foods are ridiculously high in probiotics which help to maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your stomach. Probiotics are especially important for those who have recently been on antibiotics as they restore balance to your digestive system. Improved digestion means you absorb the nutrients in your food better and have a stronger immune system.
Eat it at home: Cornersmith Cafe’s Picklery (441 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, NSW) teaches the art of pickling and preserving so you can make your own seasonal chutney and pickles at home. Workshops take you through the entire process of bottling, sterilizing and storing your products.
Eating out: Marque (4/5 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW) embraces the unique flavour of fermented foods and uses them liberally in their stunning menu which includes dishes like Darling Downs Wagyu with Fermented Cabbage & Gherkin.
Health benefits: Coconut water and coconut milk are major trends at the moment but maybe the most important healthy use of coconut is its oil. Although coconut oil is high in saturated fats, these are the ‘good’ type of fat which serve to increase good cholesterol. The oil also kills disease causing bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses because of its antimicrobial qualities and can even be used to prevent tooth decay. Incorporating coconut oil into meals slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream meaning it is useful in the prevention of diabetes. Coconut also speeds up the metabolism because it is more readily used as fuel for energy rather than stored as body fat. However the beautifying effects of coconut oil extend beyond its slimming qualities – it can also be used as a hair treatment and skin moisturiser.
Eat it at home: Coconut oil can easily be used to replace any other cooking oil you’re currently using in the kitchen and is available in the health food section of all major supermarkets.
Health benefits: Black rice is high in antioxidants which prevent damage to cells and hence protect against chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. These cancer fighting qualities are common to many black foods, and you can learn about some other fantastic black foods here
Eat it at home: You can simply use it in the place of white rice or try making a black rice pudding with coconut milk for a delicious and healthy twist on your daily bowl of porridge.
Eating out: Yellow (57 Macleay Street, Potts Point, NSW) serves up an amazing dish of Lamb tongues with endive, pickled green raisins (fermented food!) and puffed black rice, but if you’ve got a bit more of a sweet tooth try the black sticky rice at Chat Thai (20 Campbell Street, Haymarket, NSW).
Grass Fed Meat
Health benefits: After the intense popularity ‘organic’ meat amongst health fanatics, it’s interesting to note that grass fed meat is far better for you than organic grain fed meat. Grass-fed products are rich in all the fats proven to be health-enhancing, but low in the fats that have been linked with disease. These fats reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, hypertension, arthritis, cancer and other inflammatory diseases. Grass fed meat is not only better for you but is also ethically superior, as it ensures a better life for the animal.
Eat it at home: Ask your butcher for 100% grass fed meat and use it instead of your usual meat. Alternatively you can order online from the free range butcher.
Eating out: Grill’d pride themselves in using only 100% grass fed meat as they assert that it is healthier, tastier and more ethical.
Health benefits: Amaranth is an ancient gluten free grain which is gaining popularity over quinoa. It contains more protein than quinoa, is high in calcium magnesium, iron, zinc and fibre and has a lower carbohydrate content than other gluten free grains. Its high protein and nutrient content make it an ideal grain for vegetarians as it supplies many of the nutrients often lacking in a meat free diet.
Eat it at home: You can cook it like rice and use it as an accompaniment to meals (like quinoa). More excitingly, it can be ‘popped’ like corn kernels and eaten as a salty delicious snack. All you have to do is toast a tablespoon of amaranth seeds at a time in a hot pan. Stir the seeds until they pop. Then season however you like.
Eating out: The menu at Agapé Organic Restaurant & Bar (1385 Botany Road, Botany, NSW) focuses on ancient grains, especially amaranth and quinoa and serves such delicious fare as spice roasted pumpkin risotto, royal quinoa, apple, quark, amaranth & pecorino.