Spicy Sea Bass!
Sea Bass really does pack a nutritional punch with good levels of all the B vits, Calcium, magnesium, Vit A and almost as much Potassium as a banana! But it’s the omega 3 in fish that excites doctors and nutritionists as it is known to be cardio protective, promoting good HDL cholesterol and reducing bad LDL. Omega 3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory and have been shown to protect us from cancer, chronic disease and even depression. One of the concerns with eating fish is the potential for heavy metal toxicity, in particular mercury. Some sources even recommend reducing your fish intake. However, I would say, just be careful about your choices. Avoid highest e.g. tuna which most people are aware of. Sea bass is recommended no more than 3 times per month, so to increase your fish consumption to 3 times per week, choose wisely from the lower mercury choices. In general smaller fish are less problematic e.g., haddock, plaice, herring, mackerel, sardine, anchovies, fresh salmon and trout. But, most importantly ensure you consume heavy metal chelators (removers) in the diet to offset this problem. I made a salad to accompany this dish with large amounts of coriander which is known for its chelating effects. You could also supplement daily with chelators spirulina, choleralla and a good probiotic to support detoxification.
I often add salad to a meal in addition to steamed veg as it supports digestion, stimulating digestive enzymes and ‘bitters’ such as watercress and rocket are great for stimulating bile flow.
Broccoli may surprise you as being high in calcium! One cup holds 2/3 the calcium of a cup of milk so it’s a great veg to eat regularly especially if you are dairy free. That said, the calcium in broccoli is more bio-available making calcium absorption from milk around 32% and from broccoli more than 60% . So keep eating your broccoli! In addition a wonderful phytonutrient in broccoli is indole-3-carbinol which is a potent cancer fighter. Your granny really was right about your greens!
The sauce for the fish was made with ginger, chilli and garlic. This combination of spices can be added to almost any dish and are used alot in thai cookery. They are anti-inflammatory and promote healthy circulation and digestion. Perfect!
· I used half a bulb of garlic,
· one chilli (seeded but if you like it hot leave them in!)
· Half a thumb size of ginger
· 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 8 tbsp water
Method: Place above ingredients into a whizzer and blend, then pour over your fish and bake on a moderate heat for about 20 mins.
For a treat, we added in some organic jersey royals. Potatoes do not count towards your 5 a day and are not a nutrient dense food. The main health benefits are next to the skin i.e. fibre and vit C so make sure you retain the skin! However, new potatoes have a lower glycaemic index than other potatoes so are ok as an occasional pleasure and at this time of year, who doesn’t love a few jersey royal to accompany their grass fed butter?! (Nice with olive oil too!)
Bon appétit! x
Oh dear, fish! Such a complex subject and full of controversy! However, take a look at this article and get good advice on which fish are higher and lower in mercury.
One of the more worrying issues is sustainability when it comes to fish and the fact that many of our fish now come from fish farms. Ideally, fish should be wild caught and fresh from our lochs, seas and rivers. The issue with farmed fish is that the fish are packed into a confined space and are prone to infection which means they are exposed to antibiotics and PCB’s in poor quality feed.
If you are concerned about sustainability check out this article. Interestingly Green peace say ' Marks and Spencer have invested considerable time and effort in improving the way that the fish they sell is caught and farmed. Not all fish sold by Marks and Spencer are from fully sustainable sources, but it is certainly the best available from a UK supermarket.'
Sea bass has increased in popularity in recent years owing to TV chefs promoting it and since the temperature of the sea has increased, this fish which was previously only found as far north as the channel Islands has actually been spotted off the Western Isles! Sadly, most of the sea bass in the supermarkets is from farmed sources and often from countries which are poorly regulated with limited access to inspectors. There is plenty of fresh, locally caught fish in our supermarkets and Wild Alaskan Salmon is always an option and again is available in most supermarkets. But for a rare treat, you could always splash out on some proper Scottish Wild Salmon. Check out The Scottish Wild Salmon Company. Failing that, you could always take up fishing and catch your own!
TOP TIP: If you are concerned about your mercury levels, are thinking of becoming pregnant or are already pregnant or you want to check your children's safe levels check out the NRDC calculator. All you have to do is enter your body weight and the amount and type of fish you've eaten and it will give you instant results and guidance to give you a steer and some reassurance.
Who said getting your 'five a day' was difficult?! With this recipe, we not only have 6 veg in the sauce, we also have another 3 greens in the salad! 9 in one meal? Well, I did say there was a sexy twist!
So, how did we do it? Well our sauce was made with grass fed beef (extra omega 3) along with
red peppers high in vitamin C so perfect to help absorb the Iron in the beef! The vitamin A in the pepper also improves night vision and the magnesium and B6 work together to help reduce anxiety. Interestingly, recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can increase thermogenesis and therefore metabolic rate. What? Burning calories? This meal just got sexier! But there's more...
The tomatoes are also high in vitamin C and the wonderful chemical which makes peppers and tomatoes red is lycopene which releases on heating. Lycopene has been shown in many studies to prevent many cancers and is well known for its protective effects against prostate cancer. We added a jar of Organic Passata along with a punnet of small tomatoes to add fibre and texture. Mushrooms are also known for their cancer protective effects as they are immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory. The onion and garlic are from the allium family, much like leeks, scallions and chives which could also be used in this recipe! Onions also contain Vit C, B6, Folate, Iron and Potassium. But the super exciting ingredient is possibly the quercetin which has been found to act as a powerful anti-histamine and antioxidant! The popular use of onions in French cuisine has been suggested to be one of the reasons behind the French paradox as onions have been shown to improve blood lipids! Our advice is...add onion to everything! Then there's the garlic and we all know what a superfood it is in terms of taste and health benefits. This immune boosting superfood should also be included daily as it has been shown in countless studies to be cancer protective.
TOP TIP: Add garlic towards the end of cooking to maximine taste and enhance benefits. We also added spinach, again a wonderful nutrient dense vegetable with lots of folate, magnesium, Vit A, C, and calcium. Put a few handfuls in at the end and hide away the greens from small children (and not so small children!) to enhance their nourishment.
Our green salad was made with Romaine Lettuce which oddly enough is high in protein and an excellent source of calcium, so if you add it to calcium rich fruits like oranges you will have more calcium than a glass of milk! The little gem lettuce and coriander add yet more vit C and folate among other nutrients. The more greens the better!
I have to say, I rarely eat pasta. Most pastas are made from white bleached wheatflour which is great for weight gain but doesn't really pack a nutrient punch! This one is a gluten free brown rice option which is high in insoluble fibre but keep the portion size small, around a quarter of your plate. There are other good alternatives such as chickpea and buckwheat pasta which are better for fibre, nutrients and low glycaemic index, so have a look in your health store for options.
So.. there you have it. Buon appetito ( as they say in Italy!)
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