Chef Sarah Wiener has been dubbed Germany’s Jamie Oliver. She is an ambassador for healthy eating and nutrition in the country and works to educate people about how to cook simple healthy meals using fresh organic foods.
Wiener shares two easy-to-make yet wholesome recipes that make use of three primary ingredients: potatoes, spinach and egg. Now, I’m not normally a fan of potatoes, especially if eaten in excess. But they do have some healthy attributes, especially if they’re organic and you eat the peel.
Potatoes provide fiber, B vitamins, minerals and even antioxidants. If you’re healthy, eating them in moderation is OK, but to kick the nutrition on these recipes up a notch, swap out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes.
Any time you eat real food — and not processed food, fast food and junk food — you’re treating your body right. By enjoying the meals above, you not only get great taste but also the following benefits.
As mentioned, I’d recommend swapping out the potatoes in these recipes for sweet potatoes. Orange-colored sweet potatoes owe their appearance to the carotenoid beta-carotene.
As an antioxidant, beta-carotene can help ward off free radicals that damage cells through oxidation, which can speed up aging and make you vulnerable to chronic diseases. This antioxidant can help support your immune system, as well as lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Research shows sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar because of their ability to raise blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone created by your fat cells, to help regulate how your body metabolizes insulin.
Sweet potato extract is said to help reduce inflammation in brain and nerve tissue throughout your body. The phytonutrients within sweet potatoes also influence fibrinogen, an important glycoprotein required for blood clotting.
Together with thrombin and fibrin, balanced amounts of fibrinogen are important for wound healing and blood loss prevention
Spinach (Dark Leafy Greens)
You can make the recipes above using any dark leafy green you enjoy — spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards, etc. Consuming a variety of fresh organic greens is one of the absolute best things you can do for your body.
Topping the list in terms of nutrient density are watercress (which are really easy to sprout at home), chard, beet greens, and spinach — but adding other gorgeous leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, collards, dandelion leaves, mustard greens, and escarole will just add to your overall nutrient infusion.
Greens like spinach and kale are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants including beta-carotene, vitamin C, and sulforaphane. Spinach provides folate, which research shows can dramatically improve your short-term memory.
Eating folate-rich foods may also lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA. Some leafy greens, including collards and spinach, contain vitamin K1, which is good for your veins and arteries.
Green leafy vegetables are also an excellent source of nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure and risk of glaucoma.
Eggs are rich in healthy fats and high-quality protein. The yolks also contain choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development. It’s a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a role in both muscle control and memory.
Choline is also important for the health of your cell membranes and has anti-inflammatory properties. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are also found in egg yolks.
Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant carotenoid found in your retina, but it cannot be made by your body, so you must get it from your diet. Lutein is found in your macular pigment, which helps protect your central vision and aids in blue light absorption.
It’s important to consume egg yolks that are only lightly-cooked, as the heat will damage many of the highly perishable nutrients in the yolk. Less "well-done" eggs are vastly preferable, such as poached, soft-boiled, or over-easy with very runny yolks.
Garlic reduces inflammation, boosts immune function, improves heart health, and is toxic to cancer cells. The combination of biochemicals in garlic, including tannins, saponins, phenols, flavonoids, and essential oils, has even been found to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Garlic is also rich in manganese, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins B6 and C, so it’s beneficial for your bones as well as your thyroid. Other health-promoting compounds in garlic include oligosaccharides, arginine-rich proteins, selenium, and flavonoids.
The first recipe contains a healthy amount of cream and butter. Look for grass-fed, organic varieties. In addition to healthy saturated fats, butter also contains the following nutrients:
|Nutrients in Butter
|*Vitamin A in the most absorbable form
||Lecithin (necessary for cholesterol metabolism and nerve health)
|Wulzen factor: hormone-like substance known to prevent arthritis and joint stiffness (destroyed by pasteurization)
||*Fatty acids, especially short- and medium-chain in the perfect omega-3 to omega-6 balance
||*CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
||Minerals, including selenium, manganese, chromium, zinc, and copper
||Iodine in a highly absorbable form
||Arachidonic Acid (AA): brain function and healthy cell membranes
||Glycosphingolipids: fatty acids that protect against GI infections
|*The highest amounts of CLA and omega-3 fats come from cows raised on grass pastures. Their butter is also 50 percent higher in vitamins A and E, and 400 percent higher in beta-carotene, giving grass-fed butter its deeper yellow color.