We have all heard those familiar words: an apple a day keeps the doctor away; feed a cold, starve a fever; fish is brain food; for strong muscles, eat spinach, it’s full of iron; eating spicy foods will give you an ulcer; and fried food and chocolate will give you acne. This week’s column will take a look at each adage to see if there is any truth to them and provide some recipes for some that aren’t.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
The claim is not literally true, but apples are very healthful. Apples contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of some types of cancers. In fact, a major review from the German Cancer Research Center in 2008 stated that those who eat at least one apple a day have less risk of oral cancer, cancer of the voice box, breast cancer and colon, kidney, and ovarian cancer. Apples are also a great source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and help with weight loss by helping you to feel full with fewer calories.
The adage is repeated because fruit is good for you. Five to nine daily servings of different kinds of fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of colors will help keep boredom away and provide needed nutrients.
“Feed a cold; starve a fever.”
There may be some validity to this claim. A study conducted in Denmark in 2002 with six subjects, found that overnight fasting increased the cells that help fight off fever-related bacterial infections, such as the flu; and an increase in the cell types that attach cold-related viruses was seen in people who had a meal. Although a six people study doesn’t make the adage true, the findings are interesting.
This adage may persist because when a fever is present many people may not feel like eating.
Eating sensibly to keep up strength and drinking plenty of fluids to thin congestion-causing mucus and maintain hydration is the best idea when not feeling well.
“Fish is brain food.”
This adage has been found to be quite true. A 2006 study from Tufts University in Boston found a 50 percent reduction in the risk of development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in those people who had a higher concentration of DHA (a fatty acid found in many types of fish, including wild Alaska salmon, herring and mackerel). Though there is no definitive study that fish or fish oil keeps the brain sharp, the American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish, such as salmon, a week.
This adage is still repeated because “Fish - especially cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring-are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have been found to be very important for brain function.” (realsimple.com/health). So add some shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish or talk to your doctor about adding a supplement to help out that brain.
“For strong muscles, eat spinach: it’s full of iron.”
This adage is partially true. While muscles do need iron, protein is more important to build muscles. The iron that is produced by plants is not absorbed by the body as well as the iron provided by the protein provided by animal products, such as beef, chicken and turkey.
This adage is still repeated because although spinach may not build muscles as well as protein; it is a great source of antioxidants, especially vitamin C, which the body needs.
“Eating spicy foods will give you an ulcer.”
This adage is false. Participants who were fed a meal of ground jalapeños showed no damage to the lining of their stomachs; in fact there was no change.
This adage is still repeated because spicy foods may irritate a stomach that already has some damage to the lining, such as an ulcer. Ulcers are usually caused by two things: a bacterium that causes an infection which makes the stomach more inclined to have damage from its own acids; and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
“Fried foods and chocolate cause acne.”
This is actually false. This adage is repeated because there is a tendency to indulge in these kinds of foods when under stress or during hormonal surges. Both of these events cause an increase in the amount of sebum, an oily substance that is produced by the body. This increase contributes to the overgrowth of bacteria that causes pimples.
There is no need to banish fried foods and chocolate from your diet, but eating a well balanced diet, washing with a mild cleanser twice a day and exercising to reduce stress will help prevent acne. (realsimple.com/health; galtime.com/article/health).
Waldorf Salad with Raisins
2 cups diced, unpeeled apple
1 teaspoon finely grated orange
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup whipped topping
Salad greens or lettuce
Zest orange for the 1 teaspoon grated orange peel; peel and section orange over a bowl to catch any juices. Cut each orange section in half; reserve 1 tablespoon of the collected orange juice. In a bowl combine diced apple, orange peel, raisins, celery, walnuts, and orange pieces. In a separate bowl, blend together mayonnaise, sugar, and reserved orange juice. Fold in whipped topping and gently stir into apple Waldorf salad mixture. Arrange salad greens on serving plates and top with Waldorf salad. Waldorf salad serves 6.
Chopped Apple Salad
Bobby Flay, foodnetwork.com
6 apples (Granny Smith, Gala,
Fuji) any or combination, skin
left on, cored and cut into 1/2
2 cups baby spinach
2 heads endive, thinly sliced
1 cup toasted coarsely chopped
3/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the apples, spinach, endive, walnuts and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon
1 tablespoon honey, or more to
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.
Salmon Cakes With Lemon Rice
(2) 14-3/4 ounce cans red or
pink salmon, drained, any
skin and large bones removed
1-1/4 cups dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup capers, drained
1-1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon,
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cups instant brown rice
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, quartered
In a bowl, combine the salmon, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg, Worcestershire sauce, capers, tarragon, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Mix together well and form into 12 small patties. Coat the patties in the remaining 3/4 cup bread crumbs.
Cook the rice according to the package directions. When done, remove from heat and leave covered.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.
Sauté the patties in batches for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Toss the rice with the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the salmon cakes and lemon quarters.
Debbie Burchette, tasteofhome.com
1 pound Italian sausage links,
cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 pound boneless skinless
chicken breasts, cubed
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium sweet red pepper,
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(3) 14-1/2 ounce cans chicken
2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
14-1/2 ounce can diced
1 pound uncooked medium
shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups frozen sliced okra
In a Dutch oven, brown sausage and chicken in oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. In the drippings, sauté red pepper, onion and celery until tender. Stir in the seasonings; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, rice and sausage mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.
Stir in tomatoes, shrimp and okra; cook for 10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally. Yield: 16 servings (about 4 quarts).
Jamie’s Cranberry Spinach Salad
Jamie Hensley, allrecipes.com
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup almonds, blanched and
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn
into bite-size pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sesame
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
Bermuda Spinach Salad
1/2 pound bacon
2 pounds spinach, rinsed and
2-3/4 ounces croutons
1/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon prepared
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and cool. Once cool, peel and chop.
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
Prepare the dressing in a blender by combining the onion, sugar, salt, oil, vinegar, pepper, celery seed and Dijon mustard. Blend until smooth.
In a large salad bowl, combine the eggs, bacon, spinach, croutons and mushrooms. Toss to mix. Pour enough dressing over salad to lightly coat. Toss and serve.
Spicy Chicken Caesar Pasta
1 pound boneless skinless
4 cups rotini pasta, cooked
according to package
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and
diced into small bits
1/2 cup Caesar dressing
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Heat vegetable oil in medium skillet with medium heat, cook chicken (turning frequently) in oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the pasta and Caesar dressing until pasta is well coated. Add cooked chicken and jalapeno peppers, toss.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until cold and serve cold.
Indian Beef Patties with
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup chopped, seeded
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped,
seeded fresh jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces lean ground beef
Indian flatbread (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and cucumber. Cover and place in refrigerator.
In a medium bowl, combine onion, jalapeno, mint, cumin, garlic, and salt. Add ground beef; mix well. Form meat mixture into two 3/4-inch-thick patties.
Lightly coat a grill pan with cooking spray. Place patties in pan over medium heat. Cook 14 to 18 minutes, or until done, turning once.
If desired, serve the patties on flatbread; top with yogurt sauce. Makes 2 servings
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.