Dr Joanna McMillan always promotes healthy cooking methods; healthy ingredients and superfoods!
Here are seven superfoods included in typical take-out dishes that will boost your nutritional intake.
For those who need to boost their iron:
Octopus has more than double the iron of a similar portion of steak and it has 30 per cent fewer kilojoules, hardly any fat and delivers a similar amount of protein. Octopus is also rich in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, copper and selenium. To top it off, it provides good levels of omega-3 fats. “A BBQ octopus salad is a terrifically healthy dish, or have it in tomato-based sauces – order these from Italian and Greek restaurants,” Dr Joanna says.
Duck breast has 80 per cent more iron and 65 per cent more zinc than chicken breast, along with a host of B-group vitamins. Dr Joanna says, “Much of the fat is under the skin which you can remove – the meat itself is lean – and half of the fat is the healthy monounsaturated kind.”
These delicious nuts have more iron and zinc than other commonly consumed nuts and they’re a great nutrient source in vegetarian diets. They’re rich in both magnesium and super-healthy monounsaturated fats. Dr Joanna says, “Unless you have an allergy, be sure to get nuts into your daily diet. Research shows that a handful of nuts a day dramatically reduces our risk of heart disease,”
Order salads, stir-fries and Thai, Indian and Chinese dishes with cashews.
Rocket contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants and vitamin K and C. It sustains eye health as it’s packed with carotenoids. Having iron rich foods with greens aids iron absorption, too, Joanna says. “Rocket staves off infections like colds and flu. It has a big nutritional bang for each bite.” Opt for parmesan and rocket salad from Italian restaurants, pizza and pasta dishes that include rocket.
For overall health benefits
The humble tomato is a superfood, especially when it’s concentrated or pureed in pizza toppings and pasta sauces. It has high levels of an antioxidant called lycopene. It may block cancer cell growth and reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Dr Joanna says, “That doesn’t make pizza a superfood! But if you choose a wholemeal thin base and add loads of vegie toppings, then yes it can be a healthy dish.”
Lentils are protein-rich, they contain low glycaemic carbs, fibre and folate and are one of the best plant sources of iron. Dr Joanna says, “I add lentils to my takeaway order to boost my ‘smart carb’ intake. You’ll find them in daal, stews and soups, Lebanese side dishes and lentil salads and they’re a good protein choice in a vegetarian meal.”
This fish is one of the best sources of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats we need for heart and brain health. “It’s great in green curries, salads, Japanese dishes such as sashimi, teriyaki and sushi or just simply grilled,” Dr Joanna says.
8 Bok Choy
Bok Choy is packed with antioxidants called glucosinolates and as part of the cabbage family, it is thought to reduce cancer risk, especially in the stomach. It provides B-group vitamins needed for energy production, and minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc. Dr Joanna says, “Bok choy is often found in stir-fries which are a healthy takeaway choice as they introduce vegies you wouldn’t usually cook at home.”
Spices such as cinnamon and turmeric are rich in antioxidants with anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities plus they boost the detox pathways in your liver, and can have anti-cancer properties.
“Look for dishes that also contain cumin, coriander, chilli and garlic which you may not use as often in your home cooking,” Dr Joanna says. You’ll find great combinations of spices in Indian curries such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Middle Eastern meats with harissa spice, Lebanese kebabs and Indonesian curries.
Parsley is packed with vitamins K and C, folate and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which boost your eye health. You’ll find swathes of parsley in Middle Eastern tabouli, Mediterranean dishes such as pizza, pasta, soups and stews. Dr Joanna says, “Dishes such as tabouli use the herb liberally so they maximize the amazing nutrition benefits of the plant.”
Dr Joanna McMillan is one of the best-known nutrition and wellbeing experts in Australia. She has authored a number of books including the internationally published The Low GI Diet, The Low GI Diet Cookbook and Star Foods.
Image courtesy of Ross Dobson, check out the recipe here!