From drinking green tea with lemon to adding black pepper to curry, these quick fixes give already healthy food a big boost. On the one hand food is simple — edible things grow, we eat them.
But on the other hand, food is complex. The range of nutrients and how they work together is as complicated as a roomful of negotiating politicians; some nutrients get along, others compete, there are trade-offs, there are standoffs.
Some nutrients completely knock others out by blocking their absorption in the body, for example while others work as allies to unlock the best of their partners. The following tricks fall into the last category — the nutrient happy place where one boosts the other in significant ways and promises the best that a food has to offer. Food is precious and we should get the most out of it, right? The best part is that these quick fixes are all incredibly easy.
If you eat curry, in which turmeric plays a starring role by imbuing the dish with its gorgeous orange-golden hue, do not skip a pinch of black pepper.
Earlier I wrote about 6 vegetables that are healthier cooked than raw, which you can read here. But a quick takeaway is that carrots and tomatoes, which are frequently eaten raw, offer some very important nutrients when they are cooked.
For tomatoes, cooking them releases the potent antioxidant lycopene. Meanwhile, cooked carrots have higher levels of beta-carotene than their raw counterparts, which is one of the best things about carrots anyway!
Have wine with fish Cara Rosenbloom at the Washington Post points out that people who drink wine when eating fish have higher levels of heart-happy omega-3 fats in their blood. And since high blood levels of omega-3 fat is protective against coronary heart disease, stroke and sudden cardiac death, this is a good thing.
Use sprouted bread instead of regular slices Sprouted grains are no longer lonely exiles to the land of old-school health food, and in fact they are becoming increasingly mainstream thanks to brands like Ezekiel. Can menus persuade us to buy more? How are restaurants catering for growing numbers of customers with allergies?
And Simon meets a community group who are making good use of perfectly good food waste. The team check out food options when flying, how pubs and bars are catering for the growing number of teetotallers, and the cost to restaurants of 'no shows'. Simon and Sophie reveal how pizza cheese isn't always as genuine as we think it is. Plus: airport restaurants, restaurant calorie counts and how to make the ultimate red wine and tomato pasta sauce. The team check out calorie counts in restaurant meals.
Adam explores 'cakeage', where restaurants charge customers to eat their own celebration cakes.
Plus: in-home delivery meal kits. Simon discovers the challenges that Pizza Hut face in creating a vegan menu. Plus: the best high street meal deals.
And the food trend that's bringing street food in from the cold: food halls. Simon visits Wagamama's Noodle Lab to explore how innovation and customer feedback can dictate what ends up on our plates. Plus: monster milkshakes, waste food apps and upselling. Sophie explores the latest developments in tea and coffee's ongoing battle for hot drink dominance. Plus: eating out for breakfast, and the surprising amount of salt in some desserts.
From This episode from explores the impact that social media has had on restaurants. And can Seyi Rhodes revive a meat dish that's fallen out of favour? This episode from investigates how big brands are interpreting the move towards healthier food and drink. Plus: the psychological trick on restaurant menus to make diners spend more. Simon reveals the best restaurant special offers and proves that plenty of big chains are willing to give away food and drink for free. Season the monkfish and scallops with salt and pepper and place them in the hot pan, working in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding.
Cook, turning once, until nicely seared, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then the squash and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom and lemongrass and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated. Add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass.
Add the shallot and seared monkfish and scallops and gently poach for a minute or two. Add the bok choy, chile, garlic, ginger, and mussels. Cover and steam until the mussels have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and season with salt and pepper. Divide among four serving dishes and top with the avocado, scallions, cilantro, and mint.