Keep Your Ticker In Tip-Top Shape with Superfoods

This article provided by Atria, an independent caregiving provider in the Masonic Value Network


February is known to be American Heart Month, when the American Heart Association pulls out all the stops to encourage you to lead a healthy lifestyle and make smart food choices. One way to do that is to include superfoods in your diet, which are especially important as we age. Superfoods are rich in nutrients, help thwart age-related diseases and conditions, and improve your mood.

To help you along, we’ve created a recipe packed with superfoods, courtesy of Chad Welch, Executive Chef of Culinary Operations at Atria Senior Living. Chad oversees Atria’s state-of-the-art Culinary Test Kitchen, where he and his team try out recipes, products and programs that will be implemented throughout Atria communities. Check out the video to see Chad prepare this delicious dish, read about what ingredients he’s using and why, then try it in your own kitchen.

The superfoods in this recipe:

1. Salmon
The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help protect your heart, reduce inflammation and prevent vision loss. The fish is high in DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that has been linked to improving cognitive skills such as nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility. Salmon is also packed with plenty of protein to help build lean muscle.

2. Watercress
This peppery green adds a kick to morning smoothies, brightens milder salad greens and can be sautéed in a snap. Among its superfood properties are carotenoids, which help prevent or slow the onset of age-related macular degeneration and possibly cataracts.

3. Figs
One serving of figs contains 5 grams of fiber, 25 percent of an adult’s recommended amount, which is imperative for healthy digestion.

4. Moringa
Research suggests that moringa, an edible plant grown in the tropics, excels at curbing inflammation, which in turn could ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Moringa also offers anti-aging effects. Professor Ilya Raskin of Rutgers University studies the tropical plant’s impact on skin. He discovered that its compounds protect cells from sun damage and UV radiation.

A balanced diet has always been an integral part of aging well. Give this superfoods recipe a try!

Salmon with Watercress, Red Wine Figs, Blue Cheese and Beets

• 5 oz. salmon
• 1½ cups watercress, washed and picked
• 1½ oz. blue cheese crumbles
• 1 oz. walnuts, toasted
• 1 oz. figs soaked in red wine (see subrecipe)
• 1 oz. sherry moringa vinaigrette (see subrecipe)
• 1½ oz. boiled yellow beets, diced (see subrecipe)
• 1 small yellow beet, sliced thin on mandoline

For the salmon: Preheat cast iron pan. Add vegetable oil to pan to keep the salmon from sticking. Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Sear until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the salmon to a platter and brush with red wine fig glaze and allow to rest for up to 5 minutes. For the salad: Toss the watercress with vinaigrette in mixing bowl with boiled beets and toasted walnuts. Toss until all ingredients are dressed evenly. For plating: Take dressed salad and put in a mound on plate. Place remaining garnish items: figs, blue cheese and thin-sliced raw beet slices and arrange nicely on salad and around the plate. Place salmon on top in the center of the plate.

Boiled Yellow Beets

• 1 lb. small to medium yellow beets
• 2 tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
Instructions: Place beets in a saucepan and add water to cover, along with the lemon juice or vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove beets from saucepan and let cool until they can be handled. The skins can now be easily peeled off the beets. Dice the peeled beets.

Sherry Moringa Vinaigrette

• 5 fl oz. sherry vinegar
• 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 2 tsp. moringa, ground
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. black pepper, ground
• 15 fl oz. canola oil
Instructions: Place all ingredients except oil in a blender and turn on to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the blender is on to maintain the emulsion until you have added all the oil.

Figs Soaked in Red Wine

• 8 fl oz. red wine
• 1½ oz. sugar
• 2 cloves
• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
• 6 oz. figs, dried, stem removed, cut in half
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to simmer. Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Strain figs from liquid and reserve glaze separately for brushing on protein after cooking.


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