I’m sure we all got a little bit sick of hearing this mantra from Mum and Dad when we were younger, but now we have hopped onto the green train with our own children. ‘But why?’ I hear your children ask. Can they really make a difference to your health?
Recent research from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in Australia has found that several types of Asian vegetables contain folate levels equal to or greater than spinach, making them one of the richest sources of folate you can find.
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential to many of our body’s functions. These include synthesising and repairing DNA, helping with cell division and growth, producing healthy red blood cells and preventing anaemia. It is important that women who are pregnant or planning to conceive consume enough folate to prevent neural tube defects in the developing embryo.
The best dietary sources of folate include:
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, salad greens and now several Asian greens
- lentils and pulses
- egg yolks
- fortified breakfast cereals (many these days are fortified)
This new research compared ten Asian vegetables to spinach and found that:
- Mizuna, tatsoi, choy sum, kang kong and snake beans contain more or similar folate levels to spinach and are considered excellent sources of folate
- Buk choy, gai lan and wombok are all considered rich sources of folate
To help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, depression and dementia, try to up your folate intake by introducing some of these green leafy vegetables into your diet. These are all readily available in Singapore.
If you’re short on inspiration, here is a recipe I tried last night that I adapted from a Donna Hay recipe. This bowl full of goodness is not only low in calories but is high in folate, vitamins C and K, manganese and potassium, is a good source of monounsaturated fat and is extremely high in taste!!! Why not try a new Asian green today.
Chilli Pork, Peanut and Asian Greens Stir-fry
- 200g thick flat rice noodles
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 x 500g pork fillet, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 200g green beans, sliced
- 1 bunch choy sum, sliced
- 3 cups chopped wombok (Chinese cabbage)
- 1 cup coriander leaves
Fresh chilli sauce
- 1 long red chilli, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
To make the chilli sauce, place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1-2 minutes or until well combined
Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Drain and run under cold water until cold. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok over high heat. Add the peanuts and cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the pork and cook for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Add the beans, choy sum and wombok and cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the noodles and chilli sauce and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander to serve.