Health info

why is this meal good for me?

Forget lettuce, cucumber and tomato, give your salads an injection of flavour and nutritional potency by trying out this nitrate-rich rainbow medley. The colours, textures and flavour combine together making every bite as satisfying as the first. Roasting the pumpkin seeds and kale tops off this bountiful salad with a nourishing crunch. Don't waste your time with boring lettuce based salads, no wonder lots of kids grow up not liking them when this is what they're taught is a salad. 

 

The rocket and beetroot in this meal do more than just add some earthy, peppery vibes, they actively help your blood vessels. The nitrate in them relaxes your vessels, lowering blood pressure and improving the efficiency of the oxygen in your blood (1-4). This has implications for lowering stroke risk by 23% (5) due to a 5 point drop in blood pressure (6), and among you runners out there, it can shave 5% off your 5k time (7).

 

By munching this type of meal we're also taking responsibility for our own health and helping ourselves to prevent lifestyle-driven diseases such a type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This means we’re doing our bit for the NHS. Rather than eating our way into the hospital and leaving the nurses to pick up the pieces, we’re giving ourselves the best chance we can at a healthy life, potentially avoiding the long term savage implications of cardiovascular disease which displays itself as heart attacks and strokes. What's more, eating a plant-based meal is a bonus for the planet. Reducing daily meat consumption to less than 50g per day would result in a 39% reduction in our carbon footprint (8). So if this 

 

There's not much to dislike about this salad in terms of what it does for your health, the planet and the NHS. If there are ingredients in it you're not a fan of sub it out for something you love. Make it yours, just making sure you get some beetroot and rocket in there. What would your plant-powered salad end up looking like?

 
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Recipe

how do i cook it?

Serves: 4              Time: 15 minutes                  Difficulty: Easy             Keeps: 2 days

Munch
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped kale

  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

  • 2 cups of rocket (arugula)

  • 1 cup (tin) of lentils 

  • 1 cup edamame beans (cooked)

  • 3 grated beetroots

  • 1 grated carrot

  • half a cup of sweetcorn

 

Method 
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

  2. Roughly chop the kale and pumpkin seeds, whack them onto a baking tray with some oil.

  3. Mix them up and pop them in the oven for 7 minutes

  4. Combine the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly

  5. Serve onto a plate and top with the roasted kale and pumpkin seeds

  6. Add your dressing of choice

 

Evidence

where is the science from?

​1] Kapil V., Khambata R.S., Robertson A., Caulfield M.J., Ahluwalia A. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: A randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension. 2015;65:320–327. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04675.
2] Berry M.J., Justus N.W., Hauser J.I., Case A.H., Helms C.C., Basu S., Miller G.D. Dietary nitrate supplementation improves exercise performance and decreases blood pressure in COPD patients. Nitric Oxide. 2015;48:22–30. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2014.10.007. 
3] Ashworth A., Mitchell K., Blackwell J.R., Vanhatalo A., Jones A.M. High-nitrate vegetable diet increases plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations and reduces blood pressure in healthy women. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18:2669–2678. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015000038.
4] V Kapil, R S Khambata, A Robertson, M J Caulfield, A Ahluwalia. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension. 2015 Feb;65(2):320-7.
5] National Audit Office (2010) Progress in improving stroke care. http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ 0910291.pdf (accessed July 2020).
6] Siervo M, Lara J, Ogbonmwan I et al. (2013) Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr 143, 818–826. 
7] Murphy M, Eliot K, Heuertz RM, Weiss E. Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(4):548-552. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2011.12.002
8] Scarborough P, Allender S, Clarke D et al. Modelling the health impact of environmentally sustainable dietary scenarios in the UK. Eur J Clin Nutr.. 2012;66(6):710-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3389618/

 
Image by Mike Dorner