(Photos by Tara Fisher)
Mangos are inexpensive in season and abundantly available all year round at supermarkets. They are usually shipped and displayed under-ripe and benefit from a few days in a fruit bowl where the skins blushes to yellow/orange with soft, sweet flesh. For this salad you intentionally want a firm, green unripe mango straight from the shelf for that fresh crunch flavour and texture — this makes it a very convenient and immediate way to eat mangos. Combine with the classic Thai flavours of sweet, salty, savoury (Umami), spicy and sour and this creates an addictive taste explosion.
Mangos are a great fruit to incorporate into a healthy cardiovascular diet. Specifically they are a good source of soluble fibre with associated benefits on ‘cholesterol’ balance and the glycaemic profile of the contained sugars. The other ingredients in this salad aren’t bad either — at least 3 portions of fruit/veg per serving with the added boost (and texture) of crushed nuts, you have incorporated the majority of protective foods* into one meal. Another 2 portions of fruit/veg during the day and you have easily surpassed your 5-a-day.
We are going to start to re-emphasise the concept of cardiovascularly ‘protective foods’ based on recurrent clinical trial evidence of hard end-points (protection against future cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, stroke and dementia). These are the true ‘superfood’ groups and should form the basis of your dietary pattern:
- vegetables — particularly green leafy/nitrate containing veg (and garlic)
- whole fruits — particularly berries
- legumes (beans and lentils)
- oily fish
- wholegrain carbohydrates/dietary fibre
- olive oil as major cooking/dressing fat
You will see the obvious parallels to the Mediterranean diet. You will also see that if you include all the foods you have a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fats. We hope to bring you a full analysis soon which compares the evidence to the common pseudoscientific promotion of other ‘superfoods’.