Nutrition highlights – Steak, Wilted Spinach, Baked Garlic Mushroom & Sweet Potato Fries
So as many of the Bottle Bazaar Wine Tasting Club members will know – wine expert India Marshall-Roads has asked me to give some nutrition information on the meals that are designed to be enjoyed with specific wines… This week’s meal is a fillet steak with wilted spinach, garlic mushrooms with thyme and sweet potato fries.
What nutrients does this meal give you…?
This red meat gives you a large helping of protein and Vitamin B12; in fact this size steak (170g supermarket fillet steak) is sufficient for more than 1 of your 3 protein serves a day. Vitamin B12 is essential for the nervous system and low B12 status is associated with cognitive decline. Red meat (and fish) – are both excellent sources of B12, and so vegetarians – will need to find alternative sources. People on certain medications long-term – like those on Metformin, Lansoprazole or Omeprazole may need to have their B12 levels monitored by their GP. This pretty generous sized steak will give you about 4mg of iron – women need 3 times that much and men need about twice that much iron, every day; although in pregnancy needs will be higher. The steak is also an excellent source of Vitamin B6 which is needed to make serotonin, the feel good hormone, amongst other neurotransmitters. This portion of steak will give you about 10mg of your daily requirement of Vitamin B3 (aka Niacin) which is important for digestion – it actually helps to break down your meal. Finally, the steak will give you roughly your daily requirement of Zinc – this has many roles in the body including immune health, taste perception and wound healing.
Whilst spinach is also a source of iron, its pretty poorly absorbed, so don’t rely on spinach as an iron source. What is useful for, however is Vitamin A. You may have seen skin creams containing Vitamin A… Well that’s probably because Vitamin A is needed to renew your skin – and intestinal – cells. Vitamin K is also found in abundance in spinach. It’s crucial for blood clotting like I mentioned in the asparagus meal, however spinach is the winner in this race because it contains about TEN TIMES the Vitamin K found in asparagus. Spinach even contains protective steroids which have been shown to help keep blood sugar levels stable. I could do an entire page on spinach alone but safe to say this food helps to protect heart, eye, brain and bone health and should definitely be considered amongst the healthiest foods around.
Mushrooms are a good source of Copper and Vitamin B5. Copper is used to make the collagen in your skin, bones and cartilage. Plus its needed to make haemoglobin. If you don’t eat enough of this mineral found in kale, potatoes and liver (& oysters…) then you may experience muscle soreness. If you take too many iron supplements you may deplete your copper levels. Anyone with significant digestive absorption issues such as Crohn’s Disease needs to ensure they eat enough copper containing foods. Vitamin B5 has many roles including that its a linchpin in the nervous system. Luckily its relatively easily found in meat and plant foods.
In addition to being a source of Vitamin B6 mentioned above, sweet potatoes contain manganese which help support bone health by balancing some other bone health nutrients – calcium and phosphorous. Manganese is often found in wholegrains and so deficiency is rare. Sweet potatoes – along with the spinach contain a reasonable amount of fibre – so long as you eat the skin! Whilst we can’t absorb anything from the fibre it acts to sweep unwanted items from the gut such as waste, cholesterol, fat and toxins and it helps us to feel full.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the nutritional benefits of this meal. My clients tend to say that they enjoy their food more once they know why they’re eating it 🙂 Again this would be a lot to digest before bed so consider eating it at lunchtime – we are mammals and our digestion is thought to be more potent earlier in the day.
Lastly, it goes without saying that alcohol should be consumed within moderation, and the NHS has set limits (not targets!) on the maximum number of weekly units that should be consumed (14). More info on measuring units here…
Do join me next week to understand more of the nutritional benefits of Roasted Moroccan aubergines with walnuts, pomegranate and tahini with Tandoori chicken meal to accompany the rose wine. Also – if you missed last week’s meal reviews – you can find them here. July Week 1 option a) Nutrition Highlights of Grapefruit, Avocado & Cucumber Salad, Potato Salad with Pork Schnitzel. Option b) was Nutrition Highlights of Lemon Tarragon Salmon over Asparagus with New Potatoes.
Until then – Bon Appetit!