Blue Zones projects: Garlic, Chickpea and Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
SAN DIEGO – Looking for new ways to be healthy and remain healthy? The Blue Zones and its Blue Zones projects might just offer useful clues to to staying healthy throughout the COVID pandemic.
Blue Zones, Blue Zones projects and healthy eating
Based on extensive longevity-related research conducted world-wide and focused on discovering a relationship to nutrition and longevity, Blue Zones determined that a diet consisting of 95-100 percent plant-based foods correlated with extending life expectancy from 78.2 years to as great as 100 years.
Though additional factors can also be involved — such as smoking cessation, lower sugar consumption, close personal ties, daily activities promulgating movement and more — diet does play a major role in over all human health.
One recipe that easily fits in with any of the Blue Zones projects guidelines: Garlic Chickpea & Broccoli Sweet Potatoes. It’s simple recipe that’s quick to prepare. You could serve this dish either as a side dish or as a main dinner attraction.
In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered the sweet potato
The sweet potato is not only delightfully colorful and attractive to the eye. It’s also ever-so healthy for the human body.
Sweet potatoes were found by Columbus in 1492, though they’d been available in Peru approximately dating from 750 B.C.
WebMD states that each sweet potato provides 400% of Vitamin A daily requirement along with Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine and zinc. That’s quite impressive. Moreover, sweet potatoes also offer rich natural compounds, carotenoids, which protect human cells with antioxidant power.
Beautiful green broccoli pairs nicely with sweet potatoes. Even better, broccoli is widely considered a disease preventing superfood. That’s due to its variety of available vitamins, minerals and other beneficial substances (calcium, phosphorous, potassium, Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, Vitamin E, Vitamin K). Better yet, experts also acknowledge as a major inflammation fighting food source.
According to medicalnewstoday, many believe that broccoli plays an important role in a cancer prevention. Some regard broccoli as “green chemoprevention.”
Packed with electrolytes and vitamins, scientists consider chickpeas as an excellent source of protein. That tends to dispel many mythos contending that only meat, poultry, fish and dairy serve as viable protein sources.
Thank a Babylonian for garlic
As one of the key ingredients, garlic has been used for its medicinal properties since the times of the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese, as mentioned in Healthline.
Known for its sulfuric compounds, many believe that immune boosting garlic supplements can reduce the average length of a cold or flu by approximately 61% or greater.
The winning properties of sweet potatoes, broccoli and garlic combine to make an attractive and healthful dish, which may also be helpful in preventing diseases and viral afflictions, which are prevalent in the Garlic Chickpea and Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potato recipe:
Garlic Chickpea and Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potato
2 cloves of garlic
1 head of fresh broccoli
3 small sweet potatoes
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) with no salt added
2 tsps olive oil
Salt and pepper (if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Peel garlic and finely chop.
- Wash the broccoli and cut the florets off of the stem.
- With clear water wash the sweet potato.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the canned beans.
Top with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and mix all the ingredients together, (optionally you may omit the oil)
In another pan add the broccoli, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and the chopped garlic.
Combine the ingredients and set aside. You will place the broccoli in the oven at the 20 minute mark.
Bake the chickpeas in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 20 minutes place the broccoli in the oven and bake until roasted.
The chickpeas will be somewhat crispy.
Give the pan a shake to evenly cook.
Piece the sweet potato with a fork and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, be sure to turn the sweet potato ½ way through while cooking.
To serve, slice sweet potato open and mash with a fork..
Stuff with roasted broccoli and chickpeas.
Optionally you can add salt and pepper..
As we continue wearing our masks, social distancing and applying hand sanitizers, this is a perfect time to take stock of our health and explore tasty new options!
Making a new recipe can be a springboard for bringing household family members together for some heartwarming fun!
What a great way also to turn any restrictions caused by COVID lockdowns. These include the fear of contracting it. Yet adjusting our diets enables us to take proactive steps that help our bodies remain healthy. And perhaps become a little stronger in the process.
The Blue Zones projects and Blue Zones research efforts point to the possibility that more individuals can reach an advanced age by paying more attention to what they eat. Further, they can take positive steps that may lead to greater health for themselves and their families as well.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
(Main image:Thanks to Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis @louishansel for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/geYw6L4-WU8 )