At Splendido, an all-inclusive community in Tucson for those 55 and better, residents are learning the latest research findings on the importance of a healthy diet—and enjoying meals that incorporate those findings while still offering delicious tastes.
In addition to planning and preparing healthy meals for residents, Splendido’s executive chef Robert Kaslly is happy to share his knowledge of nutrition along with samples of his fine work—and does so in a series of cooking demos for residents. He is preparing a lecture on what are often referred to as “super foods”— fruits, vegetables, and legumes that have been proven to defend against certain cancers. Here are some highlights of these types of foods:
Leafy greens: Numerous studies indicate that dark leafy green vegetables, including spinach, kale, swiss chard, and romaine and leaf lettuce, can protect against specific cancers. The carotenoids found in these greens appear to slow the growth of cells of certain types of breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, and stomach cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables, which include broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower, have been shown to protect against cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Researchers are looking at how a compound found in broccoli may detoxify environmental pollutants in the body.
Orange fruits and vegetables: The beta-carotene found in carrots and other orange vegetables is not just good for your eyes—it fights cancer. And the antioxidant compounds in orange (and green) veggies can protect our cells from “free radicals” that can lead to cancer and other health problems.
“All of these ingredients are great for these hot days,” says Robert. “We try to cook these foods in a creative way so they are interesting and taste good. For instance, we’re using rainbow kale—it’s really colorful and pretty. We’ll sauté it with a little shallot, hit it with lemon juice and aged balsamic to take the edge off—it’s delicious, and good for you.”
Robert encourages people to incorporate healthy ingredients into their cooking in new ways. “There are plenty of people who say, ‘Oh, I don’t eat kale’—well, try it!” he says.