Pork Medallions in Mustard-Cider Sauce with Sweet Potato-Walnut Mash

Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

The produce in the medicine cabinet

Sweet potatoes and winter squashes (butternut, pumpkin, etc.): These tasty and colorful veggies are also nutritional powerhouses, loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potasssium and fiber.

Beans: While legumes are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, they also contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Chile: Capsaicin (the heat source in chiles) is an antioxidant.

Citrus: Reach for citrus fruits to increase your vitamin C intake, which is important in helping your body fend off those pesky winter colds. Citrus fruits also contain antioxidant compounds that may protect against cancer.

Ginger: Many people use ginger to combat nausea.

Garlic: For thousands of years, garlic has proven able to fight off many types of bacteria.

Walnuts: A daily ounce of walnuts can reduce heart disease.

Spinach: Spinach and other dark, leafy greens are high in bone-fortifying calcium, folic acid (which may help protect against heart disease and birth defects) and vitamin K (necessary for proper blood clotting).

Tomatoes: Tomatoes, especially canned tomatoes, are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may boost the immune system and reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. They also contain alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, chromium and fiber.

Dinner is the best medicine

  • February 22, 2012 - 2:32 PM
Much like taxes, winter colds seem inevitable, even when the winter is as mild as ours has been this year. In my family, the stuffy heads and sniffles always seem to hit toward the end of the season. So when winter starts to wane, I stock up on tissues.

I could cut my risks, though. We now know that what we eat can dramatically affect how we feel. By incorporating certain foods into our diets (see below), we can not only minimize but possibly even prevent what ails us.

Finding delicious ways to incorporate this culinary "medicine" into our family's diets can be a challenge at times. This week's sweet and savory pork tenderloin dish offers multiple benefits: It's tasty and good for you, loaded with carotene-packed sweet potatoes and toasted walnuts.

And it's a one-pan meal, which is my favorite. After all, no matter how well I'm feeling, I always feel better when I'm not doing the dishes.

Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of "Everyday to Entertaining" and "The Big Book of Appetizers." Reach her at Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.

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