This fun mixture of flavors makes for a colorful salad: beautiful blueberries with fresh green lettuce, pure white cheese and bright orange grilled chicken.
The ingredients in this salad bring many tools for combating iron overload to the table: namely calcium and polyphenols. Also significant is what this recipe does not include: it is naturally low in iron enhancers such as vitamin C or carotenoids, and uses lower-iron ingredients such as chicken and butterhead lettuce (as compared to higher iron options for protein and salad greens).
This recipe comes from my book, Cooking for Hemochromatosis, and is an example of the many creative ways to still enjoy cooking and eating delicious food when you have iron overload.
When trying to eat a low-iron diet, animal meat is sometimes one of the first food groups to go. However, chicken tends to not be as high in iron as you might suspect, and meals made with chicken often make excellent options for lower-iron eating.
Calcium-rich dairy products like feta or blue cheese provide excellent blocking of both heme and non-heme iron from this entrée salad.
Turmeric, curry powder, blueberries and pecans are all very rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are health-promoting antioxidant nutrients that prevent iron from being absorbed from a meal. This recipe includes polyphenolic-rich foods in multiple places to boost their overall effects!
Many salad dressings include acidic-ingredients such as vinegar, citrus juice, or soy-sauce, all of which can enhance iron absorption and are contraindicated in low-iron recipes. This recipe utilizes the natural flavors in the ingredients with a simple olive oil coating to maintain the flavor without accentuating iron absorption from the salad ingredients.
Dr. Kristina Lewis is a naturopathic physician in practice with her husband, Dr. Eric Lewis, in Asheville, North Carolina. When her husband discovered he had hereditary hemochromatosis, she became very involved in researching, writing, and teaching about this condition both as a health-care practitioner and as a concerned wife. As someone who naturally loves to cook and who finds inventing tasty and healthy recipes a fun challenge, Dr. Kristina decided to take on the challenge of creating a cookbook for hemochromatosis from a holistic perspective. She is the author of Cooking For Hemochromatosis, a comprehensive guidebook to lowering iron in the diet.