Sunday, May 6, 2018

Healthy Table: Cucumbers skins provide beneficial nutrients for eyes



Today’s recipe mashup takes creamed cucumbers and combines it with pasta for a perfect, chilled, springtime salad.
Although cucumbers are generally low in nutrients, their skins are a surprisingly good source of lutein, a beneficial phytonutrient that may keep our eyes healthy. So, don’t remove the peel in today’s recipe. Cucumbers are also low in calories, one cup sliced has just 14 calories.
Cucumbers grow in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from inch-long gherkins to oversized English or hothouse varieties that can measure two feet. Seedless cucumbers worked well in this pasta salad. Look for cucumbers that are very firm and rounded on the ends. The skin should be deep, rich green in color, not pale or yellow.
I used white fiber pasta by Barilla in today’s salad. Made with semolina wheat, durum wheat, whole durum wheat flour, and corn starch, a 2-ounce serving (about 1 cup cooked) has six grams of fiber. That’s three times more fiber than regular pasta. And, it looks and tastes like regular pasta.
According to Barilla, some of the fiber comes from the corn starch. While most starches we eat are digested and absorbed in the small intestine, some escape or resist digestion and move to the large intestine where they function like dietary fiber. This type of starch is called resistant starch and is found in legumes, whole grains, seeds, under-ripe bananas, and the type of corn starch used in white fiber pasta.
Research suggests that resistant starches may help with weight control, better blood sugar control for people with, or at risk for type 2 diabetes, and promotion of a healthy gut. One thing I’ve noticed with this type of pasta is it maintains its texture. Even after a day in the refrigerator, the pasta in today’s salad held its shape and did not get mushy.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular
Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.

Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad

Serves: 8 / Prep time: 20 minutes  / Total time: 30 minutes (plus chilling time)
8 ounces whole-grain penne pasta
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
⅓ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
 2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill weed
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups sliced and halved seedless cucumbers
 ⅓ cup diced red onion
In a large saucepan of unsalted boiling water, cook pasta according to package
directions. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water; drain well and transfer to a
large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, dill
weed, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add cucumber and onion to pasta. Pour dressing
over pasta mixture, stirring gently to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving,
allowing flavors to blend.
Created by  Ashley Allmond, Henry Ford Hospital
Dietetic Intern, for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
169 calories (27% from fat), 5 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 26 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 137 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol, 37 mg calcium, 3 gram fiber. Food exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat. 1 ½ starch.