You’ll love the smell of garlic and rosemary as this delicious dish roasts in your oven. And when you choose sweet potatoes and mix these with ordinary potatoes you’ll be delivering yourself a dose of heart health goodness, especially if you love roast tomatoes.
As many of you know who have followed my newsletter for a while, the positioning of our menopause transition in women’s heart health and ageing research is, to me, an important one. Despite the dominant narrative about solving many of our symptoms with hormone medications specifically targeting menopause, this still doesn’t replace the challenge that many women face every day and that is, ‘what do I eat that fits in with the family and which helps my symptoms?‘
Yes, I had that question too. As my studies on our menopause symptoms lead me towards a different narrative which focuses on our future health as we age, I became interested in the Mediterranean Diet as well as the Okinawan Longevity Studies and how, these traditional diets are known to improve women’s heart health. Afterall, this is still the number one health risk that women face as they move through menopause and into post-menopause.
The traditional Okinawan diet is anchored by root vegetables (principally sweet potatoes), green and yellow vegetables, soybean-based foods, and medicinal plants. Marine foods, lean meats, fruit, medicinal garnishes such as rosemary, and spices, tea, alcohol are also moderately consumed. (Willcox et al., 2014).
Many characteristics of the traditional Okinawan diet are also shared with other healthy-ageing dietary patterns, including the traditional Mediterranean diet and the heart-health diet known as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
All of these dietary approaches are associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, along with other age-associated diseases. An important consideration for women who already have health changes as they move through their menopause transition and into post-menopause.
Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and rosemary all share a place in heart health nutrition. Experts often recommend sweet potatoes for their high-amounts of beta-carotene, (cooked) tomatoes for their high amounts of lycopene and roast garlic for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Toss some fresh or dried rosemary over the top of the vegetables and you will be adding to the medicinal aspects of this dish. I’ve talked about rosemary before because not only does it grow outside my kitchen window, but it is found throughout the Mediterranean. Rosemary is known to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective (nerve) properties. Furthermore, research suggests that it shows important clinical effects on mood, learning, memory, pain, anxiety, and sleep. (Rahbardar & Hosseinzadeh, 2020).
If some of those symptoms are troubling you during your menopause transition, then how about you make this delicious MyMT™ dish? It gets made in my house nearly every week.
The MyMT™ KITCHEN: Lemony roast potatoes and/or sweet potatoes with tomatoes and garlic
- Enough potatoes or sweet potatoes to feed your family
- 5-6 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 6 garlic gloves, peeled and cut in half
- Large handful of coriander, parsley or dill
- Salt & pepper
- Few sprigs of fresh rosemary or a sprinkle of dried rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
If using potatoes, cook them in their skins in boiling water for about 10 minutes, then drain. Cut them into slices and place into a wide baking dish. If you are using sweet potato, skip this step as they don’t take as long to cook.
Mix the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes. Add the garlic to the dish.
Roast for 10 minutes – turn them and add the tomatoes. Roast for another 15 – 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with herbs.
Ghasemzadeh Rahbardar M, Hosseinzadeh H. (2020). Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders. Iran J Basic Med Sci 23:1100-1112.
Willcox DC, Scapagnini G, Willcox BJ. (2014). Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: a focus on the Okinawan diet. Mech Ageing Dev. Mar-Apr;136-137:148-62. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2014.01.002.