Mom Was Right — Eat Your Broccoli for Strong Bones
Bone Health. It’s on the mind of most every woman over the age of 50, with good reason. Our bones loose mass after menopause. According to an article published by Prevention Magazine in Dec. 2011, women’s bone mass reaches its peak at the age of 30. After that it begins to deteriorate. Within 7 years after menopause we’ve likely lost up to 20% of our bone mass, which may result in Osteoporosis. The article also states that the risk of an Osteoporosis related fracture after the age of 50 increases by 50%. So what can we do about it?
First, let’s be sure that we, our daughters, and our granddaughters are thinking about it before that magic number 50. And second, let’s be sure that not only are we thinking about it, but that we’re doing something about it, like eating right, before Osteoporosis becomes a problem.
Calcium. I know, I know. My mom was right when she told me to drink my milk. It’s all about the calcium. But calcium is a sneaky little bugger. There are lots of ways to get calcium into our diets, and lots of specifics about what to eat with it and what not to eat with it (reference Prevention.com for more info), but since I’m a really big fan of the KISS way of doing things, I’m going to share one of my absolute favorite dinners that just happens to be high in calcium and is really easy to make. It’s not something I’d eat every night, but it’s a good source of calcium and waaaay delicious. It’s Broccoli Fettuccini Alfredo, sort of.
I found the original recipe on a package of Golden Grain Fettuccine many, many years ago. Since then I’ve changed it up a little; I substitute coconut milk for the half & half because coconut milk is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium & phosphorus (important to bone strength as well), and iron. It also adds a nutty flavor and is a great alternative to cow’s milk. I toss in some steamed broccoli, because broccoli is also a great source of calcium. I’ll substitute spinach fettuccine if I’m feeling a little crazy because it adds a nice texture without an overwhelming spinach flavor, and if I’m feeling really crazy, I tweak the pepper and nutmeg a little. I’m a vegetarian but I’m thinking you could probably add some chicken, too.
Broccoli Fettuccini Alfredo
1 pkg. (10) oz. Golden Grain Fettuccine
½ c butter or margarine (I always use butter – if it was good enough for my Grandma then it’s good enough for me)
¾ c coconut milk (original recipe calls for half & half)
1/8 t pepper
¾ c grated parmesan cheese
3 c broccoli crowns (my addition)
Cook pasta as directed on package, drain. Steam broccoli. Melt butter and stir in coconut milk, pepper, and nutmeg (I use a cast iron skillet). On warm platter (again, I use my skillet), toss cooked fettuccine, butter sauce, steamed broccoli, and parmesan cheese. Makes approx. 6 (1 ½ cup) servings.