This Healthy Duck Recipe Is Perfect for Any Occasion
Duck breast is a good source of protein, as well as minerals such as iron, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. You can also find B vitamins such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12).2,3 Apart from these nutrients, what makes duck special is its ability to be safely cooked to a lower temperature, unlike other types of poultry, because it doesn’t carry salmonella.
Duck meat is lean too. Most of the time, duck is considered “fatty” or “greasy” because of the layer of fat underneath the skin. However, you can remove or cook most of the fat out before serving. Slice through the skin before cooking to allow the fat to drain as the meat cooks. Meanwhile, if you’re roasting whole duck, you may pierce the skin with a fork before cooking — this is another method to drain out the fat without soaking the meat and skin.4
Whole ducks are available fresh on a limited basis from late spring through late winter. However, 90 percent of duck sold nowadays is frozen. Some duck breasts are also available in specialty food markets, and may be fresh.5 When buying duck, purchase from a source that you trust, such as a supermarket that sells GMO-free and humanely raised duck, a local butcher or a farmers market or shop. BBC Good Food advises that you choose duck meat with clear and soft skin without bruising, blemishing or tears.
Duck must be stored inside the refrigerator as soon as you get home. Take off wrappings and wipe the duck all over (and inside the cavities) with kitchen paper. Place the duck on a tray or plate that's wide and deep enough to contain blood or juice that might seep out. Afterward, cover the duck loosely with foil. Ensure that the duck doesn't touch any food in the refrigerator that's meant to be eaten raw, or meat that's already cooked. Whole birds and pieces of duck may keep for up to two days.
Before cooking and roasting duck, make sure it’s at room temperature first. Take the bird out of the refrigerator before cooking: at least 30 minutes for a cut of duck, or at least an hour for a whole duck. Keep the duck covered and in a cool place.6
Why Coconut Oil Is Crucial in This Recipe
Compared to other vegetable oils and types of fat, coconut oil is and remains to be a top choice in cooking foods because of the health benefits it can provide. To begin with, coconut oil has good amounts of saturated fat in it, particularly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), such as C6, C8, C10 and C12 fats.
These fats are metabolized differently by the body because they don’t require bile or pancreatic enzymes in order to be digested. Instead, when MCTs reach your intestine, they start to diffuse through the intestinal membrane into your bloodstream and are then transported to the liver, which is responsible for naturally converting MCTs into ketones. The liver releases the ketones back into the bloodstream, where they’re transported throughout the body.
Unfortunately, saturated fats like MCTs have been vilified because of their supposed links to rising numbers of coronary heart disease. However, research has shown that coconut oil and healthy fats like MCTs may contribute to:
- Increasing good HDL cholesterol levels
- Helping convert bad LDL cholesterol into good cholesterol
- Improving heart health and lowering risk for heart disease caused by increased LDL cholesterol levels7
MCTs may also be readily available and used as an energy source, instead of being stored as fat. These fats can even provide your brain with much-needed energy by passing through the blood-brain barrier.
Coconut oil may also be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and even Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients. Patients with these conditions have neurons that slowly die off because they have become insulin resistant or have lost the ability to efficiently use glucose. Introducing ketones in your diet, such as from coconut oil, may help these neurons to survive and thrive.
Liven Up This Dish With Cos (More Known as Romaine Lettuce)
Did you know that cos is actually another name for Romaine lettuce? The name was derived from the Greek island of the same name where it was believed to have originated.8 Cos is valued for its potential to improve heart health, thanks to these nutrients:
- Vitamin B9 or folic acid: Assists with converting a damaging chemical called homocysteine into other benign substances
- Vitamin C and beta-carotene: Helps with preventing cholesterol oxidation
- Dietary fiber: Combines with bile salts in the colon and eliminates these from the body
- Potassium: Aids with lowering blood pressure levels and heart disease risk
Romaine lettuce may also:
Provide antioxidant properties: The combination of vitamin A and a carotenoid called beta-carotene may help maintain healthy mucosa, skin and proper vision. On the other hand, vitamin C can help the body defend itself against harmful free radicals.9
Improve bone metabolism: Vitamin K in Romaine lettuce can assist with promotion of osteoblastic activity in the bone cells and increasing bone mass.
Boost eye health: Apart from vitamin A and beta-carotene, another carotenoid called zeaxanthin may be useful for your eyes, since it’s selectively absorbed into the retinal macula latea.
As a result, it can provide antioxidants and filter retina-damaging UV rays.
|Protect the body against diseases: Romaine lettuce has potential in protecting the body against age-related macular diseases (ARMD), especially among older adults.
This vegetable can also help lower your risk for osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.
Prevent neural tube defects in babies: Folate-rich vegetables like Romaine lettuce are highly recommended for pregnant women because of this benefit.
Play a vital role in DNA synthesis: Folate in Romaine lettuce has a dual purpose. It’s one of numerous co-factors needed in enzyme metabolism for DNA synthesis.
Although lettuce may provide health benefits, this vegetable has fewer nutrients compared to other leafy greens. Avoid relying solely on lettuce as a main nutrient source. Instead, mix it up with other vegetables such as microgreens or sprouts that can improve your nutrition and deliver other flavors to a meal. For this recipe, consider substituting lettuce with another healthy leafy green.