Healthy Travel Find: Green Mango Salad
Healthy Travel Find: Cambodia’s Green Mango Salad – all about the health benefits and why you need to try it now!
Cambodian food is such a great balance of flavors, sweet and salty mingle with spicy and flirt with sour. Green mango salad is no different. Although recipes vary (see the many different versions below) there are several common denominators which make the dish not only unbelievably delicious, but also make it super healthy. Lets breakdown some of the most common ingredients, shall we?
Dried Shrimp- Sun dried and shrunken, these briny, fishy little morsels are a great flavor enhancer and boost the umami flavor of a dish (just like MSG but without all the nastiness!). They are high in sodium but contain protein, calcium and iron.
Lime Juice- Hello, Vitamin C! The vitamin C in lime is not only a powerful antioxidant, it also has shown antibiotic tendencies and boosts the immune system. Not to mention, lemons and limes are awesome flavor enhancers and can often be used instead of salt to bring out flavors in a dish.
Palm Sugar- Made from the sap of the flower of the sugar palm date. The sap is reduced until it is very thick. Like other sugars, it is high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients but it is an important part of balancing the flavors in this dish. Try to use in moderation.
Fish Sauce- Made with small fish (generally anchovies), salt, sun and time. This sauce is high in sodium, but used sparingly can greatly enhance the flavor of a dish. There is a great article on how it is made HERE.
Garlic & Shallots- Garlic and shallots are rich in antioxidants and organosulfur compounds which provide them with their flavor, aroma and health benefits. The organosulfur compounds are inactivated when cooked, so garlic and shallots are best raw (like in Green Mango Salad). They inhibit inflammation which helps lower the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and may protect against gastric and colorectal cancer. (Read more about garlic HERE)
Carrots– Chock full of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, carrots may protect from skim, lung and oral cavity cancers. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant while vitamin A is important for eye health, growth and healthy skin as well.
Basil– Native to Asia, this herb adds a unique, peppery, refreshing flavor. Basil is loaded with flavonoids which protect against damage by free radicals. It also contains beta-carotene and vitamin A. The essential oils in Basil, besides adding amazing flavor, have anti-bacterial properties and inhibit bacterial growth.
Green Mangoes– Green, unripe mangoes are actually higher in vitamin C than ripe mangoes. Vitamin C is a powerful immune booster. They are also a source of B vitamins and in India have been used to treat gastrointestinal and blood disorders, heat stroke and even jaundice. They also contain enzymes that act as a meat tenderizer.
Ready to get all the health benefits green mango salad has to offer? Here are some recipes to try your hand at delicious and nutritious Cambodian style Green Mango Salad: