Polenta is a dish prepared by stirring a mixture of water and cornmeal over a low heat. Considered for long a food of the poor kitchen, nowadays even science has been interested in its properties by studying its benefits thanks to the interesting characteristics of the cereal from which it is obtained, the corn. In fact, corn contains carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant, but also carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, whose quantity, however, is reduced as a consequence of the processing and cooking of corn (de Oliveira et al, J Food Sci, 2007). In addition to this, corn is also a source of tryptophan, a substance that can help in cases of anxiety and insomnia, and group B vitamins such as thiamine and niacin or vitamin PP. In addition to these substances, corn also contains iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and selenium, another powerful antioxidant (Gwirtz et al, Ann N Y Acad Sci, 2014). This cereal provides a low amount of proteins and therefore involves less the kidneys while it is completely gluten-free, for this reason also people who suffer from celiac disease may eat corn. Now let's see how to maximize the properties of a product derived from corn, polenta (Aufiero, the nutritional role of food) through cooking and food combinations. The only contraindication of the polenta is in case of diarrhea or chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases as it can act by irritating the mucosa of the digestive tract.
Polenta and tomato
For this dish prepare a tomato sauce and polenta separately. Then season slices of polenta, about 150 grams per person, with the sauce and serve. This is a combination that exploits the synergy of cooked tomato, a rich source of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer substance, also able to protect the cardiovascular system, with vitamin E and selenium from polenta, also these substances characterized by an antioxidant action (Mozos et al, Front Pharmacol, 2018 - Tinggi et al, Environ Health Prev Med., 2008).
Polenta and extra virgin olive oil
Polenta seasoned with extra virgin olive oil is a very simple, tasty and healthy dish. After preparing the polenta season it simply with extra virgin olive oil, and to give even more flavor you can add some grated Parmesan, a source of calcium and protein. This preparation, thanks to vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids provided by both oil and polenta, can be included in the diet of those with skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema (Mysliwiec et al, Arch Dermatol Res, 2017 - Jaffary et al, J Res Med Sci, 2015).
Prepare the polenta and let it cool down. Then, cut it into pieces and cooked in a pan with olive oil and a clove of garlic. This preparation is useful to stimulate the liver.