Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Onion Salad Recipe, Spotlight on Pork Tenderloin, Meat Safety, Rethinking Moderate Drinking and Trading the Chair for Fresh Air
Labor Day is the perfect occasion to think about how much time you spend sitting while you’re at work and how this can affect your health—new research shows that we should all be moving more! As you gather with family and friends, talk about ways you can encourage each other to be healthier. This week’s celebratory recipe features pork tenderloin, a very lean cut, and two of the healthiest veggies—a great break from traditional burgers and dogs.
Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Onion Salad
- Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Onion Salad
If you’re firing up the grill this weekend, this simple but colorful dish makes an impressive centerpiece. For a crowd, simply double or triple the recipe. In addition to the tomato and onion salad, make a tasty side dish by first grilling up seasonal vegetables—brush them with olive oil and cook for two minutes per side or until tender. Note: You can enjoy this pork dish any time of year by cooking it in a large cast-iron skillet on your stovetop.
- 2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly slivered lengthwise
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pork
- 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
Place the tomatoes and onions in a medium-sized bowl. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the garlic, vinegar, parsley, cumin, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and shake vigorously until emulsified. Pour over the tomato-onion mixture and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate while grilling the pork.
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat the pork with olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Grill the pork until nicely browned on the outside, turning as needed, and cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F—it will be slightly pink in the center. Let rest for three minutes, then slice crosswise on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Shingle on a platter.
Stir the tomato-onion salad once more, taste for seasoning, and then spoon it around the pork.
Yields 4 servings
Healthy Ingredient Spotlight
Perfectly Petite Pork
Pork tenderloin is a choice, lean, and elegant cut, with a shape similar to that of a filet mignon, but with a smaller circumference and length. With so little fat, it’s best quickly cooked over fairly high heat, which is why a hot grill is a great option. Since a tenderloin weighs only about a pound, estimate one for every two or three people.
To prep it, use a boning knife to remove any strips of silver skin. Olive oil enhances pork’s delicate taste. To infuse it with even more flavor, marinate it in the oil, some wine vinegar, and the herbs used in the tomato salad—or any favorites you have on hand—for an hour before cooking.
Healthy Kitchen Nugget
Meat Safety: Temperature is Everything
The directions concerning the internal temperature and resting time for the pork tenderloin come from important changes the USDA made in May 2020. It lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160ºF to 145ºF as measured with a food thermometer, and added in the three-minute rest time before carving or eating it. This translates to pork that is both safe and juicy.
Rest time is technically the amount of time a food remains at its final temperature after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During those three minutes, the food’s temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria. Adding this rest time enabled USDA internal temperature guidelines to be lowered from 160ºF, which tended to dry out the meat. To check for doneness, always place your food thermometer in the thickest part of a food. Start checking toward the end of the anticipated cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Always wash your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.
For Your Best Health
Rethinking Moderate Drinking
Long-standing consumption caps on alcoholic beverages have suggested one or less per day for women and two or less per day for men. But a new study of nearly 21,000 people published in the journalPLOS suggests that drinking at the high end of that safe range is linked to brain changes and cognitive decline from iron accumulation in the brain, which has itself been linked with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and is a potential mechanism for alcohol-related cognitive decline.
Dr. Anya Topiwala of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, along with colleagues, explored relationships between alcohol consumption and brain iron levels. Study participants, whose mean age was 55 and who represented both sexes nearly equally, reported their own alcohol consumption, and their brains were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Almost 7,000 participants also had their livers imaged using MRI technology to assess levels of systemic iron. All completed a series of simple tests to assess their cognitive and motor functions.
Although 2.7 percent of participants classified themselves as nondrinkers, average intake was around 18 units per week, which translates to about seven and a half cans of beer or six large glasses of wine. The research team found that alcohol consumption above seven units per week was associated with markers of higher iron in the basal ganglia, a group of brain regions associated with control of motor movements, procedural learning, eye movement, cognition, emotion, and more. Iron accumulation in some brain regions was associated with worse cognitive function.
Although drinking was self-reported and could be underestimated, this was considered the only feasible method to establish such a large cohort’s intake. Another limitation of the work is that MRI-derived measures are indirect representations of brain iron, and could conflate other brain changes observed with alcohol consumption with changes in iron levels. However, the findings certainly justify taking a careful look at how much you’re drinking on a weekly basis and considering whether cutting back should be part of your brain health strategy.
Trade the Chair for Fresh Air
New research done at Simon Fraser University in Canada and published in the journal JAMA Cardiology adds to what we know about the dangers of too much sitting. The international study surveyed more than 100,000 people in 21 countries over an average of 11 years and found that those who sat for six to eight hours a day had a 12–13 percent increased risk for early death and heart disease; for people who sat for more than eight hours daily, the increased risk went up to 20 percent. Those who sat the most and were the least active had the highest risk—up to 50 percent—while those who sat the most but were also the most active had a risk of about 17 percent.
“The overarching message here is to minimize how much you sit,” says study co-leader Scott Lear, PhD, professor and Pfizer/Heart & Stroke Foundation chair in cardiovascular prevention research at Simon Fraser.“If you must sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk.” Less sitting and more activity is a low-cost intervention that can have enormous benefits, he explains, adding that we all need to better assess our lifestyle and take health seriously. “Our study found that a combination of sitting and inactivity accounted for 8.8 percent of all deaths, which is close to the contribution of smoking. It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.”Get More Recipes In Your Inbox!