Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants that help protect the plant and also provide health benefits when we eat these foods. Specific phytochemicals are often associated with different colors of fruit and vegetables, such as lycopene in red tomatoes or carotenoids in orange carrots. Some phytochemicals act as antioxidants, protecting our body's cells against oxidative damage that can increase the risk of cancer. We often think that only brightly colored fruit and vegetables, such as purple eggplant, green broccoli, or yellow squash are high in phytochemicals, but white colored foods are also important sources of nutrients. Include some of these nine examples of white foods in your meals this week.
Apples and pears may be red or green on the outside, but their inside flesh is white. A 2011 study from the Netherlands showed that a higher intake of apples is associated with a lower risk of stroke. Add slices of apple or pear to a green salad, or feature them in a fruit salad.
Many people eat bananas for their high potassium content, but bananas are also a good source of vitamins B6 and C, plus manganese. Top your
White-colored root vegetables such as parsnips, rutabagas and turnips are high in fiber and digest slowly, helping control both blood sugar levels and appetite. Drizzle chunks of these raw root vegetable with olive oil and roast in a hot oven to bring out their sweet taste.
Cauliflower is an excellent source of phytochemicals that help prevent a variety of types of cancer. Enjoy it raw in salads, steamed, or roasted. Onions and garlic contain the phytochemical allyl disulphide that has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It also helps protect against several types of cancer. Add onions and garlic to your favorite recipes, or add both to your pan of roasted vegetables for deep, rich taste.
Lynn Grieger, RD, CDE, cPT is a health, food and fitness coach in Manchester and at www.LynnGrieger.com Jicama is another of her favorite white vegetables.