Powerhouse Vegetables & Fruits
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The "powerhouse" vegetables & fruits are those which are rich in vitamins A and C, betacarotene and fiber. Research shows that eating these powerhouse fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Antioxidants are compounds that defend our body against cell damage caused by various free radicals. Diets rich in vitamins C and beta-carotene are strong protectors against heart disease, cancer and almost all other diseases. Note that the antioxidants should be taken from the natural diet rather thain the form of supplements.
We all know that a healthy diet should include at least five fruit and vegetable servings to keep fit, but which fruits and which vegetables? We generally like to eat potatoes, corn, iceberg
lettuce, apples and bananas. Do these vegetables and fruits provide us rich nutrients needed to protect us from chronic diseases?
Susie Nanney, a dietitian and acting director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University says that we should eat dark green leafy vegetables, yellow/orange, citrus and cruciferous fruits and vegetables. She recommends the following:
- White: Eat cauliflower more often than potatoes, onions and mushrooms.
- Green colored: Eat dark colored romaine lettuces and red leaf lettuce, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts in place of iceberg lettuce and green beans.
- Yellow/orange colored: Eat carrots, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, oranges and grapefruit in place of corn or bananas.
- Red colored: Eat red tomatoes, red peppers and strawberries in place of apples.