Late summer and early fall provides us with an abundance of delicious choices of fruits and veggies. In addition to great taste, fruits and vegetables deliver a vast array of nutrients.
The USDA’s “MyPlate” program recommends that fruits and vegetables comprise one-half of each plate at mealtime. The experts at Harvard Medical School state that while 50 percent of each meal should consist of fruits and vegetables, vegetables should be consumed in larger amounts than fruits.
People once believed that calcium from plants was not as valuable as calcium obtained from other sources, but current research suggests otherwise. Researchers have also determined that plant-based calcium is retained by the body better than other types of calcium. Fruits and vegetables are also great sources of potassium and magnesium — minerals which are critical components of many bodily processes.
Every fruit and vegetable contains phytochemicals, the pigments in plants that give them their distinctive colors and promote health. Usually, the darkest, most intensely colored vegetables are the richest sources of phytochemicals. There are thousands of kinds of phytochemicals, which is the reason why consuming a wide array of vegetables and fruits is necessary for optimal health.
Fruits and vegetables in each color group generally contain similar phytochemicals. There are five main color groups of fruits and vegetables: red, yellow-orange, white, green, and blue-purple.
Cancer, stroke, and circulatory system illnesses are the major killers among residents of industrialized countries. Phytochemicals offer some of the best protection available against these killers.
Include vegetable and fruits of each color group in your diet. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
Red Tomatoes and Watermelon For Lycopene
You may have heard that tomatoes, especially cooked, are a great source of lycopene. Sweet, juicy watermelon is a terrific source of this valuable nutrient, too, as are all red fruits and veggies. In addition to lycopene, most red fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. The phytochemicals in red produce are of particular value for the health of the urinary system. They also enhance memory, promote heart health and prevent cancer.
Corn, Squash and Apricots For Protein
Yellow corn, yellow squash, and orange apricots are abundant at this time of year. Corn contains protein. Even the silk is useful. When made into a tea, corn silk provides rapid relief of discomfort caused by urinary tract infections.
In addition to eating the flesh of squash, try drying and consuming the protein-rich seeds of winter squash. Both summer and fall squash are rich in nutrients.
Apricots contain healing compounds which are commonly depleted during times of stress. Traditional medical practitioners hold that apricots are calming.
Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C, bioflavonoids and carotenoids. They prevent cancer, aid detoxification, improve eye health and boost immunity.
Onions, Turnips, Cauliflower and Potatoes
Many white vegetables store well. These humble vegetables are rich sources of immune-supporting phytochemicals. White vegetables retard bacterial growth and lower cholesterol.
Green Fruits and Vegetables are Rich Sources of Antioxidants
Green vegetables are the most numerous. This wide array of plants offers a multitude of health benefits. Lutein, an eye-protective phytochemical, is found in many green veggies. Antioxidant-rich, green vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. They enhance dental and skeletal health.
While most green vegetables are low in fat, avocadoes contain large amounts of healthy monosaturated fats. In small amounts, avocadoes enhance heart health and improve the appearance of the skin.
Most cruciferous vegetables, members of the cabbage family, are green. Cruciferous vegetables are exceptionally high in phytonutrients which protect against cancer and other health concerns. Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of Vitamins A, C and E. They contain fiber, minerals and protein. If you have a hypoactive thyroid, consume cruciferous vegetables cooked, as they contain compounds which suppress thyroid function if eaten raw.
Blue-Purple Grapes, Beets and Plums
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables enhance urinary tract health and memory. They promote longevity and prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds from forming. Antioxidant-rich, blue and purple fruits and vegetables protect against cancer. Beets are exceptionally rich sources of Vitamin A, which benefits vision, immune and digestive health.
Enjoy some old favorites and give some varieties which are new to you a try. They are delicious and will improve your health.
What vegetables do you eat for health? Share your tips in the section below: