By M. Holland M.F.A.
Vegetables and fruits. It’s best to enjoy the widest variety possible of vegetables and fruits when eating the recommended daily 5-10 servings (usually a half-cup of a chopped fruit or vegetable, one cup of leafy greens or one whole hand-held fruit). Some of those daily servings of fruits and vegetables can fit into breakfast and snacks.
Some vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, definitely have more nutrients than others, such as iceberg lettuce. However, as a rule of thumb, you can rely on produce that is deeply colored or strongly scented, such as onions and garlic. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help ward off many health problems, from diabetes, cancer and heart disease to Alzheimer’s and macular degeneration.
Some great choices that contain plenty of fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals are:
• Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, all types of cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
• Berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, etc.)
• Leafy greens (spinach, collards, mustard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress)
• Tomatoes and processed tomato products (high in lycopene, a phytochemical)
• Carrots (high in beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A)
• Melons (canteloupe, honeydew, watermelon, etc.)
• Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut, etc.)
• Onions (garlic, scallions, leeks, shallots, chives)
• Seed fruits (apples, pomegranates, kiwis and pears)
• Stone fruits (mangos, peaches, nectarines, plums and prunes)
• Citrus (oranges, grapefruits, lime and lemon juice)
• Red grapes (contain the phytochemical resveratrol)
• Sweet potatoes
The list goes on, from artichokes and radishes to peppers and zucchini. Even lettuce – particularly darker Romaine and red leaf – has some beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals.
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