Fruits and vegetables are not created equal. Just like with anything else, some pack a healthier punch than others. The ones that do are not mysterious, exotic or inaccessible. They’re sitting right in the produce aisle, next to your tried and true favorites. Try these veggies and fruits for overall health:
Cabbage: Every season is the ripe season for cabbage. Brimming with vitamins C, K, Calcium, Zinc, carbohydrates and B6, this is one veggie that should not be missed.
Known for anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage improves cellular structure, prevents tumor growth, assists digestion, protects against ulcers and wards off colon cancer.
And cabbage isn’t just for soup! The Harvard Public School of Health, for example, recommends a fish taco with cabbage and cilantro slaw recipe - a modern and tasty way to start incorporating some cabbage into your weekly diet.
Sweet potatoes: Don’t confuse these antioxidant powerhouses with yams. Sweet potatoes are loaded with betacarotene, that once inside the body morphs into vitamin A.
Vitamin A is necessary to prevent cancer, protect eyesight, and it acts as an internal sunscreen. Also brimming with B6, maganese, fiber, and vitamins C and E, sweet potatoes are a heart healthy food that promotes overall longevity, strong bones and great looks.
Enjoy them roasted instead of candied for a healthy, swoon-worthy addition to any meal. For example, a thyme roasted sweet potato recipe is sure to be a favorite on your table.
Pineapple: It’s not capitalistic irony that David R. Murdoch, the CEO and founder of Dole Food Company, is 88 years old and in pristine health. Pineapple, though easily accessible, appears daunting to cut and prepare, so many shoppers skip it.
This heavy-hitting fruit is known for improving digestion, warding off periodontal disease and protecting against retina degeneration – all while improving joint health.
Packed with manganese, betacarotene, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous and potassium, this succulent fruit should be a regular staple on the grocery list.
You may pay a little more for pre-cut pineapple chunks, but if it means that you’ll actually eat the fruit, buy it! You’ll be getting more than your money’s worth.
Apples: Don’t overlook this classic standby. Apples do much more than just keep the doctor away – in fact you may just outlive him.
Apples are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and not only are they an A+ immune system booster, but they support healthy cholesterol levels and weight loss.
If that isn’t good enough, a study conducted by Cornell University showed that not only do apples protect against cancer, but a photonutrient found in them, called quercetin, can protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Artichokes: Ranked by the USDA as seventh overall for the most common food with the highest levels of polyphenols, artichokes are an often overlooked superfood filled with vitamins C, K, magnesium, fiber, folate, maganese and potassium.
Interestingly, artichokes, due to high levels of inulin, are considered a major source of probiotics and protect us against nasty food-borne illnesses.
Add any or all of these foods to your diet just twice weekly, and reap the benefit of good health daily.