Whilst superfoods like blueberries, tomatoes and spinach have achieved the nutrition equivalent of celebrity status, other fruits and vegetables generate less excitement – and even some confusion.
Here is a list of four under-appreciated – and even misunderstood – fruits and veggies that in my opinion, deserve a place on your plate:
* Avocados: Many people I know avoid avocados as they classify them as “high fat” foods, but the monounsaturated fat in avocados actually helps to protect your heart by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol and raising HDL “good” cholesterol. Avocados also contain fibre and a phytonutrient called “beta-sitosterol”, which also helps control cholesterol, and lutein, which promotes eye health.
Avocados also have the highest gram-per-gram content of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Finally, if there was a “superfood for your liver” category, avocados just might qualify. In a recent study, avocados beat 22 other fruits as the best defence against liver damage. So overall, a winner in my book!
* Celery: Celery is often dismissed, but it turns out that two stalks provide an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium – all for just 20 calories. Celery is also loaded with phytonutrients such as quercetin, which promotes prostate and brain health. Ding Ding!
* Parsley: Regarded as little more than a garnish, parsley is actually a compact, powerful nutrition punch. Just 1/4 cup provides more than 300 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin K and contains an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Parsley is also a top source of the antioxidant flavonoid apigenin, which, in addition to protecting the prostate, studies have shown that it may also help reduce the risk of breast, colon, skin and thyroid cancers.
* Potatoes: The fact that spuds are a favourite vegetables, wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t usually deep-fried, processed and drowned in saturated fat. In fact, a medium baked potato with skin has 163 calories, no fat, and provides an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, plus a good source of fibre, magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin, vitamin B-6 and folate.
So, if you’ve been dismissing one of these nutrition heroes as a zero, give it another chance and reap the health benefits of these four food winners!
Until next time,