We all know we should be eating more vegetables and fruit. But which ones give us the biggest nutritional punch?
Below is a list of the top ten vegetables and fruits that are packed with nutrients and health benefits. Remember, the idea is to eat a variety of colours in fruits and veggies.
Blueberries contain anti-oxidants, specifically anthocyanidans, which is a flavanoid connected with cognitive ability. These little nuggets also contain Vitamin K1, which helps with blood clotting, as well as Vitamin C and manganese, a mineral associated with the metabolism of amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
Bell Peppers come in a multitude of colours – green, yellow, orange and red. They are full of Vitamin A, folate and potassium. One pepper can provide 169 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C. They also contain anti-oxidants called carotenoids that help with eye health.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, to name a few. They contain phyto-chemicals, Vitamins A, C and E, folate and fiber. They also contain anti-oxidants that can protect against cancer.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale and bok choy are among these nutritional powerhouses. Packed with Vitamin B and calcium, leafy greens can help lower cholesterol, improve bone health and prevent colon cancer.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, an anti-oxidant, as well as beta-carotene. They are also packed with Vitamins C and K, potassium and folate. They are believed to improve heart health, skin health and prevent cancer.
Bananas are rich is fiber, potassium and Vitamins C and B6. They contain anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals that promote heart health. They also help the brain to produce dopamine, that can improve mood.
The Vitamin C champions, including oranges, grapefruit, limes and lemons, also contain B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper, as well as anti-oxidants. Make sure you eat the whole fruit instead of juice to get the benefits of fiber. As well, grapefruit can interact with many prescription medications, so check with your doctor.
Garlic is know to prevent and reduce the effects of colds, improve blood pressure and cholesterol. Its active ingredients, allicin, is also found in onions. It also contain selenium, magnesium and Vitamins B6 and C.
Olives, like olive oil, are high in Vitamin E, iron, copper and calcium. They contain anti-oxidants and healthy fats. Avoid olives soaked in brine, is you’re watching your sodium levels.
Ginger contains a natural oil, called gingerol, that has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can help a host of problems, including tummy upsets and muscle pain and soreness. It may help with osteoarthritis, high blood sugar and heart disease risk factors.
Remember, Mom was right…Eat Your Veggies and Fruit!