10 Most Healthy Fruits and Vegetables
When you think of dieting and healthy fruits and vegetables in the same sentence, do you roll your eyes and think of a bottomless plate of celery and carrots? If you do, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise as we look at some of the healthiest foods on earth. Are these the absolute top 10? Who knows! It’s difficult to cull the list down to only 10 when fruits and veggies pack such a huge nutritional punch.
Vegetables – Vegetables are practically unlimited in a healthy diet. But if you’re stuck in a rut, try tempting your visual sense the next time you hit the produce department. Eating is part sensory experience, so let’s engage the eyes as well as the taste buds.
Leafy Greens – No, we’re not talking iceberg lettuce, which is nearly devoid of any real nutrition. When you toss your next salad, start with a foundation of mixed leafy lettuces, romaine and/or spinach, and add a little radicchio for color.
Cruciferous Vegetables – Cruciferous vegetables are all members of the cabbage family: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy. They are thought to lower the risk of cancer, and they pack lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Sweet Potatoes – I’ll bet this one comes as a surprise, but did you know that the sweet potato has no rival in the produce department in terms of the variety and amount of nutrition? For an occasional treat, ditch the white potato and substitute some “oven-fried” sweet potatoes.
Colorful Veggies – For well-rounded nutrition, include eggplant, radicchio (a wonderful addition to salad or coleslaw), tomatoes, squash, carrots, etc. The more different colors you add to your plate, the more variety of anti-oxidant, anti-aging nutrients you’re adding.
Peppers – The variety of peppers (also known as chile peppers) is endless. They range from mild and sweet bell peppers to five-alarm HOT peppers! Capsaicin is the compound that adds the heat and provides the anti-inflammatory qualities. Hot peppers are also thought to temporarily speed the metabolism, and they certainly can clear the sinuses in a hurry.
Fruits – Fruits can be problematic for dieters because of their high sugar content. But, thankfully, all fruits are not created equally.
Grapefruit – Pink/red varieties are the best. Break the a.m. OJ habit with a half a grapefruit. You’ll not only save over half the calories, but you’ll still get a healthy dose of vitamin C.
Apple – Yes, Matilda, there’s some truth the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples fall in the low middle range on the glycemic index, so there’s a trade-off. You’re getting fiber as well as vitamins and minerals, and they’re a great substitute for bread or crackers when you want a snack of cheese.
Berries – Low in carbs and high in fiber and anti-oxidants, berries are the very best choice when you want to satisfy your sweet tooth. They are the lowest in sugar content and can thankfully be eaten in moderation—even on a carb-restricted diet.
Fruits and vegetables are considered “good diet carbs” as opposed to starchy carbs such as potato chips, pastries, cookies and candy. If weight loss is your goal, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and “accessorize” with meats and fats.