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The best fruits and vegetables

Everyone knows that their diet should consist of at least fifty percent fruits and vegetables, but few people realize that not every plant is a great nutritional choice. Depending on your nutritional needs, there are some fruits and vegetables that will be better for you than others. Try the following fruits and vegetables if you’re looking for some great, nutrient-rich foods.

  • Spinach. Like many dark green, leafy vegetables, spinach is rich in calcium, iron, B vitamins and vitamin C. For pregnant or breastfeeding women, spinach is also a great source of folic acid. Unfortunately, too many people think of spinach as the bland, overcooked pile of green mush that we were served as kids. Instead, use spinach leaves to replace iceburg lettuce in your salads. Eating it raw preserves more of the nutrients, and you’ll like the taste more.

  • Peppers. Yellow and red varieties are great sources of vitamins A, C, E and carotenoids. These vegetables have also been shown to have chemicals that help to increase metabolism. Slice them up on salads, or chop them up and add them to chicken, rice, and pasta sauce. Peppers are one of the few vegetables that loses very little of its nutrients when cooked.

  • Mushrooms. While these technically are fungi, the USDA classifies them as a vegetable. They are a good protein source; in fact, they have the highest amount of protein per ounce of any fruit or vegetable, making them a good choice for anyone who wants to build muscle. They are also rich in iron and vitamin C. Most importantly, some varieties, such as shitake and crimini contain compounds that help to fight cancer and boost your immune system.

  • Olives. Olives are actually a fruit, but it is a good source of oleic acid. This chemical has been shown to reduce the risk of many different types of cancer, including breast cancer. It should be noted that olives are also high in healthy fats. While this can be good if you’re eating a low fat diet, be careful of eating to many olives.

  • Bananas. This fruit has a high concentration of potassium, but it is also a good source for Vitamin B6. Potassium is an essential mineral that can help to relieve migraine headaches. Try to eat the fruit raw without cooking it. Bananas use a lot of their nutrition when they are cooked.

  • Berries. Strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are packed full of vitamins, especially vitamin C. They also have a large amount of fiber, which is important for digestive health. Blackberries are known for having large concentrations of flavonoids, a compound that has been shown to decrease the effects of aging.

Most fruits and vegetables have some nutritional value, so even if you don’t see your favorites on this list, eating them is still better than reaching for a bag of chips.

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