Superfood

Açai Berry
1. The açai (ah-sigh-ee) palm tree grows in Central and South America, with a range that extends from Belize south to Brazil and Peru. The palm produces a small, deeppurple fruit that is one of the primary foodstuffs for native people living in the Amazon region of Brazil where it is harvested. Açai “berry”—actually a drupe—tastes like a mixture of berries and chocolate, and is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. It has ten times the anthocyanins of red wine. It also has a protein profile similar to egg whites.
At least one study has shown that chemical compounds extracted from the açai berry slow the proliferation of leukemia cells in laboratory cultures, and others have shown that it has a powerful effect against common oxygen free radicals. The açai fruit not only shows potential in cancer prevention, but also reduces inflammation, which has been implicated in heart and lung disease, allergies, and auto-immune disorders.
For a fruit, açai contains a relatively high proportion of fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, and linoleic (an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid), as well as aspartic and glutamic amino acids, which contribute to building proteins.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of freeze-dried pulp provides 152 calories, 14 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g protein, 9 g fat, 13 g dietary fiber, 286 IU vitamin A, 74 mg calcium, 17 mg phosphorus, and 1.3 mg iron. .....
Apples
2. The old adage holds true: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Doctors in ancient Greece praised the healing properties of apples. Galen, the famous second-century Greek physician, wrote that apples “restore countless invalids to health” and described the healing properties of different types of apples for several illnesses.
What the ancients didn’t know is what substance in apples makes them so good at protecting health. We now know that it’s a flavonoid called quercetin and that apples are one of the best dietary sources for it. In laboratory studies, quercetin reduces allergic reactions and inflammation, and it has demonstrated some potential to limit the growth of tumors. It may also reduce symptoms in chronic prostatitis and interstitial cystitis. A study in 2007 found that cyclists given quercetin during a regimen involving three hours of bicycling per day developed fewer respiratory tract infections than a control group that did not get the supplement.
Apples have long been appreciated for their keeping qualities—stored in a cool and dry cellar or barn, they provided crisp, fresh flavor throughout the winter even in the days before refrigeration. Today, properly refrigerated, they will keep for months. Apples are also a good source of pectin, a soluble dietary fiber that helps lower cholesterol and is useful for relieving both constipation and diarrhea. Apples’ high fiber content means that they slow the absorption of glucose—good for controlling blood sugar. And they contain alpha hydroxy acids, so you can even use apples as an exfoliating masque for your skin.
Unsweetened organic applesauce makes a great snack by itself and can replace oil and fats in baked goods. I use applesauce in place of the oil in my oat bran muffins, making them much more moist and tasty—and lower in fat and calories— than muffins made with oil. The trick also works for baking brownies, producing a chocolate treat that’s fluffy, moist, and cake-like.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium size (about 4-inch diameter) apple with the skin provides 81 calories, 21 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 3.7 g dietary fiber, 73 IU vitamin A, 8 mg vitamin C, 10 mg calcium, and 159 mg potassium. .....
Apricots
3. The apricot has been cultivated for at least 5,000 years. Both fresh and dried, this fruit provides plenty of vitamin A, potassium, beta-carotene, and iron. In addition, a fresh apricot provides 17 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Dried apricots, high in dietary fiber, provide nearly a gram of fiber in just three halves. Fiber is essential for intestinal health, but most Americans consume less than 10 grams per day. Include apricots in your diet as a delicious way to add to your fiber intake.
Nutritional Facts :
(raw apricots) Three medium raw apricots provide 51 calories, 11.8 grams carbohydrate, 1.5 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 2769 IU vitamin A, 11 mg vitamin C, 15 mg calcium, 314 mg potassium, and 20 mg phosphorus.
(dried apricots) Three dried apricot halves provide 24 calories, 6.6 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0 g fat, and 0.9 g dietary fiber. .....
Bananas
4. Bananas grow in more than 100 countries and are a major food crop throughout the tropical world, where they are cultivated in many sizes and colors, including red, yellow, purple, and green. Only 10 to 15 percent of the bananas grown are for export.
In the United States, the vast majority of supermarket bananas are the Cavendish variety, a sweet, seedless, yellow “dessert” banana—one eaten without cooking.
Plantains, which have become more readily available in recent years, are banana varieties intended for cooking, and they tend to be less sweet and more starchy.
Because our fruit-stand bananas are so sweet, they’ve gotten a bad reputation among the low-carb crowd. But they are an incredibly rich source of potassium, vital for regulating blood pressure and a factor in preventing heart disease, stroke, and muscle cramps. One medium banana provides more potassium by weight than practically any other fruit.
Most of us can afford the 15 grams of carbohydrate found in half a banana in exchange for its nutrient benefits, given that Americans typically get only about half the recommended daily intake of potassium.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw banana provides 105 calories, 26.7 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 92 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 22 mcg folic acid, 451 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, 23 mg phosphorus, and 33 mg magnesium. .....
Blackberries
5. Blackberries may extend your life! The pigments that give them their color are strong antioxidants, and they retain that power when eaten. They’re also rich in anthocyanins, and there is laboratory evidence that anthocyanins may be effective against cancer, diabetes, inflammation, bacterial infections, and neurological diseases.
Every 100 grams of blackberries provides 317 mg of anthocyanins.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of raw blackberries provides 37 calories, 9.2 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 3.8 g dietary fiber, 119 IU vitamin A, 15 mg vitamin C, 24 mcg folic acid, 141 mg potassium, 23 mg calcium, 15 mg phosphorus, and 14 mg magnesium. .....
Blueberries
6. The health Benefits of blueberries have made them one of the hottest topics in antiaging research. A potent mix of flavonoids, tannins, and anthocyanins make blueberries one of the top antioxidant foods, ranking first among 40 antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. A number of studies have shown that blueberries appear to slow down and even reverse age-related neurological degeneration.
Blueberries also have potential as cancer fighters. Lab results show that blueberries appear to slow down the rate of cell mutation and the growth of cancer cells; speed up cell turnover, which gives cancer cells less time to develop; reduce inflammatory agents that have been implicated in the onset of cancer; and slow down the growth of new blood vessels that nourish tumors. Researchers at Ohio State University are in the process of extending this research into human trials. At Rutgers University in New Jersey, researchers have identified a compound in blueberries that promotes urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. It appears to work by preventing bacteria from sticking to the cells that line the urinary tract walls.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw blueberries provides 81 calories, 20.5 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 3.9 g dietary fiber, 145 IU vitamin A, 19 mg vitamin C, 9 mcg folic acid, 129 mg potassium, 9 mg calcium, 15 mg phosphorus, and 7 mg magnesium. .....
Blueberries Dried
7. Blueberries rank first among 40 antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, with a potent mix of flavonoids, tannins, and anthocyanins. Dried blueberries provide many of the Benefits of fresh ones, with the addition of more fiber. They are a terrific portable snack!
Nutritional Facts :
One-third cup of dried blueberries provides 140 calories, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 4 g dietary fiber, and 6 mg vitamin C. .....
Boysenberries
8. Boysenberries are the result of crosses between raspberries, blackberries, and loganberries and are named for Rudolph Boysen, a California horticulturist who experimented with a number of berry hybrids in the 1920s. Although Boysen gave up on commercializing his results, Walter Knott later popularized the unique fruit at his theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm. A dark reddish-purple berry full of anthocyanins and other antioxidants, the boysenberry is reputed to have more than twice the antioxidant power of blueberries. Boysenberries contain ellagic acid, which binds to some carcinogens, including nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and thus they may help prevent some cancers.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of frozen, unsweetened boysenberries provides 66 calories, 16 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 5.1 g dietary fiber, 88 IU vitamin A, 4 mg vitamin C, 84 mcg folic acid, 183 mg potassium, 36 mg calcium, 36 mg phosphorus, and 21 mg magnesium. .....
Cantaloupe
9. Both the “true” cantaloupe (the European variety, Cucumis melo cantalupensis, which has a smooth or warty skin) and the North American cantaloupe (Cucumis melo reticulatus, with its “netted” or reticulated rind) are orange-fleshed melons of the muskmelon species, which also includes honeydews and more exotic melons.
What gives cantaloupe a special place among the SuperFoods is its high betacarotene content, indicated by its rich orange color. It’s also a good source of vitamin A. One cup of cantaloupe cubes is just 56 calories, but it provides 103.2 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin A. Since beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A in the body, when you eat cantaloupe, it’s like getting a Carbohydrates: Fruits 15 double helping! Vitamin A appears to reduce the risk of cataracts, and it’s a good source of lutein, which some studies have suggested may have a role in preventing age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in the elderly.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw cantaloupe provides 56 calories, 13.4 g carbohydrate, 1.4 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 1.3 g dietary fiber, 5158 IU vitamin A, 68 mg vitamin C, 27 mcg folic acid, 494 mg potassium, 18 mg calcium, 27 mg phosphorus, and 18 mg magnesium. .....
Cherries
10. Cherries are a colorful fruit whose pigmentation packs an antioxidant punch. In particular, sour or tart cherries have been found to contain high levels of anthocyanins that work to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. Cherries are a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber, and folate.
At least two species of tart cherry (Balaton and Montmorency) have been shown to contain melatonin, which may help regulate sleep patterns and help with jet lag. In one study, cherries reduced total weight, body fat (especially the important “belly” fat), inflammation, and cholesterol—all linked to increased risk for heart disease.
Nutritional Facts :
Ten raw sweet cherries provide 49 calories, 11.3 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 146 IU vitamin A, 5 mg vitamin C, 3 mcg folic acid, 152 mg potassium, 10 mg calcium, 13 mg phosphorus, and 7 mg magnesium. .....
Cocoa Beans
11. You can really taste the difference between a Livit and a diet here, because despite cocoa’s association with candy, it really is good for you! Cocoa may help control blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance, and provide other Benefits to cardiovascular health. The trick to getting the Benefits is to limit the fats and sugar associated with chocolate. Stick to cocoa powder, which lacks the cocoa butter but contains all that good chocolate taste.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa provides 20 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 4 IU vitamin A, 202 mg potassium, 97 mg calcium, 89 mg phosphorus, 25 mg magnesium, and 0.35 mg iron. .....
Cranberries
12. Anyone who has eaten a fresh cranberry knows that these native North American fruits have a unique taste. They also have some unique nutritional benefits. Cranberry procyanidins appear to inhibit the stickiness of bacteria, giving the tart red fruit—and its more popular juice—the ability to help prevent urinary tract infections.
That same anti-adhesion property gives cranberries a role in preventing tooth decay, and possibly even the bacterial infection implicated in many stomach ulcers.
Cranberries have one of the highest ORAC levels among the 277 foods tested by the USDA. They also provide vitamin C.
Cranberries are relatively low in sugar and carbohydrate—another thing anyone who has tasted them fresh might have guessed. That means that cranberries and cranberry juice can bring the Benefits of fruit to those who must limit carbohydrate and sugar.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of whole raw cranberries provides 47 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 44 IU vitamin A, 13 mg vitamin C, 2 mcg folic acid, 67 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, 9 mg phosphorus, 5 mg magnesium, 0.19 mg iron, 0.12 mg zinc, and 0.15 mg manganese. .....
Cranberries Dried
13. Cranberry procyanidins appear to inhibit the stickiness of bacteria. This antiadhesion property helps in the prevention of infections such as those implicated in stomach ulcers and the urinary tract. It also gives cranberries a role in preventing tooth decay. Cranberries provide vitamin C and have one of the highest ORAC levels among the 277 foods tested by the USDA.
Carbohydrates: Fruits 21 Dried cranberries provide many of the same Benefits as fresh ones, and at least one study suggests they could even be as effective as cranberry juice in preventing urinary tract infections!
Nutritional Facts :
One-third cup of sweetened dried cranberries provides 120 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 0.03 g protein, 0.5 g fat, and 2 g dietary fiber. .....
Dates
14. Archaeologists have found evidence that date palm trees were being cultivated in eastern Arabia as long as 8,000 years ago. Such a long agricultural history has allowed many varieties of dates to be developed, in three main types: soft, semi-dry, and dry. All three types are relatively low in water content. However, dates that have been allowed to ripen and dry on the tree lose most of the vitamin C that is present in fresh dates that are harvested before drying. Although dates are grown throughout the Middle East and are a major export of Iraq, they are also grown in California and Arizona—primarily the medjool, which is a soft date, and the deglet noor, a semi-dry.
Dates are very sweet, with one 24-gram medjool date providing 66 calories and almost 16 grams of sugar. The smaller deglet noor, at 7 grams, is still more than half sugar by weight.
A 2008 summary of research on dates showed that they are a significant source of ten minerals, including selenium, copper, potassium, and magnesium—and that 100 grams of dates would provide over 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance for them. The review also found that dates are a good source of antioxidants, primarily carotenoids and phenolics. In addition to the four minerals listed above, dates contain boron, calcium, cobalt, fluoride, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc, as well as 23 types of amino acids, which is unusual for a fruit. Unfortunately, many of the dates’ proteins are in the seeds, not the flesh, so it may take new and creative uses of the seeds for dates to realize their role as an ideal food.
Nutritional Facts :
Five dried dates with pits removed provide 114 calories, 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 21 IU vitamin A, 0.9 mg niacin, 5 mcg folic acid, 1 mg sodium, 270 mg potassium, 13 mg calcium, 16 mg phosphorus, and 14 mg magnesium. .....
Figs
15. Figs have been part of the human diet for at least 10,000 years and are now grown throughout the Mediterranean, as well as in California, Oregon, Texas, and Washington State. Figs are a good source of fiber and are high in protein, for a fruit. They are also among the best plant sources of calcium. A fig supplies 16 percent of the recommended daily intake for iron, 18 percent for magnesium, and 14 percent for potassium, which Benefits your heart and other organs by keeping your blood pressure and hydration in balance. Fig leaves have been found to have some potential in controlling diabetes.
Nutritional Facts :
(raw fig) One medium raw fig provides 37 calories, 9.6 g carbohydrate, 0.38 g protein, 0.15 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 71 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 3 mcg folic acid, 116 mg potassium, 18 mg calcium, 9 mg magnesium, 7 mg phosphorus, and 0.18 mg iron.
(dried fig) One dried fig provides 21 calories, 5.47 g carbohydrate, 0.28 g protein, 0.08 g fat, and 0.8 g dietary fiber. .....
Grapefruit
16. It may surprise many people, but grapefruit really can help with weight loss! In a small test involving 100 obese people, those who ate half a fresh grapefruit each day lost more weight than the control group that did not. It appears that the effect is partly due to grapefruit’s ability to lower glucose levels. Eating grapefruit also appeared to help patients with metabolic syndrome, reducing their insulin resistance.
Although these studies were small and more research needs to be done to determine why and how grapefruit works, the results could be significant for the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Grapefruit is rich in flavonoids that are helpful in lowering the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is a good source of pectin (a soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol) and vitamin C. Because it is not very sweet, it is a good fruit for those who wish to limit carbohydrate. Grapefruit seeds have also been shown to have an antibacterial effect.
As is often the case, the more brightly colored fruit tends to have more antioxidants and other life-saving compounds. That means that pink- and red-fleshed varieties of grapefruit pack more nutrient punch than white grapefruit, including the antioxidant lycopene, which may help prevent age-related blindness.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half medium pink or red grapefruit provides 39 calories, 9.9 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 153 IU vitamin A, 42 mg vitamin C, 13 mcg folic acid, 171 mg potassium, 15 mg calcium, 10 mg phosphorus, and 10 mg magnesium. .....
Grapes
17. Grapes and their juice are a source of resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant that is thought to be one of the health-promoting elements in red wine. Resveratrol appears to be involved in reducing the risk or slowing the development of cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, viral infections, and Alzheimer’s disease.
It also shows potential in treating bronchial asthma and helping to prevent type 2 diabetes. Resveratrol is most highly concentrated in the skin of grapes.
Grapes also contain antioxidant anthocyanins and catechins, and some varieties also provide ellagic acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and other phytochemicals and phenolics. They are a moderately good source of vitamin C and potassium, and they contain small amounts of a wide variety of minerals.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw grapes provides 58 calories, 15.8 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 0.9 g dietary fiber, 92 IU vitamin A, 4 mg vitamin C, 4 mcg folic acid, 2 mg sodium, 176 mg potassium, 13 mg calcium, 9 mg phosphorus, and 5 mg magnesium. .....
Grape Juice
18. Grape juice is a significant source of resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant that is thought to be one of the health-promoting elements in red wine. Resveratrol appears to be involved in reducing the risk or slowing the development of cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, viral infections, and Alzheimer’s disease.
It also shows potential in treating bronchial asthma and helping prevent type 2 diabetes.
Resveratrol is most highly concentrated in grape skins, which is why red wine has greater potential health Benefits than white wine, for which the grape skins are less a part of the wine-making process.
Grapes and their juice also contain antioxidant anthocyanins and catechins, and some types also provide ellagic acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and other phytochemicals and phenolics. They are a moderately good source of vitamin C and potassium, and they contain small amounts of a wide variety of minerals.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of grape juice provides 77 calories, 19 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.3 g dietary fiber, 4 mg sodium, and 10 mg calcium. .....
Honeydew Melon
19. Honeydew melon, like cantaloupe, is a variety of muskmelon. Honeydews are in the Inodorus group, named for the sweet smell of these melons. Typically, honeydews have a pale green flesh, though some newer hybrid types have orange flesh and these may have more carotenes. Honeydews are a good of vitamin C, potassium, copper, and B vitamins (including thiamine, niacin, B6, and pantothenic acid). The water and potassium present in honeydews help maintain healthy blood pressure and hydration.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cubed raw honeydew melon provides 60 calories, 15.6 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 68 IU vitamin A, 42 mg vitamin C, 10 mcg folic acid, 461 mg potassium, 17 mg sodium, 10 mg calcium, 17 mg phosphorus, and 12 mg magnesium.
32 .....
Kiwifruit
20. Before being popularized by New Zealand growers in the 1950s, the kiwifruit was known as the Chinese gooseberry. It is rich in potassium (with almost as much potassium as a banana) and vitamin C (with more of this vitamin than an orange).
A good source of beta-carotene, vitamins A and E, the kiwifruit also provides magnesium, copper, phosphorus, carotenoids, and polyphenols. Kiwifruit may be a natural blood thinner: One study found that eating two or three kiwifruit per day had about the same effect as aspirin therapy for reducing the risk of clots and lowering the amount of fat in the blood.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw kiwifruit provides 46 calories, 11.3 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 2.6 g dietary fiber, 133 IU vitamin A, 74 mg vitamin C, 29 mcg folic acid, 252 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 30 mg phosphorus, and 23 mg magnesium. .....
Lemons
21. Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola in 1493, introducing lemons to the Americas. Later Spanish immigrants cultivated lemon orchards in Florida, Arizona, and California, where most of the lemons in the United States are grown today.
Rich in vitamin C, lemons were among the foods used to combat scurvy among sailors. Lemons also contain vitamin A, as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw lemon provides 17 calories, 5.4 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 17 IU vitamin A, 31 mg vitamin C, 6 mcg folic acid, 80 mg potassium, 15 mg calcium, 9 mg phosphorus, and 5 mg magnesium. .....
Limes
22. Limes are sweeter than lemons and they also contain more citric acid, a compound essential to the metabolic process that burns carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to turn them into water and carbon dioxide and release energy in the body. Like lemons, limes are an excellent source of vitamin C. It’s limes that were issued to English sailors to prevent scurvy in the 19th century. They also contain calcium, potassium, and vitamin A.
There are two main types of limes—Key limes and Persian limes. Key limes are smaller, darker in color, and thinner skinned. The typical supermarket lime is a Persian lime.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw lime provides 20 calories, 7.1 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.9 g dietary fiber, 7 IU vitamin A, 19 mg vitamin C, 5 mcg folic acid, 0.15 mg pantothenic acid, 68 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 22 mg calcium, 12 mg phosphorus, 4 mg magnesium, and 0.4 mg iron. .....
Lychees
23. Lychee fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, as well as a good source of copper and phosphorus. In traditional Chinese medicine, lychees are used as a pain reliever, as an aid to digestion, and to promote health and long life.
They were also used as a treatment for coughs, a sore throat, and swollen glands.
Recently, two Chinese studies have suggested that lychee has potential as a cancer-fighting agent. Research at Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou, China, found that polyphenols from lychee fruit pulp appeared to slow the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. It appeared to be especially effective against human breast cancer. A second study, at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, also showed lychee polyphenols to inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells. Although the research has not established that the lychee flavonoids work the same way inside the human body, the implications are hopeful.
Nutritional Facts :
Ten medium raw lychees provide 66 calories, 16.5 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 1.3 g dietary fiber, 72 mg vitamin C, 14 mcg folic acid, 171 mg potassium, 5 mg calcium, 31 mg phosphorus, and 10 mg magnesium. .....
Nectarines
24. Nectarines are a type of peach and, like the peach, have the golden-yellow, orange, and reddish coloration that is typical of fruits and vegetables containing lutein. As one of the pigments found in the retina of the eye, lutein may help prevent macular degeneration. Nectarines are also a good source of carotenes, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and niacin, as well as fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw nectarine provides 67 calories, 16 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 2.2 g dietary fiber, 1001 IU vitamin A, 7 mg vitamin C, 1.3 mg niacin, 5 mcg folic acid, 288 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, 22 mg phosphorus, 11 mg magnesium, and 0.2 mg iron. .....
Oranges
25. The first oranges to be widely cultivated were bitter. Sweet oranges, which originated in India, were brought to Europe in the 15th century by the Portuguese. People were so grateful for this new sweet fruit that sweet oranges are named for Portugal in many languages.
40 Oranges and their juice are almost everybody’s favorite source of vitamin C, a vitamin whose many Benefits have been known for so long that we sometimes overlook them. Primary among them are that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, helps the body absorb iron, and is important to wound healing and heart health. Oranges also provide significant potassium and are a good source of calcium and magnesium (three minerals good for regulating blood pressure), as well as phosphorus, vitamin A, folates, and fiber. Oranges are a good source of citric acid, which plays a vital role in cell metabolism. Its citrus limonoids are being studied for their antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-malarial, and cancer-fighting properties.
Nutritional Facts :
One raw navel orange provides 60 calories, 15.2 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 3.1 g dietary fiber, 240 IU vitamin A, 75 mg vitamin C, 44 mcg folic acid, 1 mg sodium, 233 mg potassium, 52 mg calcium, 25 mg phosphorus, 13 mg magnesium, and 0.16 mg iron. .....
Papaya
26. The papaya was the first fruit tree to have its genome mapped. Originally cultivated in Mexico and South America, papayas are now grown in almost all tropical countries.
Papayas are a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, including lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene, and vitamin C. They also provide folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Papayas contain the enzyme papain, which breaks down protein fibers and is used to tenderize tough meats, and which may also help with digestion. This ability to break down proteins allows papain to help relieve the pain of insect and jellyfish stings and bites, because the toxins in these venoms are also proteins. But in November 2008, the FDA moved to ban topical (skin) treatments made with papain to avoid allergic reactions, which can be severe.
Papaya leaves were once brewed into a tea that was thought to prevent malaria, but there is no scientific evidence that the tea has the desired effect. Papaya has also played a role as a folk medicine contraceptive. In some animal studies, large amounts of green papaya fruit seem to negatively affect fertility in both males and females, possibly by suppressing the hormone progesterone.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw papaya provides 119 calories, 29.8 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 5.5 g dietary fiber, 863 IU vitamin A, 188 mg vitamin C, 1 mg niacin, 116 mcg folic acid, 781 mg potassium, 9 mg sodium, 15 mg phosphorus, 73 mg calcium, and 30 mg magnesium. .....
Peaches
27. Peaches are a low-calorie, very juicy fruit and a good source of “portable water” for hot days. Another hot weather benefit is their high potassium content, which helps regulate hydration and can therefore help you avoid muscle cramps. Peaches are also a good source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and lutein—all beneficial to preserving vision. Peaches also have a reputation as a laxative, courtesy of the combination of high fiber and high water content.
In the lab, extracts from peaches have slowed the growth of some types of breast and colon cancer cells. In a National Cancer Institute study, people who consumed more peaches and related fruits, such as nectarines and plums, were less likely to develop cancers of the mouth, throat, or larynx.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw peach provides 37 calories, 9.7 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, 465 IU vitamin A, 6 mg vitamin C, 3 mcg folic acid, 171 mg potassium, 4 mg calcium, 10 mg phosphorus, and 6 mg magnesium. .....
Pears
28. Pears are rich in vitamins B2, C, E, and K, as well as copper and potassium, and they are a great source of fiber. Pears are the least acidic of common fruits, so they are recommended for both babies and adults with gastric reflux or a tendency to heartburn.
An Australian project on the influence of foods on asthma found that pears (along with apples) seemed to protect the young adults studied both from asthma attacks and from developing asthma. And although any food may cause an allergy in a person sensitive to it, pears are so rarely allergenic that they are included in the allergen-restricted diets used to determine and control food allergies.
Red-hued pears, such as Red Anjou and Red Bartlett, have more antioxidant anthocyanins than the green, yellow, and brown varieties.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium pear provides 103 calories, 27.5 g carbohydrate, 0.68 g protein, 0.21 g fat, 5.5 g dietary fiber, 41 IU vitamin A, 7.5 mg vitamin C, 0.28 mg niacin, 8 mcg vitamin K, 16 mg calcium, 12 mg magnesium, 20 mg phosphorus, and 212 mg potassium. .....
Persimmons
29. The common, or American, persimmon is native to the eastern United States and is one of the Virginia foods described by Captain John Smith in 1612. Red-orange in color, persimmons are a good source of antioxidants and carotenes, vitamins A and C, and both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The Japanese persimmon originated in China and is grown throughout Asia, as well as in California. Larger than the American version, it contains many of the nutrients of its American cousin but has less vitamin C and calcium per gram. Asian persimmon varieties are divided into two groups: astringent and non-astringent.
Astringent persimmons (such as the Hachiya) are high in tannins, which can serve as antioxidants but also render unripe fruit inedible. The non-astringent varieties (such as the Fuyu) contain fewer tannins and lose them earlier in the ripening process, so these pears can be consumed either while still firm or when soft.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the Japanese persimmon is believed to regulate ch’i, the vital energy. Raw, they are used to treat constipation. Cooked, they are used to treat diarrhea. Some varieties are high in the antioxidant tannins catechin and gallocatechin.
Nutritional Facts :
(american persimmon) One medium raw American persimmon provides 32 calories, 8.4 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 17 mg vitamin C, 78 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, and 7 mg phosphorus.
( japanese persimmon) One medium raw Japanese persimmon provides 118 calories, 31.2 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.03 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 12.6 mg vitamin C, 270 mg potassium, 13 mg calcium, and 29 mg phosphorus. .....
Pineapple
30. Pineapples are another food, like papayas, that contains an enzyme that breaks down proteins. In the case of pineapples, the enzyme is bromelain. In addition to making pineapple a good meat tenderizer, bromelain helps block some metabolic products that contribute to inflammation, making it a good anti-inflammatory. Isolated bromelain has been used to treat sports injuries, digestive problems, swelling, and other problems involving inflammation. Its action on proteins has also been found to reduce blood clots, especially in arteries.
Pineapple is a good source of manganese, vitamin B1, and vitamin C.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw pineapple pieces provides 76 calories, 8.4 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 17 mg vitamin C, 78 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, and 7 mg phosphorus. .....
Plums
31. Plums grow in many parts of the world, including North and South America, Europe, and Asia. More than 140 types of plums are available in the United States.
Varieties that originated in Europe tend to be purple-skinned, but there are other varieties that are white-, yellow-, green-, or red-skinned. Inside, the flesh of plums can be white, green, orange, purple, pink, black, or red. The more purple the plum, the more anthocyanins it is likely to contain, and the more purple parts will be richest in them—so eat the skins! But plums have lots of other nutritional value as well.
They are a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A and C, lutein, and beta-carotene. Plums are also a significant source of the trace mineral boron, which is helpful in converting calcium to bone and may therefore play a role in preventing osteoporosis.
Plums, along with prunes, have earned their reputation as a remedy for constipation.
In addition to a healthy dose of fiber, they contain sugars, including sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that draws water from the intestine to produce a laxative effect, and isatin. Some sources say that most of the sorbitol and isatin is in the plum skin and advise peeling the fruit to avoid this side effect.
Although plums are quite sweet, they don’t cause blood sugar to spike, probably because of the fiber, fructose, and sorbitol that all contribute to slowing down absorption of the sugars.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw plum provides 36 calories, 8.6 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 0.9 g dietary fiber, 213 IU vitamin A, 6 mg vitamin C, 1 mcg folic acid, 114 mg potassium, 3 mg calcium, 7 mg phosphorus, and 5 mg magnesium. .....
Prunes Dried Plums
32. Prunes are rich in anthocyanins, as well as a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A and C, lutein, and beta-carotene. They are a significant source of the trace mineral boron, which is useful in converting calcium to bone and may play a role in preventing osteoporosis. Prunes have many of the same health Benefits as plums (their fresh counterparts), with more concentrated sugars and fiber, due to the drying.
Prunes have recently undergone an image-improvement campaign, thanks mainly to Sunsweet, a growers’ cooperative that produces about two thirds of the world’s prunes. Prunes are dried plums, although there are specific varieties that are grown especially for drying, to retain more sweetness and better texture. Some varieties of plum have traditionally been called “prune” even when fresh.
Prunes, as well as plums, have earned their reputation as a remedy for constipation.
In addition to a healthy dose of fiber, plums and prunes contain sugars, including sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that draws water from the intestine to produce a laxative effect, and isatin. Prune juice contains some of the prune skin because unlike the juices of fresh fruits, it is made by softening dried prunes and then pureeing them.
Although prunes are quite sweet, they don’t cause blood sugar to spike, probably because of the fiber, fructose, and sorbitol that contribute to slowing down absorption of the sugars.
Nutritional Facts :
Five dried prunes provide 100 calories, 26 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 834.5 IU vitamin A, 1.5 mg vitamin C, 0.8 mg niacin, 1.5 mcg folic acid, 313 mg potassium, 21.5 mg calcium, 1.5 mg sodium, 33 mg phosphorus, 1.04 mg iron, and 19 mg magnesium. .....
Pomegranates
33. The pomegranate is a fruit so unusual and delicious that it has attracted attention throughout history, having been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean since ancient times. Because Persephone ate pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, she was doomed to spend part of each year there, resulting in the origin of winter in Greek mythology. The ancient Egyptians used pomegranate for its medicinal powers, even including the fruit in their elaborate burials. It’s mentioned in the holy books of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ayurvedic medicine uses all parts of the pomegranate—fruit, leaves, bark, and flowers. Pomegranate flowers, because of their astringent properties, were used in 19th-century English medicine to treat skin irritations, sore throats, and diarrhea.
Pomegranate juice is high in potassium and a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and many polyphenols and antioxidants, some of them unique to this fruit. It has demonstrated potential in the laboratory, including in preliminary human trials, for reducing several risks related to oxidation and atherosclerosis that are involved in heart disease. As an antioxidant, it has a moderate ORAC of 2,860 units per 100 grams.
The seed-juice sacs of a pomegranate, called “arils,” are a significant source of linolenic acid, which has shown some potential for combating insulin resistance.
Pomegranate seed oil has also been effective against breast cancer cells in the lab.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw pomegranate provides 105 calories, 26.4 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 0.9 g dietary fiber, 9 mg vitamin C, 9 mcg folic acid, 399 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 12 mg phosphorus, and 5 mg magnesium.
54 .....
Quinces
34. Quinces originated in the Caucasus region, and Turkey remains the largest producer, although they are grown throughout the Middle East as well as in Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. Though quinces were once grown widely in the United States, they have been subject to insects and blights, and now most of the quinces available in the United States come from Argentina.
Quinces are especially high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol. Quinces are a good source of vitamin A and iron, and they provide moderate amounts of potassium, vitamin C, and calcium. Quinces’ high acid content is thought to help with the digestion of fatty meals. Research on the closely related Chinese quince shows potential for preventing stomach lesions and combating some viruses.
The high pectin content of quinces accounts for their common use in jams and jellies. Quinces were traditionally used to produce an extract for treating coughs and sore throat, as well as for digestive problems. They also have a pleasing sweet smell and have long been used as the base for pomanders.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw quince provides 52 calories, 14.1 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.7 g dietary fiber, 37 IU vitamin A, 14 mg vitamin C, 3 mcg folic acid, 181 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 16 mg phosphorus, 10 mg calcium, 7 mg magnesium, and 0.12 mg iron. .....
Raisins
35. Raisins are dried grapes, but their extensive history puts them in a special class.
Raisins are nearly 80 percent carbohydrate, most of which is sugar, but they also provide significant fiber, as well as minerals like potassium, calcium, and fluoride.
In an experiment designed to test the effectiveness of relatively minor lifestyle changes, researchers found that women who ate a cup of raisins a day for six weeks lowered their blood pressure, reduced their waist size, reduced signs of inflammation, and lowered their blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
It appears raisins may also help with oral health: Polyphenols extracted from raisins suppressed the growth of some germs that attack the mouth and gums, including some that set the stage for oral cancers. Raisins also appear to be one of the main sources of boron in the American diet. This trace mineral may have a role in calcium metabolism and preventing osteoporosis.
Nutritional Facts :
One-quarter cup of seedless raisins, packed, provides 123 calories, 32.7 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 0.95 mg vitamin C, 1.5 mg vitamin K, 0.32 mg niacin, 4.6 mg choline, 20.5 mg calcium, 0.78 mg iron, 13.3 mg magnesium, 41.8 mg phosphorus, and 309 mg potassium. .....
Raspberries
36. Raspberries are frequently studied for their health effects, because they are a significant source of anthocyanins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Raspberries are one of the few berries with the potential to inhibit the formation of cancer tumors, according to experiments involving human subjects. Raspberries contain ellagic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol, as well as anthocyanins. They have an ORAC of 4882, one of the highest among rated foods.
Because raspberries are aggregate fruits, made up of many small beads of fruit, each containing a seed, they are very high in fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw raspberries provides 60 calories, 14.2 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 8.4 g dietary fiber, 160 IU vitamin A, 31 mg vitamin C, 32 mcg folic acid, 187 mg potassium, 15 mg phosphorus, 27 mg calcium, 22 mg magnesium, and 1.25 mg manganese. .....
Strawberries
37. Although strawberries don’t pack the anthocyanin punch of some of the purple fruits and berries, they do contain at least two anthocyanins, and they are an excellent source of a variety of other flavonoids, including catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol, as well as vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, lutein, and ellagic acid.
This makes strawberries potential cancer fighters. Fisetin, another flavonoid found in strawberries, has been shown to improve long-term memory in mouse studies, although researchers warn that humans would have to eat ten pounds a day to get an equivalent effect.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw strawberries provides 45 calories, 10.5 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 3.4 g dietary fiber, 40 IU vitamin A, 84 mg vitamin C, 26 mcg folic acid, 247 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 28 mg phosphorus, 21 mg calcium, and 15 mg magnesium. .....
Tangerines
38. Like other members of the citrus family, especially the oranges that they most resemble, tangerines are full of vitamin C and a great source of beta-carotene. They also provide potassium, magnesium, and many B vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. Tangerines have the highest concentration of pectin, a soluble fiber helpful in reducing cholesterol, among the commonly eaten citrus fruits. They also contain lutein, which may help prevent macular degeneration, and hesperidin, which helps keep blood vessels healthy and has shown potential for fighting osteoporosis.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw tangerine provides 37 calories, 9.4 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.9 g dietary fiber, 773 IU vitamin A, 26 mg vitamin C, 17 mcg folic acid, 132 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 8 mg phosphorus, 12 mg calcium, and 10 mg magnesium. .....
Watermelon
39. Vietnamese legend says that the watermelon originated there in answer to the prayer of an exiled prince. But this fruit is so easy to love that it has been cultivated wherever it has traveled—watermelon seeds were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb, North African traders brought it to Europe by the 13th century, and it appears to have been adopted by Native Americans early in the history of their contact with Europeans.
As captured in its name, watermelon is mostly water—making it a refreshing treat and a somewhat portable source of hydration. It provides vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and some B vitamins.
Watermelon is also a rich source of lycopene, which is a phytochemical found in some red fruits and vegetables. (Lycopene is often regarded as the likely agent in the tomato’s apparent prevention of some cancers.) Watermelon rinds are a significant source of citrulline, which helps lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw watermelon pieces provides 51 calories, 11.5 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 0.8 g dietary fiber, 586 IU vitamin A, 15 mg vitamin C, 4 mcg folic acid, 186 mg potassium, 3 mg sodium, 14 mg phosphorus, 13 mg calcium, and 18 mg magnesium. .....
Acorn Squash
40. Acorn squash is one of the winter squashes, which in temperate climates are harvested in the autumn when their seeds have matured and their outer skins have hardened into a rind. They’re called “winter” squashes because, before refrigeration, they could be kept and eaten through the winter.
As you might guess from the acorn squash’s orange flesh, it is a good source of antioxidant carotenes. It also provides the minerals magnesium, manganese, potassium, and calcium, and vitamins A and C.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of baked acorn squash cubes provides 57 calories, 14.9 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 4.5 g dietary fiber, 437 IU vitamin A, 11 mg vitamin C, 19 mcg folic acid, 446 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 46 mg phosphorus, 45 mg calcium, and 44 mg magnesium. .....
Artichokes
41. Before the health Benefits of the Mediterranean diet were well-known, there was probably no single food more emblematic of Mediterranean cuisine than the globe artichoke. And indeed, artichokes contain fructans, such as inulin; cynarin, which appears to help lower cholesterol and protect liver cells; and luteolin, an antioxidant that may also be involved in healthy carbohydrate metabolism.
The edible part of the artichoke is the flower bud. The feathery part known as the “choke” is the immature flower. If it is allowed to bloom, the flower resembles a thistle, with a purple feathery top. Artichoke hearts are well worth the effort of nibbling away the leaves and peeling back the choke, for they are very rich in antioxidants.
A cup of artichoke hearts has as high an Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) rating as a cup of blackberries.
Artichokes are a good source of the minerals magnesium, chromium, manganese, and potassium, as well as vitamins A and C, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and biotin. They also provide dietary fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium boiled artichoke provides 150 calories, 33.5 g carbohydrate, 10.4 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 16.2 g dietary fiber, 531 IU vitamin A, 30 mg vitamin C, 3 mg niacin, 153 mcg folic acid, 1062 mg potassium, 285 mg sodium, 258 mg phosphorus, 135 mg calcium, 3.87 mg iron, 180 mg magnesium, and 1.47 mg zinc. .....
Black Turtle Beans
42. Although there are several kinds of beans that are black, the black beans most widely used in American cuisine are those that are sometimes called turtle beans. Their dark color indicates a high concentration of anthocyanins, flavonoids known for their antioxidant effect. A half-cup serving of black beans has an ORAC score similar to that of plums, cranberries, grapes, and apples.
Black beans, like most other beans, are rich in fiber, protein, and minerals. They are also an especially good source of molybdenum.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled black beans provides 113.5 calories, 20.4 g carbohydrate, 7.6 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 7.5 g dietary fiber, 5 IU vitamin A, 128 mcg folic acid, 305.5 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 120.5 mg phosphorus, 23 mg calcium, 1.8 mg iron, 60 mg magnesium, and 0.96 mg zinc. .....
Butternut Squash
43. Butternut squash is another winter squash. It has a dense, smooth, orangey-colored flesh, evidence of its rich supply of carotenoids. Indeed, half a cup of baked butternut squash provides 9,368 mcg of beta-carotene. It is high in fiber; in the vitamins A, B6, C, and folate; and in the minerals manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Butternut squash is a package of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories—good for your heart, metabolism, and immune system. Its sweet taste and high fiber make it a filling and sustaining addition to fall and winter meals.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of baked butternut squash provides 41 calories, 10.7 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2.87 g dietary fiber, 7141 IU vitamin A, 15 mg vitamin C, 1 mg niacin, 20 mcg folic acid, 290 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 28 mg phosphorus, 42 mg calcium, and 30 mg magnesium. .....
Corn Maize
44. Corn plays two important roles: It is both a grain and a vegetable. Although some heirloom species can serve as a vegetable when harvested young (at the “milk” stage) and also serve as a grain when allowed to ripen further and dried, most of the corn we eat today has been bred for one use or the other. The sweet corn we eat as a vegetable, either in kernels or on the cob, has a relatively high sugar content, which helps it retain its sweet taste even if it has to travel far from the field. This corn is a good source of B vitamins, including thiamine, pantothenic acid, and folates; vitamins A, C, and E; and the minerals magnesium and phosphorus. It is also a relatively good source of some amino acids, though it is not a complete protein.
The word “corn” originally meant any type of grain, and in England and many other parts of the world, it still does. In those settings, the word “maize” is used for what we in the United States call “corn.” When English visitors first arrived in North America, they called the grain the Native Americans grew “Indian corn.” In the United States, this term eventually shortened to “corn,” the term in general use today. Increasingly, as people rediscover the more colorful heirloom varieties, the term “Indian corn” has been used to apply to them.
Since many of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals in foods are found in their pigments (anthocyanins in blue and purple foods, lycopenes in red ones), corn’s various colors provide intriguing nutritional possibilities. The common yellow corns are rich in carotenes, but red, pink, black, white, and blue corn varieties may be found to have different “secret weapons” to benefit health.
Some types of corn even have different colored kernels on the same ears. Yellow sweet corn is an excellent source of lutein, a nutrient that is also found in the retina and that may play a role in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked corn provides 89 calories, 20.6 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g protein, 1 g fat, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 178 IU vitamin A, 5 mg vitamin C, 1.3 mg niacin, 38 mcg folic acid, 204 mg potassium, 14 mg sodium, 84 mg phosphorus, 2 mg calcium, and 26 mg magnesium. .....
Garbanzo Beans Chickpeas
45. Garbanzo beans are a high-protein staple in many parts of the world, as the many names for them—including chickpea, ceci bean, and bengal gram—attest.
In addition to providing almost a third of the daily recommendation for protein, a cup of chickpeas provides about a third of the fiber, too. They are a good source of the minerals phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value for the trace mineral manganese. Garbanzos are also a significant source of folate, vital to circulatory and heart health. Garbanzo beans contain saponins, some of which may act as antioxidants.
Because they are such a good source of soluble fiber, garbanzo beans help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol. The fiber and protein combination means Carbohydrates: Starchy Vegetables 77 that garbanzos will keep you feeling full for a long time. They can be balanced with a whole grain to provide a more complete, high quality protein.
Although very few cases have been reported in North America, in countries where garbanzo beans form a significant part of the cuisine, such as India, allergies to them are relatively common, and the reactions can be severe or even life threatening.
Like many other dried legumes, garbanzos also are moderately high in oxalates, and people with a history of kidney stones or vulvar pain may wish to limit the amount of garbanzo beans they eat.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked garbanzo beans provides 134.5 calories, 22.5 g carbohydrate, 7.3 g protein, 2.1 g fat, 6.3 g dietary fiber, 22 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 141 mcg folic acid, 238.5 mg potassium, 5.5 mg sodium, 138 mg phosphorus, 40 mg calcium, 2.37 mg iron, 39.5 mg magnesium, 1.25 mg zinc, and 0.84 mg manganese. .....
Green Peas
46. Peas are another food that is available in two forms—fresh or frozen, and dried.
Fresh or frozen green peas are a great source of vitamin C and thiamine, as well as a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, and folate. They are also a good source of the minerals iron, zinc, and phosphorus, and provide a reasonable amount of both protein and fiber. Green peas are also a very good source of lutein, which may help preserve eyesight and prevent the thickening of arterial walls. Combined with the B vitamins and fiber, this makes peas a good choice for keeping the heart and circulatory system healthy.
Another type of fresh pea has edible pods—snow peas and sugar snap peas.
These have much the same nutrient profile as green peas, with the pods providing somewhat more vitamin C and potassium.
Dried peas become an even more important source of protein, while keeping much of their iron and folate value. A cup of dried split peas has more than 48 grams of protein and 50 grams of dietary fiber, but it will have lost its lutein and most of its vitamin C.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked frozen peas provides 62 calories, 11.4 g carbohydrate, 4.1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 4.4 g dietary fiber, 534 IU vitamin A, 8 mg vitamin C, 1.2 mg niacin, 47 mcg folic acid, 134 mg potassium, 70 mg sodium, 72 mg phosphorus, 19 mg calcium, 1.26 mg iron, and 23 mg magnesium. .....
Kidney Beans
47. Although long prized for their high protein and fiber content, kidney beans have gained new respect due to their high antioxidant content. In a study by the USDA, kidney beans showed nearly as much antioxidant capacity as wild blueberries.
Kidney beans are also a good source of folate, magnesium, iron, zinc, and molybdenum.
Because they are high in fiber and protein, they help to stabilize blood sugar. Their panel of minerals, combined with the fiber, Benefits the heart and circulation. And the potential value of antioxidants in preventing all kinds of age-related diseases, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s, gives these beans a place on any list of SuperFoods.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked kidney beans provides 112.5 calories, 20.2 g carbohydrate, 7.7 g protein, 0.45 g fat, 6.5 g dietary fiber, 114.5 mcg folic acid, 356.5 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 125.5 mg phosphorus, 25 mg calcium, 2.6 mg iron, 40 mg magnesium, 0.95 mg zinc, and 0.42 mg manganese. .....
Lentils
48. Lentils are among the legumes that are highest in protein, though they are low in two essential amino acids and need to be balanced by grains to provide complete protein. They look like split peas—the result of growing two in a pod, pre-split by nature.
In addition to providing protein and fiber, lentils are a good source of thiamine and other B vitamins, potassium, and iron. Because much of their fiber is soluble, they are helpful in stabilizing blood sugar and in lowering cholesterol.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked lentils provides 115 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 7.8 g dietary fiber, 8 IU vitamin A, 1.5 mg vitamin C, 1 mg niacin, 0.63 mg pantothenic acid, 179 mcg folic acid, 365.5 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 178 mg phosphorus, 19 mg calcium, 3.3 mg iron, 35.5 mg magnesium, 1.25 mg zinc, and 0.49 mg manganese. .....
Lima Beans Butter Beans
49. Lima beans, a great source of fiber and protein, are another legume that is eaten in both fresh and dried forms. A cup of cooked fresh lima beans provides 11.6 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber, while a cup of cooked dried limas provides 14.7 grams of protein and 13.2 grams of fiber.
Lima beans are a good source of several minerals, including copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as the B vitamins folate and thiamine. Fresh limas also provide some vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
The magnesium and potassium help regulate blood pressure. Along with the folate and fiber, these beans are good for your heart.
One caution: Raw lima beans contain linamarin, a compound that can break down into the poison hydrogen cyanide in the human digestive tract. Cooking lima beans neutralizes the risk, and the varieties used for food are generally low in the substance. Linamarin may also contribute to glucose intolerance and diabetes, but studies have not been definitive.
Lima beans also contain protease inhibitors, which frustrate the development of cancerous cells.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked lima beans provides 108 calories, 19.7 g carbohydrate, 7.4 g protein, 0.35 g fat, 6.6 g dietary fiber, 78 mcg folic acid, 477.5 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 104.5 mg phosphorus, 16 mg calcium, 2.2 mg iron, 40.5 mg magnesium, 0.9 mg zinc, and 0.22 mg copper. .....
Navy Beans
50. Navy beans, also known as small white beans and pea beans, are among the most versatile beans to cook with. High in protein, they are also very high in fiber—even among the dried legumes. A cup of cooked navy beans provides 19 grams of dietary fiber! Navy beans are a very good source of folate and manganese and a good source of thiamine, as well as the minerals phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked navy beans provides 129 calories, 24 g carbohydrate, 7.9 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 5.8 g dietary fiber, 2 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 127.5 mcg folic acid, 335 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 143 mg phosphorus, 63.5 mg calcium, 2.25 mg iron, 53.5 mg magnesium, 0.96 mg zinc, and 0.51 mg manganese. .....
Pinto Beans
51. Pinto beans are another healthy standby whose antioxidant power has only recently come to be appreciated. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, pinto beans have more antioxidant power than domestic blueberries.
Carbohydrates: Starchy Vegetables 85 Of course, they’re also a great source of fiber, carbohydrate, protein, and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and molybdenum, as well as folate. All this makes them particularly good at lowering the risk of some common chronic diseases, particularly heart disease and diabetes. Their soluble fiber lowers cholesterol; the folate helps reduce the risk of heart attack; and magnesium and potassium help regulate blood pressure. Molybdenum helps break down sulfites and may assist in antioxidant activities.
Like other beans, pinto beans combine with whole grains to provide complete protein, and their high fiber and protein content mean that their carbohydrate content is released relatively slowly into the bloodstream, which gives them a low glycemic index.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked pinto beans provides 126 calories, 22 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 0.9 g fat, 7.4 g dietary fiber, 1.5 IU vitamin A, 2 mg vitamin C, 147 mcg folic acid, 137 mg phosphorus, 41 mg calcium, 2.2 mg iron, 47 mg magnesium, and 0.93 mg zinc. .....
Potatoes
52. The potato is an incredibly healthy food that has gotten a bad reputation, largely because it can be prepared in ways that counteract its benefits. Baked and served in its skin, a potato is a surprisingly good source of vitamin C, as well as potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and other B vitamins, copper, manganese, and even some lutein.
The key to getting the Benefits of potatoes is to eat them baked rather than fried. But if you are absolutely having a French fry craving, go ahead and LIVIT— enjoy a few to satisfy the craving and to help prevent overloading on them when the craving gets out of control.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium-large potato with skin provides 220 calories, 51 g carbohydrate, 4.6 g protein, 4.8 g dietary fiber, 26 mg vitamin C, 3.3 mg niacin, 22 mcg folic acid, 1.12 mg pantothenic acid, 844 mg potassium, 16 mg sodium, 115 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, 2.75 mg iron, and 55 mg magnesium. .....
Pumpkin
53. Pumpkins are closely related to squash and, like squash, have lots of alpha- and beta-carotenes and vitamin A, as evidenced by their rich orange color. Pumpkin also provides many of the B vitamins, including folate; some vitamin C; and the electrolyte minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. One cup of cooked mashed pumpkin also contains 2,484 mg of lutein. High in fiber, pumpkin is also somewhat sweeter than many other squashes, which allows it to be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of boiled, drained, and mashed pumpkin provides 49 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g protein, 0 g fat, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 12230 IU vitamin A, 11.5 mg vitamin C, 1 mg niacin, 22 mcg folic acid, 0.5 mg pantothenic acid, 564 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 74 mg phosphorus, 37 mg calcium, 1.4 mg iron, and 22 mg magnesium. .....
Quinoa
54. Although quinoa may be unfamiliar to North Americans, it was a staple food for the Incas and has been grown in the Andes for more than 5,000 years. Technically a “pseudocereal,” quinoa is often considered a grain, even though it is not a grass. It is more closely related to beets and spinach. Unlike wheat and other grains, it is gluten- free, but it can be substituted for grain in most recipes. Although primarily a carbohydrate, quinoa is relatively high in protein—one cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein—and it contains all of the essential amino acids. A good source of magnesium, manganese, and calcium, quinoa also provides vitamin B2, vitamin E, iron, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. It is higher in fat than many true grains.
Quinoa is a source of oxalates, which may cause problems for those with a history of kidney stones or other conditions that require a low-oxalate diet.
The outside of raw quinoa is covered with saponins, which were traditionally used as a diuretic and laxative. If you don’t want these effects, be sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking it.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked quinoa provides 222 calories, 39.4 g carbohydrate, 8.1 g protein, 3.6 g fat, 5.2 g dietary fiber, 1 mg sodium, 281 mg phosphorus, 2.76 mg iron, and 0.2 mg riboflavin. .....
Red Beans Small Red Beans
55. Small red beans have never been as well-known as their larger and meatier cousin, the red kidney bean. But they stepped into the spotlight in 2007 when the USDA discovered that small red beans had the highest antioxidant activity of all the foods tested.
Because many antioxidants are contained in plant pigments, it stands to reason that these small, dark-red beans would be a rich source of them. But scientists were surprised when these beans stole the show—small red beans showed higher antioxidant activity than wild blueberries.
Research at Colorado State University confirms that the phenol and anthocyanins that give bean coats their color have antioxidant properties and posits that there is a link between a darker seed coat and higher phenol levels.
Carbohydrates: Starchy Vegetables 91 Beans have long been known for their fiber, protein, and minerals, as well as their antioxidant properties. Small red beans are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of canned small red beans provides 100 calories, 17 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, 39 mg calcium, and 65 mg sodium. .....
Sweet Potatoes
56. Sweet potatoes have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. Originally from South America, sweet potatoes are now grown all over the world. Rich in fiber, protein, vitamins A and C, and the minerals iron and calcium, sweet potatoes are also packed with carotene and anthocyanins—the powerful antioxidants.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest ranked the baked sweet potato the most nutritious of all vegetables with a score of 184. That’s 100 points higher than the runner-up, the baked white potato.
Carbohydrates: Starchy Vegetables 93
Nutritional Facts :
One medium sweet potato baked with skin provides 117 calories, 27.7 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 3.4 g dietary fiber, 24877 IU vitamin A, 28 mg vitamin C, 26 mcg folic acid, 397 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 63 mg phosphorus, 32 mg calcium, and 23 mg magnesium. .....
Tomato Paste
57. Tomatoes are the number one source of lycopene in the American diet, and cooking them makes this vital antioxidant up to four times more bioavailable, so tomato paste is actually higher in usable lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Just a tablespoon of tomato paste contains 4,602 mcg of lycopene.
Tomato paste is also a surprisingly good source of fiber and protein, vitamins A and C, and potassium.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of canned tomato paste provides 107 calories, 25.3 g carbohydrate, 4.8 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 5.4 g dietary fiber, 3203 IU vitamin A, 56 mg vitamin C, 4.2 mg niacin, 29 mcg folic acid, 1227 mg potassium, 115 mg sodium, 103 mg phosphorus, 46 mg calcium, 2.54 mg iron, 67 mg magnesium, 1.05 mg zinc, and 0.68 mg manganese. .....
Winter Squash
58. Winter squash have that name because they kept well and were able to provide a source of vegetable nutrition through the winter before the era of refrigeration.
Most winter squash are harvested in the autumn, by which time they have matured to have a hard rind. (Indeed, it used to be traditional to cut winter squash with the axe used to trim firewood!) Some winter squash have already been listed individually earlier in this chapter— acorn squash, butternut squash, and pumpkin. Other winter squash include the buttercup, delicata, Hubbard, candy roaster, Lakota, Arikara, and spaghetti squash. Most varieties are good sources of beta-carotene, the B vitamins (including folate), vitamins A and C, potassium, copper, and fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of baked winter squash provides 40 calories, 8.9 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 2.9 g dietary fiber, 3628 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 0.7 mg niacin, 29 mcg folic acid, 446 mg potassium, 20 mg phosphorus, 14 mg calcium, and 8 mg magnesium. .....
Yams
59. Yams are a good source of vitamins B6 and C and the minerals potassium and manganese, as well as dietary fiber. Vitamin B6 is instrumental in breaking down homocysteine, lowering the risk of heart attack. The potassium and fiber in yams help control blood pressure. Yams have a lower glycemic index than true potatoes.
Some types of yams contain a steroid, diosgenin, that has been used by the pharmaceutical industry to synthesize human hormones, including cortisone, estrogen, and progesterone, but the body has not been shown to convert this steroid on its own. Still, there are some intriguing hormone connections. In studies on rats, the starch from Chinese yams has shown promise in reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of baked yams provides 79 calories, 18.8 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 8 mg vitamin C, 11 mcg folic acid, 456 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 33 mg phosphorus, 10 mg calcium, and 12 mg magnesium. .....
Yellow Wax Beans
60. Yellow wax beans, like green (snap) beans, are immature bean pods eaten as a vegetable.
While it is possible to eat the young pods of nearly any common bean, special varieties have been developed that produce a succulent, fleshy young pod.
Yellow beans are a good source of lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin A, so they are good for vision health. Lutein and beta-carotene have antioxidant effects that may help slow the effects of aging and prevent some cancers. Vitamin A may also be involved in maintaining epithelial cells—the cells that line the digestive tract and lungs. There is also a purple wax bean that may one day prove to be a good source of anthocyanins.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked yellow wax beans provides 92 calories, 4.9 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g protein, 0.17 g fat, 2.1 g dietary fiber, 51 IU vitamin A, 6.1 mg vitamin C, 21 mcg folic acid, 187 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 24 mg phosphorus, 29 mg calcium, 0.8 mg iron, 16 mg magnesium, and 0.23 mg zinc. .....
Asparagus
61. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K; B vitamins, including folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and B6; and vitamins A and C. It is a good source of the minerals iron, potassium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus. Asparagus provides plenty of fiber and, for a vegetable, a substantial amount of protein.
Asparagus contains asparagine, a non-essential amino acid that contributes to its protein content. It also contains asparagusic acid, which is unique to asparagus.
One effect of asparagusic acid is that it causes an unusual smell in the urine of people who have eaten the vegetable. It is known in some folk medicine traditions for its diuretic properties, when this effect may be even more apparent! It has also been used for rheumatism and arthritis, and its effectiveness there suggests anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutritional Facts :
Six spears of cooked asparagus provide 22 calories, 3.8 g carbohydrate, 2.3 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 485 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 1 mg niacin, 131 mcg folic acid, 144 mg potassium, 10 mg sodium, 49 mg phosphorus, 18 mg calcium, and 9 mg magnesium. .....
Beets
62. Both the roots and the leaves of the beet are used for food. The roots, with their beautiful, rich red color, are a source of anthocyanins, which can be strong antioxidants.
A 2008 study found that drinking beet juice lowered blood pressure, and researchers theorized that this was because of the nitrates in beets. This finding seems somewhat ironic, because nitrites and nitrates have long been suspected of creating carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach’s acid environment. But nitrates and nitrites are also involved in a cycle that produces nitrous oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. More research must be done to tease out the particulars.
Beet juice appears to help protect the integrity of cells lining the stomach and digestive tract. Thus it may benefit people taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are known to damage these cells. For the same reason, it may also help reduce adverse reactions to chemotherapy.
Beets provide the minerals phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, along with vitamins A and C, and the B vitamins folic acid, niacin, and biotin. They are rich in fiber, and although a half-cup serving of cooked beets contains more carbohydrate than most of the vegetables in this chapter, their unique Benefits make them a powerful SuperFood.
Beet greens are in some ways even more nutritious than the root. A half cup of cooked beet greens has fewer carbohydrates, more protein, more fiber, more of vitamins A and C, and more potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese than the beet root, and only about half its calories. What beet greens lack is the red pigment that may be the beet root’s magic ingredient.
Nutritional Facts :
(cooked beets) One-half cup of cooked fresh beets provides 37 calories, 8.5 g carbohydrate, 1.4 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.7 g dietary fiber, 30 IU vitamin A, 3 mg vitamin C, 68 mcg folic acid, 259 mg potassium, 65 mg sodium, 32 mg phosphorus, 14 mg calcium, 0.67 mg iron, 20 mg magnesium, and 0.28 mg manganese.
(cooked beet greens) One-half cup of cooked beet greens provides 19 calories, 3.9 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2.1 g dietary fiber, 5511 IU vitamin A, 17.9 mg vitamin C, 10 mcg folic acid, 654 mg potassium, 174 mg sodium, 30 mg phosphorus, 82 mg calcium, 1.37 mg iron, 49 mg magnesium, and 0.37 mg manganese. .....
Bell Peppers Red Yellow Green Orange
63. Bell peppers originated in Mexico, but they have traveled to all corners of the world and are essential to countless national cuisines. Bell peppers are the mild-mannered members of the capsicum family—not fiery, but sweet, which is what they are often called.
In addition to the relatively common colors of red, yellow, green, and orange, bell peppers can be found in many other colors from white to black, with purple, blue, maroon, and brown in between. As with other brightly colored fruits (peppers are technically a fruit, though they are used primarily as a vegetable in cooking), the pigments are a rich source of phytochemicals with antioxidant potential, including chlorogenic acid (which slows the release of glucose in the bloodstream), zeaxanthin (one of the two pigments, along with lutein, that are found in the retina), and coumaric acid (which may help prevent stomach cancer by inhibiting the formation of nitrosamines).
Green bell peppers are somewhat less sweet in taste and may have fewer phytochemical pigments than the other colors.
106 A good source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and the B vitamins thiamine, B6, and folic acid, peppers lower homocysteine levels in the blood (which reduces a known risk factor for heart attack) and provide support for eyes against retinal degeneration.
Peppers are low in calories, high in fiber, and 93 percent water by weight. They are one of the best vegetables for sustained release of hydration into the system— a kind of time-release water.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped raw bell peppers provides 14 calories, 3.2 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.9 g dietary fiber, 316 IU vitamin A, 45 mg vitamin C, 11 mcg folic acid, 89 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus, 5 mg calcium, and 5 mg magnesium. .....
Bok Choy
64. Bok choy, also called Chinese cabbage, is one of the cruciferous vegetables. This family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cabbage, turnips, and kohlrabi, provides some important cancer-fighting nutrients that are being studied for their potential to not only help prevent some forms of cancer, but also possibly reverse and treat them.
Bok choy is a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C, beta-carotene, the minerals calcium and potassium, and dietary fiber. The rich amount of beta-carotene (2,167 mcg in a half-cup of cooked bok choy) may even help reduce the risk of cataracts.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of shredded raw bok choy provides 9 calories, 1.5 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.14 g fat, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 3128 IU vitamin A, 31.5 mg vitamin C, 0.35 mg niacin, 0.06 mg pantothenic acid, 0.14 mg vitamin B6, 46 mcg folic acid, 25.1 mcg vitamin K, 74 mg calcium, 0.56 mg iron, 13 mg magnesium, 26 mg phosphorus, 176 mg potassium, 46 mg sodium, and 0.13 mg zinc. .....
Broccoli
65. Broccoli is an excellent source of the vitamins A, C, K, and folic acid; beta-carotene; and fiber. It’s a good source of the minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as well as vitamins B6 and E, and it provides some selenium as well.
Broccoli also provides a substantial amount of lutein, which can help preserve vision and has Benefits for circulatory health. The tight-packed florets of broccoli are extra-rich in nutrition.
Although the cancer-fighting chemicals in broccoli are diminished by cooking (especially boiling), cooking increases the bioavailability of vitamin C and iron in this vegetable. Be sure to enjoy it both ways.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of chopped raw broccoli provides 24 calories, 4.6 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 2.6 g dietary fiber, 1356 IU vitamin A, 82 mg vitamin C, 62 mcg folic acid, 286 mg potassium, 58 mg phosphorus, 24 mg sodium, 42 mg calcium, and 22 mg magnesium. .....
Brussels Sprouts
66. Brussels sprouts are the mid-range members of the cruciferous vegetable line and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and fiber.
Brussels sprouts have the potential to be especially good for supporting the health of your colon. As well as being high in fiber, Brussels sprouts are an especially rich source of sinigrin, which has been shown to prevent the formation of cancer cells.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 30 calories, 6.8 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, 561 IU vitamin A, 48 mg vitamin C, 47 mcg folic acid, 247 mg potassium, 16 mg sodium, 28 mg calcium, 44 mg phosphorus, 16 mg magnesium, and 0.94 mg iron. .....
Cabbage Green Red
67. Cabbage is the flagship of the cruciferous vegetables. One of the best non-fruit sources of vitamin C, it is also rich in folate and fiber, and it’s remarkably low in calories.
As early as 1949, researchers were studying the effect of cabbage juice on gastric ulcers. It appeared that the juice helped the ulcers to heal faster. Since we now know that most ulcers are caused by a bacterium, further study is needed to see why the cabbage juice appeared to be so effective, and whether cabbage juice alone possesses the healing property. (It’s possible that a quart a day of almost any highantioxidant vegetable juice might promote healing just as much!) Cabbage has long been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties and its positive effect on overall health.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of shredded raw red cabbage provides 18 calories, 4.2 grams carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 28 IU vitamin A, 40 mg vitamin C, 14 mcg folic acid, 144 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 30 mg phosphorus, 36 mg calcium, and 10 mg magnesium. .....
Carrots
68. Carrots are where carotene gets its name, and with good reason: One medium carrot contains 5,054 mcg of beta-carotene, 2,121 mcg of alpha-carotene, and a whopping 10,191 IU of vitamin A. One cup of carrots provides roughly 686 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A. A diet high in carotenes has been associated with significant decreases in the incidence of some cancers, including cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, esophagus, and post-menopausal breast cancer. Falcarinol is among the other substances in carrots being investigated for its potential cancer-preventive properties. Recent research suggests that getting carotenes from food is far more effective than consuming supplements.
It is possible that beta-carotene from food sources can even be dangerous when consumed in excess. For example, it appears to increase the incidence of lung cancer in smokers.
It’s more than a myth that carrots are good for your eyes. A carrot contains 1 mcg of lycopene and 156 mcg of lutein, both of which help protect and preserve the eye. A vitamin A deficiency can result in night blindness, though the connection between high carrot consumption and improved night vision is somewhat less solid.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium raw carrot provides 31 calories, 7.3 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2.2 g dietary fiber, 20253 IU vitamin A, 7 mg vitamin C, 10 mcg folic acid, 233 mg potassium, 25 mg sodium, 32 mg phosphorus, 19 mg calcium, and 11 mg magnesium. .....
Cauliflower
69. Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of many types of cancers, including lung, colon, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancers. Cauliflower is very high in vitamin C, and it’s a moderately good source of the B vitamins folate, B6, and pantothenic acid. As with most other cruciferous vegetables, it is also a good source of fiber.
The familiar white cauliflower is unusual among the common crucifers in being relatively low in vitamin A and carotenes, so for someone who is concerned about getting too much vitamin A, cauliflower is a way to get the advantages of some of the Brassica diindolylmethane and sulforaphane while limiting vitamin A intake.
The purple varieties are rich in anthocyanins, which give them their color. Green cauliflowers are slightly richer in nutrients than the white ones, with higher amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw cauliflower pieces provides 26 calories, 5.2 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2.6 g dietary fiber, 20 IU vitamin A, 46 mg vitamin C, 58 mcg folic acid, 304 mg potassium, 30 mg sodium, 44 mg phosphorus, 22 mg calcium, and 16 mg magnesium. .....
Celery
70. Celery is mostly fiber and water—by weight, celery is 1.6 percent dietary fiber and 95 percent water. It is an excellent source of vitamin C. Celery also provides the minerals potassium, calcium, molybdenum, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, as well as the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, folate, and B6.
Celery also provides some trace nutrients, including the male hormone androstenone and apiol, a substance that appears to affect the female hormonal system and was at one time used to induce miscarriage of unwanted pregnancies. The phthalides in celery help it to enhance flavor and richness in other foods, even when its own taste is overpowered. These compounds may also help arteries to dilate, reducing blood pressure.
Celery contains coumarins, the best known of which is the anti-coagulant warfarin.
Others, such as auraptene, have been shown in animal studies to help prevent cancers of the skin, tongue, esophagus, liver, and colon. Ensaculin is being investigated for its potential in treating dementia. It has not yet been proven effective for this purpose in humans, but its main side effect—low blood pressure—could be a health advantage in the long run. These compounds may also help reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. In the laboratory, other compounds appear to reduce the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.
The one drawback in celery’s nutritional package is that because so much of this vegetable is water and fiber, there’s just not a lot of room for these other nutrients— so you may have to eat a lot of celery to see its benefits.
Celery seed has an even longer medical history. It was at one time used as an analgesic, though modern testing has found no such effect.
A word of warning: For a small number of people, celery can cause a severe allergic reaction—including anaphylactic shock. There appears to be more of the allergen in celery root than in the stalks that are more commonly eaten in this country, with seeds containing the most. Cooking does not appear to destroy the allergen.
Nutritional Facts :
One raw stalk (7.5 inches long) of celery provides 6 calories, 1.5 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 54 IU vitamin A, 3 mg vitamin C, 11 mcg folic acid, 115 mg potassium, 35 mg sodium, 10 mg phosphorus, 16 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium. .....
Collard Greens
71. Collard greens, also referred to as collards, are a member of the cruciferous vegetable genus Brassica, which is rich in cancer fighters diindolylmethane and sulforaphane, as well as fiber. Collard greens provide antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; vitamin K and niacin; and carotenoids, including a substantial amount of lutein.
They are also a good source of zinc, manganese, calcium, and magnesium.
Collard greens are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of chopped and boiled collards provides 35 calories, 7.8 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 3.6 g dietary fiber, 3491 IU vitamin A, 15 mg vitamin C, 0.4 mg niacin, 8 mcg folic acid, 168 mg potassium, 20 mg sodium, 10 mg phosphorus, 29 mg calcium, 9 mg magnesium, and 0.20 mg iron. .....
Cucumber
72. Cucumbers are more than 95 percent water and nearly 4 percent carbohydrate by weight. They provide vitamins A, C, and K; folate and other B vitamins; carotenes; and the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They are an excellent hot weather snack, because they provide both water and electrolytes to help with hydration and blood pressure.
The compound that makes cucumber slices a kitchen remedy for puffy eyes is believed to be caffeic acid. Found in many plants, it is especially accessible in cucumbers and has been shown to be an antioxidant. It has also shown potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in laboratory studies.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw cucumber slices, with the peel, provides 16 calories, 3.8 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 109 IU vitamin A, 3 mg vitamin C, 7 mcg folic acid, 153 mg potassium, 25 mg phosphorus, 17 mg calcium, and 14 mg magnesium. .....
Eggplant
73. Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, and thiamine (vitamin B1). It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and niacin.
Although eggplant got its name from varieties that were white or yellow in color, the most common eggplant in North American cuisine is purple. That rich purple skin is the source of an interesting anthocyanin called nasunin. Nasunin has antioxidant properties, is a scavenger of free radicals, and has been shown in the laboratory to protect cell membranes, including brain cells, from oxidative damage.
Another eggplant nutrient, chlorogenic acid, is an antioxidant and works to slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream after eating. In fact, it’s sold in some countries as a weight-loss supplement.
Eggplant is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a lowoxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled eggplant provides 13 calories, 3.2 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.2 g dietary fiber, 31 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 7 mcg folic acid, 119 mg potassium, 11 mg phosphorus, 3 mg calcium, and 6 mg magnesium. .....
Green Beans
74. Green beans are low in calories, high in fiber, and full of nutrients. They provide antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin K and the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate. Minerals found in green beans include manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorus. This wealth of nutrients gives green beans great potential in preventing cancers, heart disease, and other illnesses in which inflammation plays a role.
Green beans are, however, another food that has measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a lowoxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled green beans provides 22 calories, 4.9 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, 413 IU vitamin A, 6 mg vitamin C, 21 mcg folic acid, 185 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 24 mg phosphorus, 29 mg calcium, and 16 mg magnesium. .....
Hot Peppers
75. What makes hot peppers hot is a group of six acids called capsaicinoids, primarily capsaicin. These compounds likely evolved because they discourage animals from eating the peppers and act as anti-fungal agents. But they have such a powerful and unique effect on the nerves and tissues of mammals, including humans, that they are being studied for a variety of possible health benefits.
Both in the laboratory and in animal studies, capsaicin has been shown to kill prostate cancer cells and to inhibit the onset of tumor growth and cell mutations that might lead to cancer. Some studies have also suggested that capsaicin may have a role to play in curbing obesity and treating type 1 diabetes, because it appears to reduce the amount of insulin needed to lower blood sugar after a meal. It also appears to inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes 80 percent of stomach ulcers. Because of its profound effect on nerves, it is used in a variety of pain-relief therapies. And because it acts on Substance P, which is involved in the body’s inflammatory response, it may turn out to be a strong anti-inflammatory.
Studies have shown that countries where the cuisine includes a lot of hot pepper have lower rates of heart disease and stroke.
Hot peppers are also high in vitamins A and C, the B vitamins (especially B6), and the minerals potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Nutritional Facts :
One raw hot chili pepper provides 18 calories, 4.3 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 347 IU vitamin A, 109 mg vitamin C, 11 mcg folic acid, 153 mg potassium, 3 mg sodium, 21 mg phosphorus, 8 mg calcium, 11 mg magnesium, and 0.14 mg zinc. .....
Jicama
76. Jicama is mostly water. It is a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. It also contains inulin, which is partly responsible for its sweet taste. In addition, inulin increases the absorption of calcium, and possibly of magnesium. Combined with the fiber and water found in jicama, these nutrients help both hydration and blood pressure. Although it is a sweet-tasting source of fiber, it does not appear to raise blood sugar or triglyceride levels.
Nutritional Facts :
Three and one-half ounces of raw jicama provides 46 calories, 10.6 g carbohydrate, 0.86 g protein, 0.11 g fat, 5.8 g dietary fiber, 19 IU vitamin A, 24 mg vitamin C, 8 mcg folic acid, 135 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 16 mg phosphorus, 11 mg calcium, and 11 mg magnesium. .....
Kale
77. Kale is a leafy member of the Brassica genus. As a dark, green leafy vegetable, it is rich in vitamin K. In addition to the Benefits typical of the cruciferous vegetables, kale also provides a flavonoid called kaempferol that appears to reduce the risk of heart disease. In one 8-year study, kaempferol, in combination with the flavonoids quercetin and myricetin, reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23 percent.
Kale is rich in the antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as several carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds help protect vision and lower the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. It is also a good source of B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and B6, and the minerals calcium and iron.
Kale is one of a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a lowoxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked, chopped kale provides 21 calories, 3.7 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 1.3 g dietary fiber, 4810 IU vitamin A, 27 mg vitamin C, 9 mcg folic acid, 148 mg potassium, 15 mg sodium, 18 mg phosphorus, 47 mg calcium, and 12 mg magnesium. .....
Kelp
78. Kelp is included here as an example of the “sea vegetables”—oceanic plants that are eaten in many parts of the world, from Ireland and the Canadian Maritimes to Japan and Korea. They are especially rich in minerals, including calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, and trace minerals. They also contain vitamin A.
Because of the mineral-rich environment of the sea, kelp provides the broadest range of minerals of any food. Kelp is an excellent source of vitamin K, and provides the B vitamins folate, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. People who eat kelp have been found to have a lower risk of intestinal and breast cancers. Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine, necessary to healthy thyroid function and the prevention of goiter. If you have stopped using ordinary iodized table salt, you may wish to add sea vegetables to your meals to provide this essential mineral. You can even keep a container of kelp flakes on the dinner table and use it instead of table salt for seasoning foods.
Nutritional Facts :
Three and one-half ounces of raw kelp provides 43 calories, 9.6 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 1.3 g dietary fiber, 116 IU vitamin A, 3 mg vitamin C, 180 mcg folic acid, 89 mg potassium, 42 mg phosphorus, 233 mg sodium, 168 mg calcium, 2.85 mg iron, 121 mg magnesium, and 1.23 mg zinc. .....
Leeks
79. Leeks are popular in traditional European foods because these plants, close relatives of onions and garlic, could be left in the ground during the winter and harvested as needed, providing a rare source of fresh winter produce. The Allium family, to which leeks, garlic, and onions belong, have long been recognized for their cardiovascular benefits. Allicin, the compound that gives these vegetables their characteristic aromas, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, is an anti-inflammatory, and may help reduce fat deposits and hardening in blood vessels. Allicin breaks down into components that appear to be strong antioxidants. A diet rich in Alliums tends to lower both blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Leeks are a very good source of manganese and a good source of vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, and iron. This combination of nutrients helps stabilize blood sugar by slowing the absorption of sugars in the digestive tract and assisting in proper sugar metabolism.
Leeks are among the vegetables that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, which can cause problems for people with kidney disease, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, vulvar pain, or other conditions requiring a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked chopped leeks provides 16 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 0.6 g dietary fiber, 25 IU vitamin A, 2 mg vitamin C, 12 mcg folic acid, 46 mg potassium, 6 mg sodium, 8 mg phosphorus, 16 mg calcium, and 8 mg magnesium. .....
Lettuce
80. Almost all of the lettuces are low in calories and high in fiber, and provide vitamins A, C, and K; B vitamins thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate; carotenes, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin; and the minerals manganese, potassium, and iron. The traditional iceberg lettuce is the least nutrient-dense of the lettuces. Romaine is probably the richest nutrient source among them; it is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and folate, as well as the minerals manganese and chromium. It also provides vitamins B1 and B2, potassium, molybdenum, iron, and phosphorus. Many of the leaf lettuces offer nearly as good a nutrient profile as romaine, so you don’t need to give up variety.
The mix of minerals, fiber, and antioxidants in romaine help it lower blood cholesterol and reduce the formation of fatty plaques in arteries. The potassium and other minerals help lower blood pressure, and the B vitamins help support and increase your metabolism.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of shredded raw romaine provides 8 calories, 1.4 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 1456 IU vitamin A, 14 mg vitamin C, 76 mcg folic acid, 162 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 26 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium. .....
Mushrooms
81. There was a time when the only mushrooms you could get in United States supermarkets were white “button” mushrooms. Now, we have access to a wealth of different tasty fungi. Shiitake, straw, crimini, enoki, and portobello are among the most common. Most share similar nutrition profiles: Many species are high in fiber and protein and provide several B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.
Brown mushrooms appear to provide more antioxidants.
White button mushrooms provide vitamin D, one of the very few non-animal sources for this vitamin. Vitamin D is essential to calcium metabolism and bone health. Deficiency in vitamin D is implicated in a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to Parkinson’s disease, including coronary and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D also appears to play a role in the immune system, and it produces a hormone that has been effective against cancer cells in laboratory tests. White mushrooms may provide some major components of vitamin B12, though whether this is in a form that can be used by the body remains uncertain.
Shiitake mushrooms have a long history of medicinal use in China. Ming Dynasty physician Wu Juei wrote that shiitakes were a tonic against a variety of ills, including premature aging. In modern times, a compound found in shiitakes called lentinan has been investigated for its potential tumor-inhibiting capabilities, as well as its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It appears to stimulate the production of white blood cells and other components of the immune system used to fight disease.
Another compound in shiitakes, lenthionine, keeps blood platelets from sticking together and may help prevent blood clots and stroke. Ergothioneine, found in shiitakes and several other mushrooms (notably oyster and maitake mushrooms), is an antioxidant, but it behaves differently than other sulfur-containing antioxidants (such as those in Allium and Brassica foods). Mushrooms are the richest source of this compound, which scavenges free hydroxyl radicals and may help protect against nitric oxides and regulate metal-carrying enzymes.
Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium and a very good source of iron. They are also a good source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin C.
Nutritional Facts :
(raw mushrooms) One-half cup of raw mushrooms provides 9 calories, 1.6 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 1 mg vitamin C, 1.4 mg niacin, 7 mcg folic acid, 130 mg potassium, 36 mg phosphorus, 2 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium.
(dried shiitake mushrooms) One ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms provides 83 calories, 21.1 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 3.2 g dietary fiber, 1 mg vitamin C, 4 mg niacin, 46 mcg folic acid, 430 mg potassium, 82 mg phosphorus, 3 mg calcium, and 37 mg magnesium. .....
Mustard Greens
82. Mustard greens are another leafy member of the Brassica genus. An excellent source of the three antioxidant vitamins, A, C, and E, mustard greens are also a very good source of magnesium, which helps with muscle cramps and may help keep the smooth muscles lining the airways relaxed, which can be helpful to persons with asthma. Mustard greens are known to play a vital role in keeping blood pressure low. They are also an excellent source of calcium. The balance of calcium and magnesium is important to maintaining hydration as well as to healthy bones and blood pressure. Like other green leafy vegetables, mustard greens are full of fiber, carotenes, and vitamin K.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped, boiled mustard greens provides 11 calories, 1.5 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 2122 IU vitamin A, 18 mg vitamin C, 51 mcg folic acid, 141 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 29 mg phosphorus, 52 mg calcium, and 11 mg magnesium. .....
Onions
83. Onions are a very good source of vitamin C and chromium, and they also provide manganese, molybdenum, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
Onions, like leeks, garlic, and shallots, are members of the Allium family, a group of plants with a characteristic taste caused by sulfur compounds that also have some powerful Benefits for human health. These sulfur compounds are being investigated for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, and cancer-fighting potential. Eating onions and other Allium vegetables regularly is associated with a lowered incidence of several types of cancers. The sulfur compounds are also known to help lower blood pressure and keep plaque from forming in blood vessels, and the B6 that they provide helps reduce blood levels of homocysteine.
Onions do a lot to help preserve cardiovascular health! The chromium in onions is essential to the proper metabolism of sugar, and people at risk for diabetes may benefit from its glucose-regulating properties.
Another sulfur compound in onions that’s come under study more recently may help prevent the absorption of bone, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Tests have suggested that the more pungent the onion, the more phenols and flavonoids it has—and the more likely it is to have a positive effect on your health.
Eat the mild, sweet onions, too, but don’t avoid the sharp ones. This is a vegetable worth risking the occasional watery eye for!
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped raw onion provides 30 calories, 6.9 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 5 mg vitamin C, 15 mcg folic acid, 126 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 26 mg phosphorus, 16 mg calcium, and 8 mg magnesium. .....
Parsley
84. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a good source of iron and folate. If eaten in quantities appropriate for a vegetable rather than a spice, it can provide calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, beta-carotene, and lutein. Parsley will also cleanse both your palate and your breath after a meal! Parsley contains some interesting chemical compounds that warrant further study: volatile oils, including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene, and antioxidant flavonoids, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. The volatile oils have shown potential to prevent the formation of cancerous tumors and may have positive effects on mood and cognition. Parsley has also shown potential for reducing inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
These complex chemicals have not yet been fully studied, and some are known to have toxic effects when taken in large doses. For example, parsley also contains apiol, a substance that appears to affect the female hormonal system and was at one time used to induce miscarriage of unwanted pregnancies. For this reason, pregnant women should not use parsley seeds or essential oil of parsley in medicinal quantities.
Parsley also contains measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped fresh parsley provides 11 calories, 1.9 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 1560 IU vitamin A, 40 mg vitamin C, 46 mcg folic acid, 166 mg potassium, 17 mg sodium, 17 mg phosphorus, 41 mg calcium, 1.86 mg iron, and 15 mg magnesium. .....
Parsnips
85. Parsnips are an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, manganese, and fiber. They also provide vitamin E; the B vitamins niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and B6; and the minerals magnesium and potassium.
Parsnips are lower in calories and provide only about half as much protein and vitamin C as potatoes, but they contain more fiber and folic acid. Although closely related to carrots, they lack beta-carotene and, consequently, the orange color. Parsnips provide more potassium than carrots.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled parsnips provides 63 calories, 15.2 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 3.1 g dietary fiber, 10 mg vitamin C, 45 mcg folic acid, 286 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 54 mg phosphorus, 29 mg calcium, and 23 mg magnesium. .....
Radishes
86. Radishes, perhaps surprisingly, are yet another cruciferous vegetable. The familiar red, white, or purple radish seen in grocery stores is a spring or summer radish. It is rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, as well as a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. Radishes are also relatively high in fiber.
Radish greens are said to have six times the vitamin C of the roots, and they provide calcium as well. The Oriental radish, also known as daikon, is a larger, winter radish. It is also a good source of vitamin C.
As with the other cruciferous vegetables, radishes contain compounds that show potential in fighting cancer. Daikon also contains an enzyme called myrosinase that is believed to help in digestion and that, in the presence of water, converts to thiocyanates and isothiocyanates, some of which may be involved in the radish’s anti-cancer benefits.
Nutritional Facts :
(summer radishes) Ten medium raw summer radishes provide 8 calories, 1.6 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 4 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 12 mcg folic acid, 104 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 8 mg phosphorus, 9 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium.
(oriental radish) One raw Oriental radish (daikon) provides 61 calories, 13.9 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 0.34 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, 74.4 mg vitamin C, 95 mcg folic acid, 767 mg potassium, 71 mg sodium, 78 mg phosphorus, 91 mg calcium, and 54 mg magnesium. .....
Rhubarb
87. Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and calcium, and it also provides some potassium. Rhubarb is very low in calories, and half of its carbohydrates are dietary fiber. Since it is very tart, rhubarb is usually sweetened with sugar when cooked. Its unusual flavor has led to its use in traditional medicine in many regions. It is known for its laxative effect, and the roots were initially cultivated for use as a purgative or cathartic.
More recently, researchers have been investigating rhubarb’s potential as a cancer- fighting food. Anthraquinones in rhubarb appear to attack cancer cells in several different ways, including starving tumor cells by interfering with their ability to take in glucose, limiting their proliferation, and preventing metastasis (the traveling of cancer cells to other parts of the body). One rhubarb extract may also help relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Another appears to help constrict blood vessels, useful for stopping bleeding. Rhubarb also appears to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Rhubarb, however, is a food that not only contains measurable amounts of oxalates, but is actually quite high in them. The leaves are so high in oxalic acid that they are regarded as poisonous, and although they were used in some traditional soups, it is better to avoid eating them altogether. The leaves also contain a second toxin, possibly anthraquinone glycoside, which is thought to be related to its laxative effect. The stalks contain much less oxalate, and these can be eaten by those who are not at risk. However, rhubarb can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of frozen raw rhubarb provides 29 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein. 0.2 g fat, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 147 IU vitamin A, 7 mg vitamin C, 11 mcg folic acid, 148 mg potassium, 3 mg sodium, 266 mg calcium, 16 mg phosphorus, and 25 mg magnesium. .....
Rutabaga
88. Rutabagas are believed to have begun as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, both cruciferous vegetables. They are also known as “Swedish turnips,” sometimes shortened to “swedes.” Rutabagas are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A and potassium. They are also high in fiber.
Rutabagas are loaded with phytochemicals, including carotenoids, terpenes, flavonoids, coumarins, indoles, phenolic acids, and isothiocyanates. Many of these chemicals are believed to act as antioxidants and cancer fighters; they may also help preserve vision and lower blood pressure.
Cooked rutabagas are somewhere in between our “starchy vegetable” and “true vegetable” categories. They provide about 35 calories per half-cup serving. But they can also be eaten raw, which preserves more of their vitamins A and C, so try them in thin slices as an addition to salads.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled rutabaga cubes provides 33 calories, 7.4 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 477 IU vitamin A, 16 mg vitamin C, 13 mcg folic acid, 277 mg potassium, 17 mg sodium, 48 mg phosphorus, 41 mg calcium, and 20 mg magnesium. .....
Salsa
89. Traditionally, salsa is made of tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, lemon or lime juice, and cilantro, but you can add any number of fruits or vegetables to it for variety. In diet terms, it is a “free” condiment, that is, the calorie content is so low for the quantities at which it is normally eaten that it’s not worth counting.
Ironically, for something that tastes so good, almost all the ingredients have significant health benefits. The tomatoes bring vitamin C and lycopene, the peppers add capsaicin, and the onions bring their Allium-family goodness. Salsa is full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, and cancer-fighting compounds.
This is one treat it’s hard to overdose on!
Nutritional Facts :
One-quarter cup of a typical salsa provides 10 calories, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 125 mg sodium, 54 IU vitamin A, 9 mg vitamin C, 1 mg calcium, and 30 mg phosphorus. .....
Scallions
90. Scallions are also known as spring onions or green onions. Some scallions found in stores are young onions of the standard yellow or white cooking variety, harvested before they have had time to develop full round bulbs. There are also varieties that Carbohydrates: “True” Vegetables 149 are specifically bred as green onions. The green tops are often used along with the bulb, so scallions may provide more of vitamins A, C, and K than their more mature relations. They are also a source of folate, calcium, and potassium.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium scallion (4 1/8 inches long) provides 4.8 calories, 3.9 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 150 IU vitamin A, 28 mg vitamin C, 31.1 mcg vitamin K, 9.6 mcg folic acid, 41.4 mg potassium, 10.8 mg calcium, 5.6 mg phosphorus, and 3 mg magnesium. .....
Shallots
91. Shallots are one of the more elegant members of the Allium family. They provide vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and iron, as well as fiber. In at least one study, shallots were found to have more phenols and higher antioxidant activity than most of the commercially available varieties of onions. This means that they may be even better than the other Alliums at lowering blood pressure, preventing atherosclerosis, and inhibiting the onset and proliferation of cancers.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of chopped raw shallots provides 7 calories, 1.7 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 1248 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 3 mcg folic acid, 33 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 6 mg phosphorus, 4 mg calcium, and 2 mg magnesium. .....
Spinach
92. Popeye the Sailor was ahead of his time! Spinach provides vitamins A, C, and K; B vitamins including folate and riboflavin; and the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. Vitamin C helps the body make use of the iron found in spinach. Although cooking reduces the vitamin C, it helps make the iron more bioavailable in other ways, so spinach is a better source of iron when cooked. Consider serving it with an additional source of vitamin C to enhance iron absorption.
Spinach is also rich in antioxidants and even provides some omega-3 fatty acids.
It is an excellent source of lutein, which appears to protect the eye from sun damage.
People whose diets are high in spinach were found to have reduced their risk of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Spinach is one of the foods that contains measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
The oxalates in spinach may also interfere with the body’s absorption of some of the minerals spinach provides.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled spinach provides 21 calories, 3.4 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2.2 g dietary fiber, 7371 IU vitamin A, 9 mg vitamin C, 131 mcg folic acid, 63 mg sodium, 419 mg potassium, 122 mg calcium, 50 mg phosphorus, 78 mg magnesium, and 3.21 mg iron. .....
Summer Squash
93. The summer squashes include yellow squash, yellow crookneck, and pattypan, as well as zucchini, which is so numerous it gets its own entry! Tender, yellow summer squash provides vitamins A and C; the B vitamins B6, riboflavin, niacin, and folate; and the minerals potassium and magnesium. They are a good source of fiber and, at 93 percent water, low in calories and helpful for staying hydrated in the summer heat. They also provide lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that help preserve vision.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of sliced raw summer squash provides 12 calories, 5.2 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 2.4 g dietary fiber, 440 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 30 mcg folic acid, 276 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 42 mg phosphorus, 28 mg calcium, and 28 mg magnesium. .....
Swiss Chard
94. Swiss chard is a green that is closely related to beets. The same betacyanins and betaxanthins found in beets are found in chard. Swiss chard also contains antioxidant phenols and flavonols, which have been shown in the laboratory to inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells.
Chard is an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, and the minerals potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. It also provides the B vitamins B6, thiamine, niacin, and folic acid, and the minerals calcium, selenium, and zinc. It is a good source of carotenes and fiber. With 27.4 percent of the recommended daily value for potassium and 47 percent of the recommended daily value for magnesium in a one-cup serving, chard helps keep blood pressure down.
Swiss chard does contain measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled, chopped Swiss chard provides 18 calories, 3.6 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.8 g dietary fiber, 2762 IU vitamin A, 16 mg vitamin C, 8 mcg folic acid, 483 mg potassium, 158 mg sodium, 29 mg phosphorus, 51 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, and 76 mg magnesium. .....
Tomatoes
95. Tomatoes are one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes makes the lycopene more available, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid raw ones.
One cup of raw tomato still provides plenty of lycopene, as well as lutein, vitamins A and C, carotenes, anthocyanins, and potassium.
It is the lycopene, however, that has made tomatoes a SuperFood. It may be the best substance for quenching oxygen free radicals, and it helps protect the skin from the aging effects of ultraviolet light. Lycopene has been researched for its potential in combating several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, pancreatic, and intestinal cancers. Interestingly, however, in some studies lycopene alone did not convey the same protection as eating a diet rich in tomatoes. So there are certainly more health-protecting treasures inside this versatile food.
A study in 2007 found that broccoli and tomatoes together were better at fighting prostate cancer than either vegetable was alone. Although the study was done on rats, the tomato-broccoli combination was effective enough to have strong implications for humans as well.
The fiber and antioxidants in tomatoes have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar levels. In at least one study, a high dietary intake of tomato products significantly reduced both low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels, while making the cholesterol less vulnerable to oxidation.
Nutritional Facts :
One raw red tomato provides 26 calories, 5.7 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 766 IU vitamin A, 23 mg vitamin C, 18 mcg folic acid, 273 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 30 mg phosphorus, 6 mg calcium, and 14 mg magnesium. .....
Turnip Greens
96. Turnips—both the root and the greens—are cruciferous vegetables. Although the root has a long history as a staple food, the tops are much richer in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The green leaves are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, copper, and calcium. They are high in lutein and beta-carotene, which help protect eyesight and preserve the linings of blood vessels.
Turnip greens are packed with antioxidants, and the B6 and folate help reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood, protecting the walls of blood vessels and helping prevent atherosclerosis.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled, chopped turnip greens provides 14 calories, 3.1 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 3959 IU vitamin A, 20 mg vitamin C, 85 mcg folic acid, 146 mg potassium, 21 mg sodium, 21 mg phosphorus, 99 mg calcium, and 16 mg magnesium. .....
Watercress
97. Watercress provides vitamins A, B6, folic acid, C, and K; the minerals iron, calcium, iodine, and manganese; and beta-carotene and lutein. Watercress is related to cabbages and mustard greens and provides some of the same sulfur compounds that have been found to be protective against some forms of cancer and heart disease. It is more than 95 percent water and extremely low in calories.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of chopped watercress provides 4 calories, 0.4 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.6 g dietary fiber, 1598 IU vitamin A, 14 mg vitamin C, 4 mcg folic acid, 112 mg potassium, 14 mg sodium, 20 mg phosphorus, 40 mg calcium, and 8 mg magnesium. .....
Zucchini
98. Zucchini provides vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, manganese, lutein, and beta-carotene. Although it is 95 percent water and 4 percent carbohydrate, zucchini is a low-calorie source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, as well as some of the phytonutrients that help protect vision.
The manganese in zucchini (one cup provides 38 percent of the recommended daily value of this mineral) is a vital cofactor in a number of enzymes, including some that help cells maintain their shape and others that are essential to metabolic Carbohydrates: “True” Vegetables 161 processes. Manganese ions are essential to the process of neutralizing superoxide free radicals, which are quite toxic.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of sliced raw zucchini provides 18 calories, 3.8 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 442 IU vitamin A, 12 mg vitamin C, 28 mcg folic acid, 322 mg potassium, 4 mg sodium, 42 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, and 28 mg magnesium. .....
Amaranth
99. Amaranth is native to South America, Asia, and Africa. It grows easily and can be prolific in producing seeds. Its high-protein, gluten-free seeds are used as a grain, though technically amaranth is a pseudograin. For a plant source, it is also a relatively complete protein, because it includes lysine, an essential amino acid that grains often lack. The seeds are high in fiber and provide the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
In some countries, especially India and Africa, amaranth leaves are eaten as well. Although these greens are high in many vitamins and minerals, they are also high in oxalic acid. Both the flowers and leaves have been used in some forms of traditional medicine.
Amaranth seed appears to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, an effect not only of the seeds’ fiber content but also of chemical substances called plant sterols. These sterols become stanols, some of which are known to reduce lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Other stanols are used by the body to make steroids, which can have important anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutritional Facts :
One-quarter cup of organic whole grain amaranth provides 180 calories, 31 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 3 g fat, 7 g dietary fiber, 2.4 mg vitamin C, 8 mg calcium, 3.6 mg iron, 0.03 mg thiamine, 0.1 mg riboflavin, 0.8 mg niacin, 0.02 mg folate, and 200 mg phosphorus. .....
Barley
100. Barley was one of the first grains cultivated by humans. Whole barley contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Raw barley is also a good source of niacin and vitamin B6, as well as the minerals phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc. One cup of barley provides 14.2 percent of the recommended daily value for niacin. Barley also provides some lutein, which may help preserve vision.
Barley is very rich in fiber—nearly 16 percent dietary fiber by weight. Fiber helps prevent constipation, and it helps the colon stay healthy by helping intestinal flora produce butyric acid. Dietary fiber also reduces blood cholesterol levels, and whole grain barley contains enough soluble fiber that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized it as a food that can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Taken together, barley’s fiber and its B vitamins, which help preserve the health of blood vessels, make barley an especially heart-healthy grain.
Barley provides magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in glucose metabolism and the production of insulin. Studies have shown that barley may be even more effective in stabilizing glucose and insulin responses than oats. It appears to regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours.
Health Benefits of barley were observed as long as 2,400 years ago by Indian physicians who recommended substituting barley for white rice, along with losing weight and increasing activity, to treat the disease we now identify as type 2 diabetes.
Barley is even mentioned by Islam’s founding prophet, Muhammad, as effective against seven diseases—including grief.
Most of the Benefits of barley come from the whole grain form—called “hulled” barley, because only the inedible husk has been removed. Hulled barley retains the healthful bran and germ. Unfortunately, the more widely available “pearled” barley has been steamed and polished to remove the bran. To get the Benefits of barley, you’ll have to seek out the hulled, whole grain form.
Nutritional Facts :
(cooked barley) One cup of cooked, pearled barley provides 193 calories, 44.3 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 11 IU vitamin A, 3.2 mg niacin, 25 mcg folic acid, 146 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 85 mg phosphorus, 17 mg calcium, 2.09 mg iron, 35 mg magnesium, and 1.29 mg zinc.
(raw barley) One-quarter cup of raw, hulled barley provides 163 calories, 33.8 g carbohydrate, 5.7 g protein, 1.1 g fat, 8 g dietary fiber, 10 IU vitamin A, 2.1 mg niacin, 9 mcg folic acid, 208 mg potassium, 6 mg sodium, 121 mg phosphorus, 15 mg calcium, 1.66 mg iron, 61 mg magnesium, and 1.27 mg zinc. .....
Brown Rice
101. Rice has gotten a bad rap, partly because it is somewhat calorie-dense and partly because even brown rice turns out to have a surprisingly high glycemic index. But if you eat it with extra fiber and keep your portion size below one cup, rice is an acceptable food, even if you have diabetes. Balance brown rice with a protein food and lots of steamed vegetables, and it takes its rightful place in a healthy, nutritious meal. Brown rice is the whole grain version of rice, with more fiber and more nutrients than its paler counterpart. Just one cup of brown rice will provide you with 88 percent of the recommended daily value for manganese. This mineral is involved in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, as well as the synthesis of a number of enzymes, proteins, fatty acids, and hormones. Brown rice is also a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that is involved in many antioxidant reactions in the body and that plays a role in thyroid health. Brown rice is high in fiber, which helps you feel full after eating and speeds the passage of foods through the digestive tract. This may help maintain both a healthy body weight and a healthy colon.
In the late 19th century, it was observed that people who ate brown rice were less likely to get beriberi than those who ate exclusively white, polished rice. This led to an analysis of the differences between the two and helped lead to the discovery of vitamins.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked long grain brown rice provides 216 calories, 44.8 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 1.8 g fat, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 8 mcg folic acid, 84 mg potassium, 10 mg sodium, 162 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, 84 mg magnesium, 1.23 mg zinc, and 1.77 mg manganese. .....
Buckwheat
102. Buckwheat has a long culinary history in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the groats are used in the staple dish kasha. Technically, buckwheat is a pseudograin and not related to wheat at all, with seeds (the groats) that are similar to sunflower seeds. Buckwheat is commonly used in noodles in Japanese, Korean, and Northern Carbohydrates: Grains 169 Italian cuisine. It lacks gluten but is high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins B1 and B2, and the minerals iron, zinc, and selenium.
Buckwheat contains rutin, a glycoside related to quercetin. Like quercetin, rutin appears to have properties that protect blood vessels, inhibiting platelet aggregation and acting as an antioxidant. It is being investigated for its potential in protecting the eyes from diabetic retinopathy, a serious complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness. Rutin helps lower the risk of heart disease as well. One cup of buckwheat provides almost 86 milligrams of magnesium—a mineral that relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure—the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Buckwheat also contains a form of inositol that appears to lower cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity. This compound is being studied for its potential role in fighting polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) and type 2 diabetes.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked buckwheat groats provides 182 calories, 39.5 g carbohydrate, 6.7 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 5.3 g dietary fiber, 28 mcg folic acid, 174 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 139 mg phosphorus, 14 mg calcium, 101 mg magnesium, and 1.21 mg zinc. .....
Bulgur Wheat
103. Bulgur wheat is the groat form of wheat. It differs from cracked wheat in that it has been parboiled and dried. The most common types of bulgur have also had the bran removed, but whole grain bulgur is available, and this type has by far the best nutrition profile. Whole grain bulgur has a lower glycemic index than brown or white rice and buckwheat. It is not a gluten-free grain, however, since it is a form of wheat.
Bulgur is an excellent source of several B vitamins—thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and folate—that are essential to metabolism and that help convert homocysteine into less harmful chemicals; this helps lower blood pressure and protect the heart. It also provides the minerals iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium, and it is high in fiber. The protein in bulgur is not complete. Like other grains, it lacks sufficient lysine, and therefore it should be eaten with foods such as beans or seeds that can provide this essential amino acid.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked bulgur provides 151 calories, 33.8 g carbohydrate, 5.6 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 8.2 g dietary fiber, 33 mcg folic acid, 124 mg potassium, 9 mg sodium, 73 mg phosphorus, 18 mg calcium, 58 mg magnesium, 1.75 mg iron, 1.04 mg zinc, and 1.11 mg manganese. .....
Corn Tortilla
104. Corn is included as a vegetable in Chapter 2, yet corn’s history as a grain is far longer.
As a grain, corn is allowed to mature and is dried. People long ago learned to treat the corn with slaked lime (an alkali) to remove the outer hulls and soften the grains enough to make them more palatable. This treatment also improves the nutritional value of dried corn by converting the niacin into a form that the body can more easily absorb. Depending on the process used, such a treatment may also increase the amount of certain minerals in the corn.
In addition to the improved availability of niacin, corn tortillas offer some other B vitamins necessary to metabolism—thiamine, pantothenic acid, and folate.
Nutritional Facts :
One corn tortilla provides 70 calories, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 1 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 0.36 mg iron. .....
Millet
105. Millet is not really one single plant, but rather a group of plants that produce small grains. The kind normally sold as food in the United States is proso, or common millet. Other millets sometimes used for food include foxtail millet, pearl millet, and finger millet. Millets are gluten-free grains. Although they are not very closely related to wheat, they have a similar protein content, about 11 percent by weight.
Like many other grains, millets are a good source of B vitamins, including niacin, B6, and folic acid, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.
In recent studies, a protein extract from a Korean foxtail millet appeared to effectively increase the amount of adiponectin, a protein hormone that modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism.
Mice that were fed a millet extract had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, and lower levels of blood glucose than those that were not. While this research is very preliminary, and the millet extract was highly concentrated, it raises the possibility that millet may have a role to play in fighting insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked millet provides 143 calories, 28.4 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 1.6 mg niacin, 23 mcg folic acid, 74.5 mg potassium, 2.5 mg sodium, 120 mg phosphorus, 3.5 mg calcium, 0.75 mg iron, 53 mg magnesium, and 1.09 mg zinc. .....
Multi Grain Cereals Pilaf
106. One great thing about the increased concern with healthy eating is that there are products available to make it easier. One of the best things you can do for your health is simply to eat a greater variety of foods, including grains. If you don’t have time to cook multiple grains for every meal, there are prepared products that include several grains in every bite. Look for them in health food stores as well as the supermarket.
Multi-grain products are a way to try out unfamiliar grains, get the Benefits of several grains at once, add a variety of tastes to your day, and give you more satisfaction per chew, since they are so high in fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked multi-grain pilaf provides 170 calories, 30 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 3 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 1.4 mg iron. .....
Multi Grain Crackers Bread Whole Grain
107. Add variety to your day’s grain intake just by opening up a box of multi-grain crackers or having a slice of multi-grain bread. Make sure the crackers and breads that you choose are whole grain, high in fiber, and low in fat. For extra nutritional punch, choose one that includes seeds!
Nutritional Facts :
Fourteen multi-grain crackers provide 150 calories, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 6 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 1.4 mg iron. .....
Oat Bran Oatmeal
108. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal are famous for providing soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
Although oats are not the only source of soluble fiber, they are an excellent source and a familiar, easily available food.
Studies have found that eating 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day can help some people with high cholesterol lower their cholesterol levels by 8 to 23 percent.
Since it’s estimated that each 1 percent drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2 percent decrease in the risk of developing heart disease, oats have become a part of many health programs.
Oats are known for their external soothing properties, so perhaps it’s not surprising that they also provide some special antioxidants. Avenanthramides help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Like many other whole grains, oats are a good source of magnesium, a mineral involved in many of the reactions vital to human metabolism.
Beta-glucan is a component of the soluble fiber in oats that is also found in some seaweeds, mushrooms, and brewer’s yeast. Beta-glucan is believed to help fight bacterial infections. Patients with type 2 diabetes who were given foods rich in beta-glucans experienced much lower rises in blood sugar than those who were given white rice or white bread.
Most of the special nutritional Benefits of oats are concentrated in the bran. Oat bran cereal can be an efficient way to maximize those benefits. Oat bran provides about 50 percent more fiber—both soluble and insoluble—than quick oats, and it contains more protein.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked oat bran provides 44 calories, 12.6 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g protein, 0.9 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 7 mcg folic acid, 101 mg potassium, 131 mg phosphorus, 11 mg calcium, 44 mg magnesium, and 1.06 mg manganese. .....
Popcorn
109. Popcorn has a secret identity. Loaded with butter and salt, it’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but treated properly, popcorn is a great high-fiber snack.
Nutritional Facts :
Three and one-half cups of plain, air-popped popcorn provide 107 calories, 21.8 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 4.2 g dietary fiber, 55 IU vitamin A, 6 mcg folic acid, 84 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 84 mg phosphorus, 3 mg calcium, and 37 mg magnesium. .....
Spelt and Spelt Pasta
110. Spelt is a close relative of wheat and was widely cultivated in the Middle Ages, though over time it lost out to other wheats. When harvested, spelt has a tough hull on the grains that must be removed before it can be milled into flour.
Spelt provides potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and the B vitamins niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. As a close relative of wheat, its nutrition profile is much the same, though it appears to provide more niacin. Spelt also contains gluten, making it inappropriate for people with celiac disease or on gluten-free diets.
Nutritional Facts :
One and one-half cups of cooked organic whole spelt pasta provide 190 calories, 40 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 1.5 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, and 1.8 mg iron. .....
Spelt Pretzels
111. Spelt pretzels are another great high-fiber, easy snack. Pretzels are baked, so pretzels in general are a healthier snack than deep-fried chips. Spelt pretzels give you the additional Benefits of whole grains.
Nutritional Facts :
Eighteen spelt pretzels provide 110 calories, 21 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 1.5 g fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 240 mg sodium, and 0.36 mg iron. .....
Sprouted Grain Bread
112. Eating sprouted grains is like eating a whole little plant—combining the nutrition of a grain with that of a green vegetable. Some breads made with sprouted grains also include sprouted legumes; some have no flour; some are made without yeast.
Most sprouted grain breads are made with ingredients as unrefined as possible.
Sprouted grain breads tend to have a low glycemic index and to be low in saturated fat. The sprouted grains used most often for these breads are wheat, millet, and spelt. The breads that incorporate legumes use sprouted lentils and sprouted soybeans, making the bread a complete protein.
Nutritional Facts :
One slice of typical sprouted grain bread provides 80 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 75 mg sodium, 80 mg potassium, 0.72 mg iron, 0.12 mg thiamine, 0.03 mg riboflavin, 0.4 mg niacin, 0.08 mg vitamin B6, 24 mg magnesium, and 0.6 mg zinc. .....
Sprouted Grain English Muffin Whole Wheat English Muffin
113. Sprouted grain or whole wheat English muffins are a great, high-fiber replacement for white bread English muffins—and much more satisfying. This is a fantastic staple starch to keep on hand as the basis for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For a more balanced meal, add a protein source and vegetables.
Nutritional Facts :
One half of a sprouted grain English muffin provides 80 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 80 mg sodium, and 75 mg potassium. .....
Sprouted Grain Tortilla
114. Sprouted grain tortillas are a high-fiber, versatile staple food to keep in your re- frigerator for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These tortillas are great to use for wraps, egg burritos, and vegetarian burritos.
Nutritional Facts :
One sprouted grain tortilla provides 150 calories, 24 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 3.5 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, 150 mg potassium, 140 mg sodium, 4 mg calcium, 1.8 mg iron, 0.22 mg thiamine, and 40 mg magnesium. .....
Teff
115. Teff is the tiny grain from which Ethiopian injera bread is made. Teff is also popular in India and Australia, and it is now being grown in the United States, primarily in Idaho. Teff is so small that the bran and germ—the parts in most grains that contain most of the nutritional value—make up almost the entire grain. As a result, teff is exceptionally high in fiber. Teff also provides all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is a gluten-free grain.
Teff is a good source of several minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, magnesium, boron, and zinc. The iron in teff is in a form that is relatively easy for the body to absorb (unlike many other plant-based iron sources). Teff also provides thiamine, and more lysine than either wheat or barley.
Nutritional Facts :
One-quarter cup of dry whole grain teff provides 160 calories, 33 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 1 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 10 mg sodium, 80 mg calcium, and 3.6 mg iron. .....
Triticale
116. Triticale was developed as a wheat-rye hybrid to take advantage of rye’s hardiness and wheat’s high yields. Triticale is also high in protein and has twice the lysine of wheat. High in fiber as well, triticale also provides potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and B vitamins.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of whole grain triticale flour provides 219 calories, 47.7 g carbohydrate, 8.5 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 9.5 g dietary fiber, 48 mcg folic acid, 303 mg potassium, 208.5 mg phosphorus, 23 mg calcium, 99.5 mg magnesium, 1.73 mg zinc, and 2.72 mg manganese. .....
Wheat Germ
117. Wheat germ provides vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, and magnesium.
It is also a good source of fiber. Wheat germ contains more iron and potassium than almost any other food. A 3.5-ounce portion contains 9.5 mg of iron, 827 mg of potassium, 2 mg of vitamin B1, and 4.2 mg of vitamin B3.
The active elements in wheat germ are vitamin E and the essential fatty acids.
One of the fatty acids in wheat germ, octacosanol, appears to help increase endurance and improve the utilization of oxygen during exercise. It may also help reduce cholesterol in the blood and be useful in treating Parkinson’s disease. Oil derived from wheat germ improves strength and increases longevity.
Nutritional Facts :
Two tablespoons of wheat germ provides 48 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate, 4.1 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 17 IU vitamin A, 51 mcg folic acid, 143 mg potassium, 147 mg phosphorus, 7 mg calcium, 41 mg magnesium, and 2.08 mg zinc. .....
Whole Wheat Couscous
118. Whole wheat couscous is a quick-to-make, satisfying, high-fiber starch. It is a great low-fat source of complex carbohydrates—the body’s optimal fuel—and a nice alternative to rice and pasta. Made of bits of wheat moistened and rolled in wheat flour, this Middle Eastern food is not quite a grain and not quite a pasta.
Nutritional Facts :
One-third cup of whole wheat couscous provides 190 calories, 43 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 1 g fat, 7 g dietary fiber, and 1.08 mg iron. .....
Whole Wheat Cracker Flatbread Crispbread
119. Whole grain crackers, flatbreads, and crispbreads provide a portable, crunchy whole grain with the convenience of a prepared food. High in fiber and low in fat, they come in a variety of flavors that feature different grains and seeds.
Nutritional Facts :
Five whole wheat crackers provide 115 calories, 19 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 2 g fat, 4 g dietary fiber, and 1.4 g iron. .....
Whole Wheat Pasta
120. Whole wheat pasta brings the Benefits of whole grain to a familiar staple. Providing complex carbohydrates, fiber, manganese, and magnesium, whole wheat pasta lets you enjoy your favorite pasta dishes while helping to regulate blood sugar and protect intestinal health.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked whole wheat pasta provides 174 calories, 37.2 g carbohydrate, 7.5 g protein, 0.8 g fat, and 3.9 g dietary fiber. .....
Whole Wheat Whole Grain Pastry Flour
121. Whole wheat pastry flour allows you to bake with whole grain in familiar recipes that call for white flour. The complex carbohydrates, bran, B vitamins, and minerals of whole grains remain intact. The lighter texture of pastry flour behaves more like all-purpose flour in most recipes.
Nutritional Facts :
One-third cup of whole wheat pastry flour provides 110 calories, 23 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 90 mg potassium, 20 mg calcium, and 1.08 mg iron. .....
Wild Rice
122. Wild rice is not really rice, although it is a close relative. It is a grass that grows in shallow water and is native to North America. A related species is native to Manchuria, in China. Cooked wild rice has a unique flavor and texture. It is high in protein and fiber, and it is gluten-free. Wild rice provides the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, and the minerals potassium and phosphorus.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked wild rice provides 166 calories, 35 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, and 42.6 mcg folic acid. .....
Greek Style Yogurt
123. Greek-style yogurt is strained to reduce the whey, making it creamier in texture without adding extra fat. This yogurt is also more stable as a cooking ingredient because it is less likely to curdle when heated. Per serving, there is more protein and less carbohydrate in Greek-style yogurt than in standard yogurts. Because of the reduced carbohydrates, there is more “room” in your carbohydrate count to eat fresh fruit with it. Definitely stick with the low-fat option—the whole-milk version has 20 grams of fat per serving!
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt provides 120 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 22 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 70 mg sodium, and 200 mg calcium. .....
Milk and Skim Milk
124. A recent study found that calcium from dairy foods (1000 to 1400 milligrams per day) changes the way the body burns fat, increasing the metabolism of fat. This helps explain how skim milk not only provides sound nutrition, but may also help you lose weight.
Fat-free milk is high in protein, calcium, and the B vitamins, including B12. If you are still drinking whole milk, switching to nonfat milk can be a significant move toward healthier living all by itself. Not only will you cut fat intake and calories, but you’ll get more protein and vitamins in place of the fat. Start by switching from whole milk to 2 percent, then to 1 percent, and finally to skim milk.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of skim milk provides 86 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 500 IU vitamin A, 1 mcg vitamin B12, 0.2 mg niacin, 1 mg pantothenic acid, 0.4 mg riboflavin, 3 mcg vitamin D, 302 mg calcium, 103 mg sodium, 247 mg phosphorus, and 382 mg potassium. .....
Low Fat or Nonfat Yogurt with Inulin
125. Inulin in yogurt adds thickness and provides extra sweetness and fiber. Without inulin, most yogurt provides no fiber. Live yogurt cultures that are often present in yogurt with inulin act as prebiotics and probiotics to promote digestive tract health and strengthen your immune system.
Nutritional Facts :
Six ounces of vanilla low-fat yogurt with inulin provides 130 calories, 22 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 1.5 g fat, 7 g dietary fiber, 105 mg sodium, and 300 mg calcium. .....
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
126. Cottage cheese is Little Miss Muffet’s meal of curds and whey; it gets its name because it was often made at home, from milk that had already had some of its cream skimmed off for butter. As a result, it has long been made in skim and low-fat versions. It qualifies as a SuperFood because it concentrates the protein and other nutrients from milk but is low in fat.
Cottage cheese is made by adding a starter culture to the milk that causes it to separate. Most of the watery whey is drained off, leaving the curds, which are high in protein and calcium. Large-curd cottage cheese also contains rennet; the smallcurd version does not.
Some low-fat cottage cheese includes active cultures like those in yogurt. These active cultures help digest lactose, making this cottage cheese a better option for people who have some degree of lactose intolerance. The active cultures may also make the calcium it provides easier for your body to absorb.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 100 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 2.5 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 200 IU vitamin A, 100 mg calcium, and 390 mg sodium. .....
Low Fat Unsweetened Kefir
127. Kefir is a cultured or fermented milk beverage from the Caucasus region of Central Asia. The cultures are called “kefir grains” and include a mix of bacteria and yeasts.
It takes kefir grains to make kefir grains, much like the sourdough starter process for bread. There are different strains and types of kefir grains, which give different qualities and health Benefits to the beverage. Traditional kefir also has a low alcohol content.
Kefir’s cultures are believed to help strengthen the immune system. They also make the milk more digestible for those with lactose intolerance. The “friendly” bacteria and yeast (and the alcohol) help eliminate more dangerous bacteria from the system. They may also encourage anti-cancer compounds and have been used to soothe skin disorders.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of plain low-fat kefir provides 120 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 14 g protein, 2 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 500 IU vitamin A, 2.4 mg vitamin C, 100 IU vitamin D, 125 mg sodium, and 300 mg calcium. .....
Plain Low Fat Yogurt
128. Plain low-fat yogurt is a staple in healthy meal plans. The cultures in yogurt appear to support intestinal health and improve immune function. Low-fat yogurt is a very satisfying food and a good source of protein, calcium, and the B vitamins.
Nutritional Facts :
Eight ounces of plain nonfat yogurt provides 130 calories, 19 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 550 mg potassium, 170 mg sodium, 350 mg phosphorus, and 450 mg calcium. .....
Ricotta Cheese
129. Ricotta cheese is a traditional Italian cheese, similar to cottage cheese but made from the whey left over from making other cheeses. The thin whey is left to continue to ferment in whatever starter was used to make the initial cheese; the additional fermentation increases the acidity of the whey, and when the acidic whey is heated, the remaining proteins precipitate into very fine curds. The name ricotta means “recooked,” and refers to this second round of fermentation and heating. It’s a way to squeeze more of the food value out of the milk, and the resulting cheese is high in protein and low in fat.
Ricotta has a different texture and taste than cottage cheese, with finer and drier curds. It works well in both sweet dishes and savory ones, and in Italian cooking is used in desserts as well as main courses.
Ricotta is higher in calcium and lower in sodium than cottage cheese. Even whole-milk ricotta cheese is relatively low in fat, so it’s not necessary to choose a low-fat version.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of part-skim ricotta cheese provides 171 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate, 14.1 g protein, 9.8 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 38 mg cholesterol, 536 IU vitamin A, 16 mcg folic acid, 155 mg potassium, 155 mg sodium, 226 mg phosphorus, 337 mg calcium, 18 mg magnesium, and 1.66 mg zinc. .....
Soy Milk Unsweetened
130. Soy milk is low in carbohydrates, so you can eat it with your cereal without adding to your carbs. It’s also low in fat and an excellent source of calcium. Soy milk is a great way to add the Benefits of soy to your diet, reduce reliance on animal products, and possibly help lower cholesterol. As a milk replacement, soy milk is also supplemented with some vitamins and minerals to provide a more milk-like nutritional profile.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of unsweetened soy milk provides 70 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 3.5 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 750 IU vitamin A, 120 IU vitamin D, 0.51 mg riboflavin, 3 mcg vitamin B12, 70 mg sodium, 300 mg potassium, 300 mg calcium, and 1.8 mg iron. .....
Soy Yogurt
131. Soy yogurt provides calcium and live cultures without requiring the system to digest lactose or animal fat. Soy yogurt’s live cultures help strengthen your immune system, and its relatively high fiber content—2 grams of dietary fiber per serving— will help satisfy you and lower your cholesterol. Soy isoflavones may help increase insulin secretion and improve glycemic control. Researchers speculate that soy yogurt, especially when served with fruit, may help regulate the enzymes that affect blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes.
Nutritional Facts :
Six ounces of flavored soy yogurt provides 170 calories, 32 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 3.5 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, 25 mg sodium, 300 mg calcium, and 1.08 mg iron. .....
Almond Butter
132. Almond butter is a great, high-protein, high-energy alternative to peanut butter.
Almonds provide significant protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin E. Because almond butter is rich in monounsaturated fats but extremely low in saturated fats (and it has no trans fats at all), it is a heart-healthy choice.
Almonds and almond butter are rich in plant sterols, which appear to have cholesterol- lowering benefits. One plant sterol, beta-sitosterol, appears to alleviate the symptoms of benign prostate hypertrophy—enlarged prostate—a condition that more than half of men over age 50 will experience. Two tablespoons of almond butter contains roughly 35 milligrams of beta-sitosterol.
Nutritional Facts :
Two tablespoons of organic creamy roasted almond butter provides 195 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 17 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 100 mg calcium, and 1.08 mg iron. .....
Cheese
133. There are so many types of cheeses that it is hard to generalize about their content, let alone their health benefits. Cheeses can be made, for example, from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or the milk of water buffalos. Since milk is produced as the sole food for calves, lambs, and kids, it is already rich in protein and calcium.
Cheese-making is a process that further concentrates this food into a solid, and the result may well include significant amounts of phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin, and vitamin B12.
Unfortunately for those trying to live a healthier lifestyle, cheese-making also tends to concentrate the fats in the milk. Low-fat cheeses are available—in general, cheeses that are not aged tend to be lower in fat. Fresh mozzarella, farmer’s, and chevre cheeses can be good choices, as well as harder cheeses that are specially made with low-fat milks. But cheese has so many milky Benefits that it may also be the right place to “spend” some extra calories. Its high protein, mineral, and fat contents mean that it is digested slowly, and it will keep you feeling satisfied for several hours.
The high nutritional value of cheese and its beneficial roles in health make this food an important dairy food to include in a healthful diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of fresh mozzarella, given here as an example cheese, provides 70 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 5 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, and 50 mg sodium. .....
Chicken Breast Without Skin
134. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the high-protein convenience food of many a diet. Four ounces of chicken breast meat provides two thirds of the recommended daily value for protein for the average adult. Chicken breasts are lower in fat than dark meat. With the skin removed, a chicken breast has less than half the fat of a chicken breast with the skin! Chicken is a very good source of niacin, a B vitamin that is involved in repairing DNA; vitamin B6, which is important in several metabolic processes; and selenium, a mineral that plays a role in thyroid metabolism and is also an antioxidant. Research suggests that selenium may help prevent cancer.
Nutritional Facts :
(light meat) Three and one-half ounces of roasted chicken (light meat without skin) provides 173 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 30.9 g protein, 4.5 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 85 mg cholesterol, 29 IU vitamin A, 12.4 mg niacin, 0.97 mg pantothenic acid, 4 mcg folic acid, 247 mg potassium, 77 mg sodium, 216 mg phosphorus, 15 mg calcium, 27 mg magnesium, 1.06 mg iron, and 1.23 mg zinc.
(dark meat) Three and one-half ounces of roasted chicken (dark meat without skin) provides 205 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 27.4 g protein, 9.7 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 93 mg cholesterol, 72 IU vitamin A, 6.5 mg niacin, 1.21 mg pantothenic acid, 8 mcg folic acid, 240 mg potassium, 93 mg sodium, 179 mg phosphorus, 15 mg calcium, 1.33 mg iron, 23 mg magnesium, and 2.80 mg zinc. .....
Cod
135. Cod have been commercially fished and traded since at least Viking times. They were an important export of the New England colonies from the time Europeans began to settle there, so this Atlantic fish has long played a role in European and Mediterranean diets. Taxes and limitations on the export of cod were among the grievances that sparked the American Revolution.
As a result of its long commercial history, the name “cod” has been applied to a number of fish, most of them white-fleshed and relatively light in taste. The name is now technically applied only to Atlantic cod, Pacific cod, and Greenland cod, related fishes that are in danger of overfishing, in part because their health Benefits have long been apparent.
Cod are an excellent source of niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B12, and they also provide significant magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin E.
A good source of omega-3 fatty acids—three ounces of cooked cod provides 0.1 gram—cod appear to greatly benefit the cardiovascular system, as they are linked to lower blood pressure. Cod liver oil was at one time recommended to provide vitamins A and D. It’s now believed that the health Benefits of the oil are probably related to the omega-3 fatty acids.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of Pacific cod cooked by dry heat provides 89 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 19.5 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 40 mg cholesterol, 27 IU vitamin A, 3 mg vitamin C, 2.1 mg niacin, 7 mcg folic acid, 440 mg potassium, 77 mg sodium, 190 mg phosphorus, 8 mg calcium, and 26 mg magnesium. .....
Edamame Green Japanese Soybeans
136. Edamame are young, green soybeans in their pods, cooked by boiling, which make a great snack—high in fiber and protein, rich in calcium and potassium. Cooking the soybeans increases their available isoflavones, including daidzin, genistin, and genistein. Genistein has been investigated for its role in limiting the size and number of fat cells, possibly acting as an aid to preventing weight gain. Soy isoflavones may also reduce the risk of heart attack.
A cup of soybeans provides more than half of the daily recommended value of protein for the average adult—in less than 300 calories. Soybeans do, however, contain a fair amount of fat—11.6 grams per cup, of which 2.2 grams are saturated fat.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled green soybeans provides 127 calories, 9.9 g carbohydrate, 11.1 g protein, 5.8 g fat, 3.8 g dietary fiber, 140 IU vitamin A, 15 mg vitamin C, 100 mcg folic acid, 485 mg potassium, 13 mg sodium, 142 mg phosphorus, 131 mg calcium, 2.25 mg iron, and 54 mg magnesium. .....
Eggs Organic Omega 3
137. Eggs have long been known as a good, inexpensive source of animal protein. They lost favor for a time when the role of cholesterol in heart disease was first identified, because egg yolks do contain a fairly high concentration of cholesterol (though the whites are cholesterol-free). Research since that time has determined that an egg a day will not raise the risk of heart disease for most people. Those who already have high cholesterol may want to limit their intake of yolks to two a week. Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline and lutein. Choline, an antioxidant, may be involved in reducing levels of homocysteine, thereby helping reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lutein, found in the retina, may help prevent macular degeneration; it also has antioxidant properties. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B12 and folate.
Hens fed a diet of flaxseed, which is itself high in omega-3 fatty acids, produce eggs that are also high in omega-3s. These eggs may have as much as seven times the omega-3 fatty acids of conventional eggs. They also contain more vitamin E.
Nutritional Facts :
One large whole egg provides 75 calories, 0.6 g carbohydrate, 6.2 g protein, 5 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 213 mg cholesterol, 318 IU vitamin A, 24 mcg folic acid, 61 mg potassium, 63 mg sodium, 89 mg phosphorus, 25 mg calcium, and 5 mg magnesium. .....
Eggs Pasteurized Liquid Egg Whites
138. A cup of egg whites contains 26.5 grams of protein—about half what the average adult needs in a day. Separated from the yolk, it has almost no cholesterol, so egg whites can be used in place of eggs in many places, increasing the protein content without adding cholesterol.
Egg whites have a very delicate taste and are much enhanced by the flavors of other foods, so they are especially good in vegetable omelets and baked goods. In addition to protein, egg whites provide potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. Egg whites are somewhat high in sodium, however.
Nutritional Facts :
The white of one large egg provides 17 calories, 0.3 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 47 mg potassium, 54 mg sodium, 4 mg phosphorus, 2 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium. .....
Eggs Powdered Egg Whites
139. Powdered egg whites add the protein and minerals of eggs to a wide variety of foods.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of dried egg white powder provides 50 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 12 g protein, 0 g fat, and 0 g dietary fiber. .....
Flounder
140. Low in calories and fat, and containing no carbohydrate or fiber, flounder is probably as close as we can get to the mythical “free” proteins of the low-carb diets. A three-ounce serving of cooked flounder has only 100 calories and nearly half the average adult’s daily protein needs. It also provides a range of B vitamins, as well as some vitamin A and E.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of flounder cooked by dry heat provides 100 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 20.5 g protein, 1.3 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 58 mg cholesterol, 32 IU vitamin A, 1.9 mg niacin, 2.1 mcg vitamin B12, 8 mcg folic acid, 293 mg potassium, 89 mg sodium, 246 mg phosphorus, 15 mg calcium, and 49 mg magnesium. .....
Haddock
141. Haddock is a terrific low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein fish. It provides several B vitamins, including niacin, B12, and folic acid; vitamin A; and the minerals potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Haddock is a low-mercury fish, although it is in danger of overfishing.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of haddock cooked by dry heat provides 95 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 20.6 g protein, 0.8 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 63 mg cholesterol, 54 IU vitamin A, 3.9 mg niacin, 1.2 mcg vitamin B12, 11 mcg folic acid, 339 mg potassium, 74 mg sodium, 205 mg phosphorus, 36 mg calcium, 1.15 mg iron, and 43 mg magnesium. .....
Halibut
142. Halibut is a large flatfish found in the northern waters of both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. As one of the largest of the flatfish, it has a slightly higher mercury level than flounder and haddock. As a “moderate” mercury fish, halibut is still safe to eat, but don’t have it more than six times a month. It has a very strong complement of vitamins and minerals.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of halibut cooked by dry heat provides 19 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 22.7 g protein, 2.5 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 35 mg cholesterol, 152 IU vitamin A, 6 mg niacin, 1.2 mcg vitamin B12, 12 mcg folic acid, 490 mg potassium, 59 mg sodium, 242 mg phosphorus, 51 mg calcium, 0.91 mg iron, and 91 mg magnesium. .....
Hemp Seed
143. Hemp seeds are a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both known as “essential” fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are necessary for specific biological processes, but the body cannot make them. These fatty acids are believed to reduce various cardiovascular risks and may also help prevent some forms of cancer. Hemp seeds are a phenomenal source of protein—11 grams of protein in just 3 tablespoons of seeds. Hemp seeds provide calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin E.
Although hemp comes from the same family as the plant commonly known as marijuana that is grown for its psychoactive and medicinal effects, the varieties of hemp that are used for food and fiber have a negligible amount of the psychoactive chemical THC.
Nutritional Facts :
Three tablespoons of shelled hemp seed provides 160 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 9.8 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 57 mg calcium, 5 mg iron, 320 mg potassium, 3.6 IU vitamin E, 210 mcg folic acid, 360 mg phosphorus, 171 mg magnesium, 3 mg zinc, and 3 mg manganese. .....
Peanuts
144. Peanuts are groundnuts—not true nuts, but legumes. A New World plant, they are native to Central and South America, but they are now grown and eaten around the world. The People’s Republic of China is the greatest producer of peanuts. The United States is the fourth-largest producer, with production of about 1.7 million tons annually.
Peanuts, like other legumes, are a rich source of both protein and fiber. Although peanuts are relatively low in the amino acids cysteine and methionine, they are high in lysine, and they balance well with grains, which are high in methionine but low in lysine. A cup of peanuts provides 30 grams of protein. Nearly half of the carbohydrate in peanuts is dietary fiber—12.4 grams of fiber in one cup.
Peanuts are also a very good source of niacin and folate, and a significant source of pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Although peanuts are nearly half fat by weight, about half of that is monounsaturated, and only 13 percent is saturated fat.
Roasted peanuts may rival some berries for antioxidant content, including resveratrol and Coenzyme Q10.
The nutritional Benefits of peanut butter depend on how it is made. All-natural, fresh-ground peanut butters are the most like peanuts, though you have to remember that any peanut butter is much more calorie-dense than whole peanuts. Peanut butters tend to have more sugars and fats but less fiber than whole peanuts, though they are still a high-quality source of protein, fiber, energy, vitamins, and minerals.
Despite their many health Benefits and the longtime popularity of peanuts and peanut butter as staple foods for children, these days you are more likely to hear about peanuts causing allergies and being banned from schools. This is a serious issue, because for those who are allergic to peanuts, the reaction can be life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Research is ongoing, but it appears that roasting may increase the allergenic properties of peanuts. Most peanut butter is made from roasted peanuts. It’s still controversial whether introducing peanuts to children at a young age is more likely to prevent the allergy or cause it. Raw peanuts also sometimes carry a mold called Aspergillus that can be dangerous to health.
Nutritional Facts :
Two tablespoons of unsalted all-natural peanut butter provides 210 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 16 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, and 0.36 mg iron. .....
Pollock
145. There are two types of fish commonly called pollock available in United States markets: Atlantic pollock and Alaska—or walleye—pollock. Although related, the two fish are not of the same genus, and they have different spawning and fishing grounds.
Pollock is a gray- or white-fleshed fish, with a somewhat more distinctive taste than cod and haddock. Alaska pollock is milder and whiter than the Atlantic variety.
Pollock has grown in popularity as other white fish have been subject to overfishing.
The Alaska pollock fishery is strictly managed, although Greenpeace has now put Alaska pollock on its list of endangered fish.
Pollock is one of the lowest-mercury fish, so it is safe to eat frequently. Like many similar fish, pollock is very low in saturated fat and a very good source of protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. It provides substantial riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium.
Nutritional Facts :
(atlantic pollock) Three ounces of Atlantic pollock cooked by dry heat provides 100 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 21.2 g protein, 1.1 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 77 mg cholesterol, 34 IU vitamin A, 3.4 mg niacin, 3.1 mcg vitamin B12, 3 mcg folic acid, 388 mg potassium, 94 mg sodium, 241 mg phosphorus, 65 mg calcium, and 73 mg magnesium.
(alaska pollock) Three ounces of Alaska (walleye) pollock cooked by dry heat provides 96 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 0.95 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 82 mg cholesterol, 71 IU vitamin A, 1.4 mg niacin, 3.6 mcg vitamin B12, 3 mcg folic acid, 329 mg potassium, 99 mg sodium, 410 mg phosphorus, 5 mg calcium, and 62 mg magnesium. .....
Salmon
146. Salmon is a low-mercury, fatty fish that contains a very high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to healthy brain and circulatory function. It is also a good source of vitamin D and protein.
Salmon live in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as in the Great Lakes. Although there are some concerns about overfishing some types of salmon— for example, commercial salmon fishing is very limited in California—wild Alaska salmon come from well-managed fisheries that still have adequate stocks of fish.
Salmon are also farmed. In fact, the vast majority of the Atlantic salmon available are farmed fish. Because these fish are fed a controlled diet, the balance of the omega-3 fatty acids may not be as good as it is in wild-caught fish. Farmed salmon may contain a somewhat lower level of omega-3 fatty acids overall. There is also a risk of higher levels of some contaminants, notably dioxins and PCBs, in the farmed fish. Salmon farming has been implicated in the introduction of harmful parasites to nearby wild salmon populations, leading to the decline and possible extinction of wild salmon in some areas.
The red color of salmon is the result of antioxidant carotenoids, including canthaxanthin and astaxanthin. (Atlantic salmon, however, do not contain canthaxanthin.) Astaxanthin appears to be a particularly powerful antioxidant, with positive effects throughout the body and special benefit to the brain and nervous system.
Some farmed salmon are fed astaxanthin to improve their color.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of wild salmon cooked by dry heat provides 155 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 21.6 g protein, 6.9 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 60 mg cholesterol, 37 IU vitamin A, 8.6 mg niacin, 2.6 mcg vitamin B12, 25 mcg folic acid, 1.6 mg pantothenic acid, 534 mg potassium, 48 mg sodium, 218 mg phosphorus, 13 mg calcium, and 31 mg magnesium. .....
Sardines
147. There are as many as 21 fish that can be called sardines: The name applies to a number of related small, oily fish, some of which are also called pilchards, and some of which are actually herring. Because sardines are typically smaller than four inches in length, they are especially low in mercury. The young fish eat mostly plankton, which is not a strong source of mercury. As oily fish, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein. Since they are typically eaten bones and all, they are also a good source of calcium. In addition, they provide selenium, phosphorus, and iron.Although in some parts of the world sardines are eaten fresh, they are the archetypical canned protein food. Ironically, many canned “sardines” are actually herring, a related fish. Herring have been studied for their high concentration of Coenzyme Q10, a nutrient involved in cell metabolism. Sardines, especially those that are really herring, share this characteristic.
Nutritional Facts :
Four and three-eighths ounces of skinless, boneless sardines packed in water provides 120 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein, 6 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 60 mg calcium, and 2.25 mg iron. .....
Sole
148. Sole is a name used for several white-fleshed flatfish. All are high in protein and low in calories and fat. With a delicate texture and a buttery flavor, sole is a fish that is easy to like, even for people who are not used to eating fish—a good “starter fish.” It is low in mercury.
The nutritional profile of sole is similar to that of flounder. It is a good source of vitamins A, B6, and B12, as well as minerals, including selenium.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of sole cooked by dry heat provides 100 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 20.5 g protein, 1.3 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 58 mg cholesterol, 32 IU vitamin A, 1.9 mg niacin, 2.1 mcg vitamin B12, 8 mcg folic acid, 246 mg potassium, 15 mg calcium, and 49 mg magnesium. .....
Soy Nuts Roasted Soybeans
149. Soy nuts are a great way to satisfy the craving for a crunchy snack while still being good to your health. These roasted soybeans have all the Benefits of soy, including lots of protein, folate, potassium, and fiber. The soybean is regarded as a complete protein, providing all the essential amino acids, and soybeans are one of the highest- protein legumes. Soybeans are about 20 percent oil.
One benefit of adding soy to your diet is that it can replace animal sources of protein that tend to have higher levels of cholesterol and saturated fats. In addition to adding less cholesterol than animal proteins, soy may even have a cholesterollowering effect. Soybeans contain isoflavones that are phytoestrogens—plant-based estrogens. Initially, phytoestrogens were hailed for their potential to relieve symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Research has been shown to be inconclusive, however, as estrogen supplementation has been found to have a mix of health Benefits and health hazards.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth cup of roasted soy nuts provides 202 calories, 14 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein, 11 g fat, 7.6 g dietary fiber, 86 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 90.5 mcg folic acid, 632 mg potassium, 70 mg sodium, 156 mg phosphorus, 59.5 mg calcium, 1.7 mg iron, 62.5 mg magnesium, 1.3 mg zinc, and 0.93 mg manganese. .....
Tempeh Fermented Soybean Cake
150. Tempeh is most commonly used as a meat replacement. It originated in Java, and one of its nicknames is “Java meat.” It contains whole soybeans that have been cooked, fermented, and formed into a cake. The long tendrils of the tempeh mold help hold the tempeh together and give it a firmer texture than tofu. Because tempeh uses whole soybeans, it retains the fiber, mineral, and isoflavone Benefits of soy, as well as the protein and fat. The fermentation may make it more digestible for some people and may make its mineral content easier to absorb. The mold used to ferment tempeh may also favor helpful intestinal flora over those that cause dysentery and other diseases.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of tempeh provides 165 calories, 14.1 g carbohydrate, 15.7 g protein, 6.4 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 569 IU vitamin A, 3.8 mg niacin, 43 mcg folic acid, 305 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 171 mg phosphorus, 77 mg calcium, 58 mg magnesium, 1.88 mg iron, 1.5 mg zinc, and 1.19 mg manganese. .....
Tofu
151. Tofu is another soy-based protein source, made from dried soybeans that have been soaked and dried, then put through a process much like that used to make cheese.
A coagulating substance is added, which curdles the soy milk, and then the mixture can be cut, strained, and pressed, producing tofus with different degrees of firmness.
This range of textures allows tofu to take on many roles in cooking, bringing soy’s high protein, minerals, and isoflavones to a variety of foods. Because of the degree of processing that the soybeans undergo, tofu has much less fiber than soy foods that use the whole bean.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of raw, firm tofu provides 183 calories, 5.4 g carbohydrate, 19.9 g protein, 11 g fat, 2.9 g dietary fiber, 209 IU vitamin A, 37 mcg folic acid, 299 mg potassium, 18 mg sodium, 239 mg phosphorus, 258 mg calcium, 13 mg iron, 118 mg magnesium, 1.98 mg zinc, and 1.49 mg manganese. .....
Trout
152. Trout are closely related to salmon, and they offer many of the same health benefits.
They are an oily fish with a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. Trout provide calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, as well as selenium, niacin, and vitamin B12. They are low in mercury and, in one British study, trout were also found to have among the lowest levels of dioxins.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of trout cooked by dry heat provides 162 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 22.6 g protein, 5.6 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 63 mg cholesterol, 57 mg sodium, 394 mg potassium, 47 mg calcium, 1.63 mg iron, 267 mg phosphorus, and 24 mg magnesium. .....
Tuna
153. Tuna is a large and oily fish, providing high amounts of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as selenium, niacin, and vitamins B1 and B6. It is an excellent source of protein and is relatively low in calories.
Because tuna is a large fish, some types are high in mercury. Canned “light” tuna is regarded as a low-mercury fish. Albacore or “white” tuna is regarded as somewhat higher in mercury content, such that pregnant women and young children should eat it no more than once a week. Both types of tuna are frequently cited as offering health Benefits that far outweigh the risks of the small amounts of mercury they contain.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth cup of solid white tuna, drained, provides 80 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein, 1 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, and 310 mg sodium. .....
Turkey
154. Turkey is a relatively low-fat source of high-quality animal protein. It is a very good source of selenium and vitamin B6, two nutrients that are essential to healthy me- tabolism. Some studies have linked selenium deficiency to an increased risk of cancer, but it appears that in people with adequate selenium in their diets, increasing selenium had no further protective effect. More research is needed to pin down this mineral’s anti-cancer potential. It does act as an antioxidant, and it is involved in proper thyroid function.
Nutritional Facts :
(turkey breast) One ounce of turkey breast provides 23 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 4.7 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 1.7 mg niacin, 1 mcg folic acid, 58 mg potassium, 301 mg sodium, 48 mg phosphorus, and 4 mg magnesium.
(turkey patty) One 4-ounce cooked ground turkey patty provides 193 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 22.4 g protein, 10.8 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 4 mg niacin, 6 mcg folic acid, 221 mg potassium, 88 mg sodium, 161 mg phosphorus, and 20 mg magnesium. .....
Whitefish
155. While many forms of white-fleshed fish with mild flavor are called “white fish,” such as cod, haddock, hake, and pollock, “whitefish” also refers to a group of freshwater fish including the lake and round whitefish. Related to both salmon and trout, lake whitefish had been depleted by overfishing in the 1960s but have since recovered.
They are fished commercially in the Great Lakes in both the United States and Canada.
Nutritional Facts :
Three ounces of whitefish cooked by dry heat provides 146 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 20.8 g protein, 6.4 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 65 mg cholesterol, 111 IU vitamin A, 3.3 mg niacin, 14 mcg folic acid, 345 mg potassium, 55 mg sodium, 294 mg phosphorus, 28 mg calcium, 36 mg magnesium, and 1.08 mg zinc. .....
Almonds
156. Almonds are low in carbohydrates, and more than half their carbohydrate content, by weight, is dietary fiber. Though they are rich in fat, it is monounsaturated fat.
Studies have suggested that almonds can lower LDL while raising HDL. Almonds are also rich in alpha-tocopherol vitamin E, the form most easily absorbed by the human body. They provide calcium, magnesium, and potassium—vital for electrolyte balance, which promotes cardiovascular health. Recent research is also finding beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants in the brown inner skins of almonds.
In Ayurvedic medicine, almonds are credited with improving intellect and adding to longevity.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth cup of raw almonds provides 206 calories, 7.8 g carbohydrate, 7.6 g protein, 17.7 g fat, and 4.4 g dietary fiber. .....
Avocado
157. Avocados, high in monounsaturated fats, have been associated with lowered blood cholesterol. They appear to contain antioxidant compounds that relax blood vessels, which helps lower blood pressure.
Avocados are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure as well as hydration. They are also low in sodium. Therefore, they are included in the health claim authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that states, “Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.” One cup of avocado provides 23 percent of the recommended daily value for folate, and avocado is a good source of carotenoids including lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene. It’s also rich in vitamin E.
In a laboratory study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, an extract of avocado containing these carotenoids and tocopherols inhibited the growth of both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium avocado provides 306 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 3.7 g protein, 30 g fat, 8.5 g dietary fiber, 1059 IU vitamin A, 14 mg vitamin C, 3.3 mg niacin, 113 mcg folic acid, 1097 mg potassium, 21 mg sodium, 73 mg phosphorus, 19 mg calcium, 2.04 mg iron, and 71 mg magnesium. .....
Chestnuts
158. At one time, one in every four hardwood trees in some parts of the United States was an American Chestnut. That situation changed with a blight that first arrived in 1904 on some Chinese Chestnut trees, which had resistance to the blight, though the American species did not. This blight virtually wiped out the American Chestnut by the 1940s. Today the chestnuts we eat are from a European variety, though efforts are ongoing to develop a blight-resistant American Chestnut so that the tree can be reintroduced to the United States.
Chestnuts are unusual nuts—they are low in fat and have a high starch content, and they provide vitamin C. They served as a staple food for the poor in many parts of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, when they were made into breads and soups as well as being eaten roasted.
Nutritionally, chestnuts are lower in calories than most nuts, primarily because they are lower in fats. They are a good source of carbohydrate, and they provide fiber and protein. Chestnuts are also a source of the minerals calcium, potassium, and iron.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of raw European chestnuts (2½ nuts) provides 60 calories, 12.9 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 8 IU vitamin A, 12 mg vitamin C, 18 mcg folic acid, 147 mg potassium, 26 mg phosphorus, 8 mg calcium, and 9 mg magnesium. .....
Flaxseed
159. Flaxseed is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals called lignans.
Flaxseed can help reduce total blood cholesterol and LDL levels and, as a result, may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and some research has suggested that for people who do not eat fish, flaxseed oil may provide a good alternative source of omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are used by the body to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, and they may help reduce the inflammation that is a significant factor in conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis.
We recommend ground flaxseed because it is easier for your body to digest.
Whole seeds may pass through your system undigested.
Nutritional Facts :
Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed provides 60 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 4.5 g fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 20 mg calcium, and 0.72 mg iron. .....
Hazelnuts Filberts
160. Hazelnuts are high in protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and monounsaturated fat. They are especially rich in vitamin E and provide significant amounts of the B vitamins thiamine, folate, and B6, as well as the minerals iron and phosphorus. There is archaeological evidence that hazelnuts were a major component of the European diet from at least 7000 bce.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of dry roasted hazelnuts provides 188 calories, 5.1 g carbohydrate, 2.8 g protein, 18.8 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, 20 IU vitamin A, 21 mcg folic acid, 132 mg potassium, 92 mg phosphorus, 56 mg calcium, and 84 mg magnesium. .....
Hemp Seed Butter
161. Nutritional hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, but from a different variety bred to have virtually none of the psychoactive chemical THC. Instead, nutritional hemp is bred to emphasize its array of essential fatty acids, especially the omega-3s. Hemp seeds provide a good balance between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. (It is thought that the typical Western diet contains too much omega-6 and too little omega-3.) They are also very high in protein, and the protein from hemp seed is considered to be a complete protein because it provides all of the essential fatty acids.
Hemp seeds are actually nuts, which is why you will sometimes see the butter called “hemp seed nut butter.”
Nutritional Facts :
Two tablespoons of hemp seed butter provides 160 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 9.8 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 10 mg sodium, and 3.6 mg iron. .....
Hummus
162. The main ingredient in hummus is garbanzo beans, which are high in fiber and protein but low in fat, and hummus shares their benefits. (See Chapter 2, Carbohydrates: Starchy Vegetables, for more on the Benefits of garbanzo beans.) Most hummus also includes tahini, a sesame seed paste, and olive oil. Both of these are high in monounsaturated fat, and consequently high in calories, but the amounts in hummus are relatively small. Hummus usually also contains lemon juice and garlic, and it may have cayenne pepper or other spices for variation. This mix of foods provides healthy fat, high protein, and lots of fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth cup of hummus provides 105 calories, 12.4 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 5.2 g fat, 3.1 g dietary fiber, 15.5 IU vitamin A, 5 mg vitamin C, 36.5 mcg folic acid, 107 mg potassium, 150 mg sodium, 69 mg phosphorus, 30.7 mg calcium, and 17.8 mg magnesium. .....
Olives and Olive Oil
163. Olives are high in monounsaturated fat and provide iron, vitamin E, and fiber, and they also contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids and phenols. Olives that are naturally purple or black contain anthocyanins as well.
Olive oil is a key component of the “Mediterranean diet,” which appears to contribute to lower rates of heart disease and obesity.
Nutritional Facts :
(ripe olive) One large pickled ripe olive provides 5 calories, 0.3 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 0.1 g dietary fiber, 18 IU vitamin A, 38 mg sodium, and 4 mg calcium.
(olive oil) One tablespoon of olive oil provides 124 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 14 g fat, and 0 g dietary fiber. .....
Pecans
164. Pecans have the highest oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) among nuts, and they are high in antioxidant properties in general. Pecans also play a role in lowering cholesterol, due not only to their fiber but also to plant sterols. Eating pecans may increase metabolic rate.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of raw pecans provides 190 calories, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 19 g fat, and 2.7 g dietary fiber. .....
Pine Nuts
165. Pine nuts are the seeds of pine cones. China and Portugal are the largest exporters of pine nuts, and they are also grown in the United States. Most of the pine nuts grown in the United States are from one of three pinyon pines—the Colorado, Mexican, or Single-Leaf pinyons. There are more than 20 varieties of pine trees that produce an edible seed, and the nutritional value varies somewhat among them, but most pine nuts can be counted on to provide protein, fat, and the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. They are also a source of magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. More than half of the carbohydrate in pine nuts is dietary fiber.
Pine nuts also contain pinolenic acid, which appears to stimulate the production of two hormones that suppress appetite.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of dried pinyon pine nuts provides 178 calories, 5.5 g carbohydrate, 3.3 g protein, 17.3 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 8 IU vitamin A, 1.2 mg niacin, 16 mcg folic acid, 178 mg potassium, 20 mg sodium, 10 mg phosphorus, 2 mg calcium, 66 mg magnesium, 1.21 mg zinc, and 1.23 mg manganese. .....
Pistachios
166. Pistachios are rich in potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and they are also a good source of vitamin B6 and thiamine. They are high in fiber, a good source of protein, and low in saturated fats. Pistachios are good for cardiovascular health, and they help maintain proper metabolism.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of dry roasted pistachios (47 nuts) provides 172 calories, 7.8 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g protein, 15 g fat, 3.1 g dietary fiber, 67 IU vitamin A, 17 mcg folic acid, 275 mg potassium, 135 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, and 37 mg magnesium. .....
Pumpkin Seeds
167. Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis.
They are also a great source of magnesium, which helps balance calcium metabolism and may contribute to bone health.
Pumpkin seeds are a natural anti-inflammatory and may help counteract the kidney stone–forming effects of oxalates found in many dark green, leafy foods that are otherwise good in nutritional value.
Nutritional Facts :
One-third cup of pumpkin seeds provides 110 calories, 14 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 5 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, and 1000 mg sodium. .....
Red Wine
168. Red wine is listed here because in carbohydrate exchange programs, it is counted as a fat. It contains 7 calories of fat per gram, which is higher than both carbohydrates and proteins, though not quite as high as true fats.
Nonetheless, red wine has been shown to have significant Benefits consistent with its origins in red grapes. It is a source of resveratrol, the substance found in the skins of red grapes and therefore in red wine that was originally thought to be among the reasons those who eat a so-called French or Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of obesity and heart disease. Resveratrol is produced by plants as an antimicrobial, to fight bacteria or fungus, and has been found in animal trials to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and fight some cancers. It also appears to extend the lifespan of some insects and fish and, in a 2008 study, was shown to reduce the formation of plaques in the brains of animals, pointing toward a potential role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
So far it has not lived up to its promise in human trials, in part because a human dose equivalent to those used on experimental mice would require between 761 and 5,000 glasses of wine per day. As a result, resveratrol is no longer regarded as the main factor in the “French paradox,” but it is still the subject of study for its many and varied possible health-enhancing properties.
Red wine also provides polyphenols known as oligomeric procyanidins that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Nutritional Facts :
Three and one-half ounces of red wine provides 74 calories, 1.8 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 2 mcg folic acid, 115 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 14 mg phosphorus, 8 mg calcium, and 13 mg magnesium. .....
Safflower Oil
169. There are two types of safflower oil. The most common one is oleic safflower oil, which is largely monounsaturated and high in omega-9 fatty acids. The other type is linoleic safflower oil, which is largely polyunsaturated and high in omega-6 fatty acids. The oleic type may help increase memory and lower blood pressure, while the linoleic may help improve diabetes symptoms and has been shown to prevent some forms of cancer in mice.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of safflower oil provides 124 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 14 g fat, and 0 g dietary fiber. .....
Sesame Seeds
170. Sesame seeds are high in iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, and they also provide phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. The hulls contain a significant amount of calcium, though seeds without hulls do not.
Sesame seeds also contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin.
Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, which have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of toasted sesame seed kernels provides 161 calories, 7.4 g carbohydrate, 4.8 g protein, 13.6 g fat, 4.8 g dietary fiber, 19 IU vitamin A, 27 mcg folic acid, 115 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 219 mg phosphorus, 37 mg calcium, 98 mg magnesium, 2.21 mg iron, and 2.9 mg zinc. .....
Sunflower Seeds
171. Sunflower seeds are increasingly their favorite snack, and with good reason. Sunflower seeds will satisfy your hunger and supply significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium, all of which are great for endurance and metabolism. Sunflower seeds are rich in phytosterols, plant chemicals that help reduce blood levels of cholesterol while supporting hormonal health.
Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E and linoleic acid. It also contains oleic acid, lecithin, tocopherols, and carotenoids. Sunflower oil also appears to contribute to lowering cholesterol.
Nutritional Facts :
(sunflower oil) One tablespoon of sunflower oil provides 124 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 14 g fat, and 0 g dietary fiber. nutritional composition (sunflower seeds) One ounce of unsalted dry roasted sunflower seed kernels provides 165 calories, 6.8 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g protein, 14.1 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 1.9 mg niacin, 2 mg pantothenic acid, 67 mcg folic acid, 241 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 327 mg phosphorus, 241 mg potassium, 20 mg calcium, 1.08 mg iron, and 37 mg magnesium. .....
Walnuts
172. and supply significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium, all of which are great for endurance and metabolism. Sunflower seeds are rich in phytosterols, plant chemicals that help reduce blood levels of cholesterol while supporting hormonal health.
Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E and linoleic acid. It also contains oleic acid, lecithin, tocopherols, and carotenoids. Sunflower oil also appears to contribute to lowering cholesterol.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of walnut pieces provides 190 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 19 g fat, and 1 g dietary fiber. .....
Agave Syrup
173. Agave is a succulent plant, one species of which is used for making tequila. Although they are commonly referred to as cacti, agave plants are related to the lily family rather than the cactus.
The sap of some agave plants is sweet enough that native Mexicans called it “honey water,” and it is now used commercially as the basis for a sweetener. The natural sap is a source of iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. However, the agave syrup or nectar currently marketed is heavily processed, and is therefore much more refined than the simple sap.
Agave syrup is 90 percent fructose and therefore tastes very sweet, so less of it can be used to provide the same sweetening effect as table sugar. Depending on how heavily refined the agave syrup is, it may—or may not—have a better glycemic profile than refined cane sugar.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of agave syrup provides 15 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugars. .....
Honey Raw
174. Honey’s sweetness comes from fructose and glucose, as well as other complex sugars.
It contains very slight amounts of vitamins and minerals, but given the amounts normally consumed, honey cannot be considered a significant source of any of them. For centuries, honey has been used topically for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of strained or extracted honey provides 64 calories, 17.3 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.2 g dietary fiber, 11 mg potassium, and 1 mg sodium. .....
Maple Syrup
175. Maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc, though the amount of maple syrup that would be consumed as a sweetener would not provide a significant amount of either nutrient.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of maple syrup provides 52 calories, 13.4 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 41 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 13 mg calcium, 3 mg magnesium, and 0.83 mg zinc. .....
Blackstrap Molasses
176. Blackstrap molasses is a product of sugar-making: It is the syrup that remains after the process has extracted all the sugar that it can. Although much of the sucrose has been crystallized out into sugar, most of the calories in blackstrap molasses still come from sugar. It is also a significant source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. This mineral content is good for building strong bones, maintaining hydration, and lowering blood pressure. The iron in molasses is vital to preventing anemia and producing red blood cells, especially important if one’s diet is low in other sources of iron, such as red meat. This nutrient probably accounts for blackstrap molasses’ early reputation as a health food.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses provides 47 calories, 12.2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 498 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 172 mg calcium, 8 mg phosphorus, 3.5 mg iron, and 43 mg magnesium. .....
Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
177. Chocolate chips can satisfy your chocolate cravings without going overboard—you can eat just a few instead of giving in to a whole chocolate bar. It’s a bonus that dark chocolate has been shown to provide some heart benefits—specifically, lowering blood pressure—thanks to its antioxidants and flavonoids. No wonder Valentine’s chocolates come in heart-shaped boxes!
Nutritional Facts :
Twenty semi-sweet chocolate chips provide 50 calories, 5.5 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 3 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 20 mg calcium, and 1.08 mg iron. .....
Apple Cider Vinegar
178. Vinegar is produced when alcohols converted from sugars undergo a process of fermentation. Apple cider vinegar is made from fresh apples. It contains vitamins, beta-carotene, pectin, and several minerals, including potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
Vinegar appears to help lower blood glucose levels. It contains chromium, which can help regulate insulin levels and is important in glucose metabolism.
Vinegar delays gastric emptying and helps lower blood glucose and insulin levels in people who are healthy.
Vinegar may contribute to lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Vinegar is also being investigated for its cancer-killing potential.
As an ingredient in many types of traditional medicine for millennia, vinegar has been credited with the power to treat almost everything: constipation, arthritis, headaches, weak bones, indigestion, high cholesterol, diarrhea, eczema, sore eyes, chronic fatigue, mild food poisoning, hair loss, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Vinegar is a great fat-free component in recipes and salad dressings—though be sure to include some fat in your salad dressings to help your body digest and absorb all the good nutrients in the green vegetables.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar provides 2 calories, 0.9 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 15 mg potassium, 1 mg calcium, 1 mg phosphorus, and 0.1 mg iron. .....
Brewer s Yeast
179. Brewer’s yeast appears to help stabilize both serum triglycerides and glucose levels, due to its high levels of chromium. If you are interested in its sugar-regulating effects, seek out the type that has not been “debittered,” because chromium is removed in the debittering process. Brewer’s yeast also provides B vitamins, and it is one of the very few non-animal sources of vitamin B12.
Sprinkle brewer’s yeast on food to add extra B vitamins, protein, and minerals.
Many folk remedies for poor skin include brewer’s yeast, and some studies have suggested that consuming brewer’s yeast can accelerate the healing time for cuts and similar injuries.
Nutritional Facts :
One ounce of brewer’s yeast provides 80 calories, 10.9 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 1.1 g dietary fiber, 4.4 mg thiamine, 10.7 mg niacin, 1.2 mg riboflavin, 537 mg potassium, 34 mg sodium, 497 mg phosphorus, 60 mg calcium, and 4.9 mg iron. .....
Cardamom
180. Cardamom is an exotic-tasting, sweet spice derived from the seeds of a ginger-like plant. Cardamom gives chai its spiciness and is a cuisine feature from India and the Middle East to Scandinavia. The Greeks and Romans used cardamom as a perfume.
Cardamom may help with cleansing the kidneys and the bladder, stimulating the digestive system, and reducing gas. It has been shown to be antispasmodic and can counteract excess acidity in the stomach, stimulate appetite, remedy infection, and cure halitosis (bad breath). It is also credited with improving circulation to the lungs, which Benefits those with asthma and bronchitis.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of ground cardamom provides 6 calories, 1.4 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.6 g dietary fiber, 22 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus, 8 mg calcium, 0.28 mg iron, 5 mg magnesium, 0.01 mg copper, 0.15 mg zinc, and 0.56 mg manganese. .....
Chamomile
181. Chamomile is used primarily to treat stomach cramping and pain, including menstrual cramping and diarrhea. Aside from the treatment of aches and pains, doctors and researchers have found that chamomile can be used effectively to treat skin and eye problems, mood disorders, and even the flu.
For stomach problems, prepare a soothing chamomile tea using a mixture of one ounce of chamomile, two thirds of an ounce of peppermint, one ounce of caraway seeds, and two thirds of an ounce of angelica. For a cup of tea, add one teaspoon of this mixture to one cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink.
For skin problems, prepare a healing chamomile tea using a mixture of one ounce of chamomile, one ounce of dandelion, and two thirds of an ounce of fennel.
For a cup of tea, add one teaspoon of this mixture to one cup of hot water. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes, strain, and drink. This tea helps stimulate metabolic activity that aids in the healing of inflammatory skin conditions.
Chamomile is mild enough for everyday use, and almost everyone can enjoy it—unless you have a ragweed allergy, in which case it should be avoided.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of brewed chamomile herbal tea provides 2 calories, 0.5 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, and 2 mg sodium. .....
Chia Seeds
182. Everybody has seen the silly “Chia Pet,” a ceramic pot for growing chia greens.
What you may not have known is that chia is a SuperFood! Chia seeds form a gel in the stomach that slows the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, and the protein in the gel helps build muscle and other tissues. Chia also provides the trace mineral boron, which aids in the absorption of calcium. The seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatories.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of chia seeds provides 40 calories, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 4 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, 6 mg vitamin C, 76 mg calcium, 1.8 mg iron, 150 mg phosphorus, 38 mg magnesium, 85 mg potassium, 2406 mg omega-3 fatty acids, 792 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 294 mg omega-9 fatty acids. .....
Cinnamon
183. Cinnamon is one of the most popular herbs and spices. In one study, eating a gram of cinnamon per day appeared to reduce fasting blood glucose concentration and improve the blood lipid profile in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon is also rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. In traditional medicine, it is recommended to treat indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of ground cinnamon provides 5 calories, 1.6 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.1 g dietary fiber, 5 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 1 mcg folic acid, 10 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 1 mg phosphorus, 25 mg calcium, 0.76 mg iron, 1 mg magnesium, and 0.33 mg manganese. .....
Cloves
184. Cloves contain significant amounts of an active component called eugenol, which has been the subject of numerous health studies, including studies on the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants such as carbon tetrachloride, digestive tract cancers, and joint inflammation.
In the United States, eugenol extract from cloves has often been used in dentistry in conjunction with root canal therapy, temporary fillings, and general gum pain, because eugenol and other components such as beta-caryophyllene make cloves a mild anesthetic as well as an anti-bacterial agent. Because of these beneficial effects, clove oil is also found in some over-the-counter sore throat sprays and mouth washes.
The addition of clove extract to diets already high in anti-inflammatory components such as cod liver oil, with its high omega-3 fatty acid content, brings significant added Benefits and, in some studies, further reduces inflammatory symptoms.
Cloves contain a variety of flavonoids, including kaempferol and rhamnetin, which contribute to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of ground cloves provides 6 calories, 1.2 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 11 IU vitamin A, 2 mg vitamin C, 2 mcg folic acid, 22 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 2 mg phosphorus, 13 mg calcium, 5 mg magnesium, and 0.6 mg manganese. .....
Coriander and Cilantro
185. Coriander is considered both an herb and a spice, since both its leaves and its seeds are used as a seasoning condiment. Fresh coriander leaves are more commonly known as cilantro; it bears a strong resemblance to Italian flat-leaf parsley. Coriander seeds have a health-supporting reputation that is high on the list of the healing spices. In parts of Europe, coriander has long been referred to as an “anti-diabetic” plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
In the United States, coriander has recently been studied for its cholesterollowering effects.
In a study where coriander was added to the diet of diabetic mice, it helped stimulate their secretion of insulin and lowered their blood sugar. Another study demonstrated that when given to rats fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet, coriander lowered levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, while actually increasing levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol. Research also suggests that the volatile oils found in the leaves of the coriander plant may have antimicrobial properties.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth cup of fresh coriander leaf (cilantro) provides 1 calorie, 0.1 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.1 g dietary fiber, 111 IU vitamin A, 22 mg potassium, and 4 mg calcium. .....
Cumin
186. Cumin seeds are a very good source of iron, a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. Cumin has traditionally been thought to benefit the digestive system, and scientific research is beginning to bear out cumin’s age-old reputation. Research has shown that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, compounds necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. Cumin seeds may also have anti-carcinogenic properties. In one study, cumin was shown to protect laboratory animals from developing stomach or liver tumors. This cancer-protective effect may be due to cumin’s potent free radical scavenging abilities as well as the ability it has shown to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth teaspoon of ground cumin provides 3 calories, 0.2 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g dietary fiber, 3 IU vitamin A, 11 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 5 mg calcium, and 0.2 mg iron. .....
Dandelion
187. Dandelion is rich in calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones. It is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and luteolin, which protect bones from age-related oxidant damage. Dandelion juice is a diuretic and may stimulate insulin production. Dandelion is also used as a vegetable; it’s a good source of fiber.
Dandelion greens are rich in vitamin C and are among the best vegetable sources of beta-carotene. They provide potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and the B vitamins thiamine and riboflavin.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of raw dandelion greens provides 45 calories, 9 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g protein, 0.49 g fat, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 4931 IU vitamin A, 35 mg vitamin C, 4.8 mg vitamin E, 273.7 mcg vitamin K, 27 mcg folic acid, 187 mg calcium, 2959 mcg beta-carotene, 0.17 mg copper, 3.1 mg iron, 36 mg magnesium, 66 mg phosphorus, 397 mg potassium, and 76 mg sodium. .....
Endive
188. Endive, which is the second growth of the chicory plant, can be pale yellow or purple in color and has a pungent, bitter flavor. Endive is a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C, and selenium.
Endive is rich in compounds that help boost the immune system, detoxify the body, promote regularity, lower the risk of cataracts, and protect the heart.
This crisp, lettuce-like vegetable makes a unique addition to salads. It can also be served as a hot side dish if steamed or sautéed.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped, raw endive provides 4 calories, 0.8 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.8 g dietary fiber, 513 IU vitamin A, 2 mg vitamin C, 36 mcg folic acid, 79 mg potassium, 6 mg sodium, 7 mg phosphorus, 13 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium. .....
Fennel
189. Fennel is a popular vegetable, spice, and flavoring, as well as an ingredient in traditional medicines. It is one of the key flavorings in absinthe. Fennel contains an anise-flavored compound called anethole, which is a potent antimicrobial against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. A lab study has shown anethole to be effective against some kinds of intestinal worms. Anethole may have some analgesic, or painreducing, effects and some anti-convulsant effects as well. Anethole also acts as a phytoestrogen.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of raw fennel bulb slices provides 27 calories, 6.3 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 117 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 23 mcg folic acid, 360 mg potassium, 45 mg sodium, 44 mg phosphorus, 43 mg calcium, and 15 mg magnesium. .....
Fenugreek
190. Fenugreek seeds are hard, yellowish brown, and angular. Both Indian Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine recommend it to treat arthritis, asthma, and bronchitis, and to improve digestion, maintain a healthy metabolism, increase libido and male potency, cure skin problems (such as wounds, rashes, and boils), treat sore throat, and cure acid reflux.
Fenugreek also has a long history of use for the treatment of reproductive disorders— to induce labor, to treat hormonal disorders, to help with breast enlargement, and to reduce menstrual pain.
Recent studies have shown that fenugreek helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and may have potential against diabetes and heart disease.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon fenugreek seed provides 13 calories, 2.3 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 2 IU vitamin A, 2 mcg folic acid, 31 mg potassium, 3 mg sodium, 12 mg phosphorus, 7 mg calcium, 1.34 mg iron, and 8 mg magnesium. .....
Garlic
191. Garlic is a member of the onion family, all of whose members are rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds, including thiosulfinates, sulfoxides and di- thiins—compounds responsible both for garlic’s characteristically pungent odor and for its health-promoting effects.
Garlic is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and a good source of selenium, though you probably won’t eat enough of it for it to serve as a significant source of any of these nutrients.
The sulfur compounds in garlic and other alliums appear to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the linings of blood vessels, which helps to relax them and may lower blood pressure. Garlic is also rich in antioxidants.
Nutritional Facts :
Three cloves of raw garlic provide 13 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.2 g dietary fiber, 3 mg vitamin C, 36 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 14 mg phosphorus, 16 mg calcium, and 2 mg magnesium. .....
Ginger
192. Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of stomach discomfort. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance that helps eliminate intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties, including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. The possibility that gingerol, the main active component in ginger and the one responsible for its distinctive flavor, may inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells was suggested in research presented at a major meeting of cancer experts in 2003.
Nutritional Facts :
One-fourth cup of fresh ginger slices provides 17 calories, 3.6 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 3 mcg folic acid, 100 mg potassium, 3 mg sodium, 6 mg phosphorus, 4 mg calcium, and 10 mg magnesium. .....
Green Tea and White Tea
193. Green tea is light in color because of incomplete fermentation of the leaf. White tea is tea whose leaves are picked before they open fully, when the buds are still covered with fine, white hairs. That, of course, is why it’s called “white” tea. Green tea and white tea come from the same plant, the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The main difference between the two types of tea is that the white tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than the green tea leaves. They both undergo very little processing, though white tea is the least processed of any tea. Green tea is only partly fermented, and white tea is not fermented at all. By contrast, black tea is fully fermented.
Because they are so gently treated, green tea and white tea retain higher amounts of their beneficial antioxidants.
Studies have shown that white tea has a concentration of antioxidants that is three times higher than that of green tea. White tea contains less caffeine than green tea, about 15 milligrams per serving compared to 20 milligrams per serving for green tea. If caffeine tends to make you jittery, white tea may be the better choice.
White tea has the highest antioxidant content of any tea, which for many is the main reason for drinking it. As a comparison, one cup of white tea contains approximately twelve times as many antioxidants as fresh orange juice. Active ingredients of green tea and white tea, including catechin, theanine, and saponin, work to scavenge active oxygen species in the blood, helping protect the body from harmful microorganisms.
Nutritional Facts :
One fusion green and white tea bag provides 0 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, and 0 g dietary fiber. .....
Horseradish
194. Horseradish is a member of the Brassica family, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Like other Brassica, horseradish contains significant amounts of glucosinolates— compounds that have been shown to increase the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and that may suppress the growth of cancerous tumors. But horseradish is especially rich in these compounds, providing ten times as many of them as broccoli does.
Horseradish is also said to aid digestion and contains compounds known to fight pathogens in food, such as Listeria, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of prepared horseradish provides 6 calories, 1.4 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 44 mg potassium, 14 mg sodium, 5 mg phosphorus, and 9 mg calcium. .....
Marjoram
195. Marjoram is an herb with aromatic leaves. The flavonoids in marjoram have sedation qualities that help relieve insomnia, tension headaches, and migraines. They may promote a healthy heart and healthy arteries by preventing cholesterol buildup and improving blood circulation. It is also thought that they help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
Marjoram has anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for both internal and external use. It alleviates aches and pains and, when used externally, aids in the reduction of toothaches, muscular pain, bruises, arthritis, sprains, and stiff joints. Used internally, it eases severe stomach cramps, spasms, and painful menstruation.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of dried marjoram provides 3 calories, 0.6 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 81 IU vitamin A, 1 mg vitamin C, 3 mcg folic acid, 15 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 3 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, and 3 mg magnesium. .....
Mint
196. Mint is a powerful antioxidant that contains many vitamins and minerals. This fresh herb is rich in vitamins A, C, and B12, thiamine, folic acid, and riboflavin, as well as the minerals manganese, copper, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, fluoride, and selenium.
Mint has been used for centuries to aid digestion and relieve indigestion. The chemical compound menthol, derived from peppermint oil, is well known for its therapeutic effect on the chest and respiratory system. It has also shown potential to inhibit the formation of cancerous cells and the growth of bacteria and fungus.
Peppermint oil is rich in monoterpene perillyl alcohol, which has shown potential against pancreatic, mammary, and liver tumors in animals.
Nutritional Facts :
Two tablespoons of fresh spearmint provides 4.9 calories, 0.9 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.8 g dietary fiber, 456 IU vitamin A, 11.8 mcg folic acid, 7.1 mg magnesium, 6.8 mg phosphorus, 51.5 mg potassium, and 3.4 mg sodium. .....
Rosemary
197. Rosemary, a versatile and much-loved green herb, has recently shown potential against cancer and age-related skin damage. Caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid, which are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, are believed to be the active elements.
These two natural acids appear to safeguard a protective protein called Hsp70, which itself reduces damage from stress and toxins. Rosemary extract may also inactivate toxins and help eliminate them from your liver before they can inflict any serious damage.
Nutritional Facts :
One tablespoon of dried rosemary provides 10.8 calories, 2.1 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 102 IU vitamin A, 2 mg vitamin C, 10 mcg folic acid, 41.6 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 7.1 mg magnesium, 2.3 mg phosphorus, 31 mg potassium, and 1.6 mg sodium. .....
Saffron
198. Saffron crocus is a flowering plant that is usually used as a spice. However, it is also used in herbal supplements. Some of the compounds in saffron may have anticancer activity; others may stimulate the secretion of stomach acids and can stimulate the contraction of smooth muscles (such as the uterus). Compounds in saffron may also have some effect on lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of saffron provides 3 calories, 0.7 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 5 IU vitamin A, 17 mg potassium, 3 mg phosphorus, and 3 mg magnesium. .....
Sage
199. Like rosemary, its sister herb in the mint (Labiatae) family, sage contains a variety of volatile oils; flavonoids, including apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin; and phenolic acids, which act as anti-inflammatories. Sage has also shown potential to enhance memory.
Nutritional Facts :
One teaspoon of ground sage provides 3 calories, 0.6 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 59 IU vitamin A, 3 mcg folic acid, 11 mg potassium, 17 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium. .....
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