While any given fruit or vegetable has perhaps hundreds of useful vitamins and nutrients, no single fruit or veggie contains everything your body needs for good health. This makes it important to eat from all the main fruit/veggie categories throughout the week. In this blog, as promised, I have provided a list of these major categories. Fortunately, memorizing them is not necessary as the foods within each category tend to be similarly colored. With that in mind, it is often said as a simplified rule to “paint your diet with color.” That is, eat vegetables and fruits of different colors (e.g. reds, greens, purples, and oranges). This will ensure you are eating across the various fruit/veggie categories and in turn getting all the benefits these foods have to offer!
- Crucifer Family - Includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and watercress. These are excellent sources of isothiocyanates, indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles, which protect against some cancers.
- Melon/Squash Family - Includes cucumbers, summer squashes such a zucchini and pumpkin, winter squashes such as acorn and butternut, as well as cantaloupes and honeydew melons.
- Legume Family – Includes alfalfa sprouts, beans, peas, and soybeans. These foods have plenty of fiber, folate, and protease inhibitors, which protect against heart disease and cancer.
- Lily Family - Includes asparagus, chives, garlic, leeks, onions and shallots. These have sulfur-containing compounds, especially allicin and diallyl sulfate, that may fight cancer.
- Citrus Family - Grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines. These are high in vitamin C as well as the compounds limonene and coumarin, which have been shown to have anticancer properties in laboratory animals.
- Solanum Family - Eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. These are high in lycopene, a type of antioxidant that may protect against prostate and other cancers.
- Umbels Family - Carrots, celeriac, celery, parsley, and parsnips. Carrots are excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A. In general, carotenoids may help against cancers or heart disease as well as maintain memory into old age.
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-Shahir Masri, M.S.
-Shahir Masri, M.S.