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5 Of The Healthiest Fruits And Vegetables: What Makes Them So Important?
Plus recipes too!
“We are what we eat”, or so the saying goes. Different foods help our bodies to grow, to heal, and to keep the immune system running properly. More than that, they stop our bodies from falling apart: the absence of many different nutrients can lead to various physical ailments. It’s really important to eat healthily, so let’s look at five of the best fruits and vegetables to include in your diet.
Green vegetables are widely considered among the healthiest foods we can eat, and broccoli is definitely one of the most nutrient-rich green vegetables. It’s a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, vitamin B and fiber. In addition, it contains potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, protein and calcium.
Broccoli can assist in lowering cholesterol levels which improves cardiovascular health. It supports the body’s detoxification system, aids vitamin D uptake and may also reduce our susceptibility to certain allergies.
Make this roasted broccoli everyone in your family will love.
Blueberries have a low glycemic index (GI) which means they have a low impact on our blood sugar levels., so you won’t get a sugar rush from eating blueberries. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is also believed to reduce the risk of developing type-II diabetes as well as coronary heart disease.
Blueberries are also a very rich source of antioxidants, which are thought to help reduce the risk of developing cancer. They are a good source of vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C too, placing them high on the nutrient-density scale.
Try this delicious recipe for Blueberry Chia Seed Jam.
Spinach is one of the best green vegetables for your health. It contains a huge quantity of nutrients, and offers several specific health benefits. Among the most concentrated nutrients are magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, protein and zinc.
Spinach may help reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, meaning it may help reduce our susceptibility to allergies. The vitamin K, magnesium and calcium content of spinach is good for maintaining healthy bones and there are also antioxidants in spinach that help remove harmful free radicals from the body.
A spinach pesto is a perfect topping to any veggie roll or salad. Haven’t made, try this easy recipe.
Green peas are another fantastic source of nutrients. They contain a huge range of nutrients in high quantities, including manganese, fiber, vitamin K and C, phosphorus, protein, copper, iron and zinc.
Peas can help to regulate blood sugar levels thanks to their fiber and protein content. Fiber and protein slow down the pace of digestion, which also means that carbohydrates are digested more slowly too. Peas are also known to reduce the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and to help protect against stomach cancer.
Love guacamole? Try this Pea Guacamole.
Apples are a fantastic source of fiber which helps promote a healthy digestive system. This also aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of vitamin C. Although apples aren’t as nutrient-rich as some other fruits and vegetables, they are thought to have both anti-cancer and anti-asthma properties. In addition, they’re good for cardiovascular health.
This Grilled Apple & Pear Salad -from one of my favorite cook books Vegan Cooking for Carnivores- is a summer favorite and I think you’ll enjoy it too. The peppery arugula balances the sweetness of the fruits and with the added zest in the dressing, it’s a winner all around.
Grilled Apple and Pear Salad with Orange Citrus Dressing
Makes about 6 servings.
- 4 firm Fuji apples (cored and cut into 8 wedges)
- 2 Barlett pears (cored and cut into 8 wedges)
- 1 tabelspoon EVOO
- Kosher salt
- ground pepper
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans (chopped)
- 6-8 ounces fresh arugula (cleaned & ready to eat)
- 1/2 red onion (very thinly sliced)
- 5 large, fresh basil leaves (cut into chiffonade)
Toss the apples and pears int eh EVOO and season to taste with salt & pepper. Preheat a grill pan until super hot or use and outdoor grill. Grill the apples and pears for about 3 minutes per side. Place the grilled fruit in a bowl and refergerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
Toast the peacans in a dry pan over medium heat (tossing the nuts frequently while toasting to prevent burning) until they are evenly colored and fragrant. Set them aside.
In a large bowl, toss teh fruit, arugula, red onions, pecans and basil with enough of the dressing (below) to coat. Taste and adjust dressing if needed.
Serve family style or on individula salad plates.
Orange Citrus Dressing
Makes approx. 2 1/2 cups
- 4 cups orange juice
- 4 garlic gloves
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemons (Hint: wash the whole lemon and dry completely & freeze. Once frozen it is easy to zest and will thaw quickly.)
- 1 cup EVOO
In a small saucepan, simmer the OJ with the garlic and whole clove until is has reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Remove the garlic & gloves and set aside to cool. Pour the cooeld juice into a blender and add the salt, pepper and lemon zest. With the blender running, slowly add the EVOO and blend until emulsified.
Best if used immediately or store in a tight lid fitting jar in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
What’s your favorite of these 5 Healthy fruits & veggies? Share in comments below.
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