By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.
Have you ever wondered what nutrients are in your garden, local farmers market, and produce section? Read on for more information about some of the benefits in veggies and fruit grown locally.
Proper nutrition can help…
- Enhance your energy & stamina
- Manage a healthy weight
- Improve your athletic performance
- Prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, eye damage etc!
Eating more vegetables & fruit will enhance your intake of…
Fibre promotes good digestive health but also lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, protects against diabetes, and can help you keep full to manage a healthy weight.
2. VITAMINS & MINERALS
Fresh veggies and fruit contain more vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other food group!
Phytochemicals are protective compounds in plant-based foods that have health promoting and disease preventative effects.
There are hundreds of phytochemicals – eat a variety of plant based foods since you can’t get a good variety from supplements.
Gimme 5! (fruit and veggie servings per day at least!)
- Choose 5-10 vegetable and fruit servings per day.
- One serving of vegetables or fruit is equal to…
- 1 medium sized fruit (such as an apple or pear)
- 1/2 cup chunky veggies (such as raw carrots or steamed peas)
- 1/2 cup fruit (such as strawberries)
- 1 cup leafy greens (such as spinach, lettuce, or chard)
- 2 tbsp. dried fruit (such as raisins)
- 1/2 cup juice (such as orange juice)
Nutrients in Your Garden
Root Vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips etc.)
- Potassium, fibre, vitamin C, carbohydrates
- Orange, yellow, and red roots have high concentrations of beta carotene and other antioxidants associated with a decrease in cancer and heart disease.
Allium vegetables (onion, garlic)
- Organosulfur compounds (allylic sulfides) inhibit blood clotting, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of some cancers.
- Vitamin C, potassium, and trace minerals.
Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, turnips etc.)
- Carotenoids – cancer preventative compound found in deep green and red varieties
- Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, fibre
- Indoles – lower cholesterol levels and protect against cancer – especially breast cancer
Squash (zucchini, yellow/acorn/spaghetti/butternut, pumpkin)
- Deep yellow and orange varieties like pumpkin, butternut, and acorn squash are rich in carotenoids.
- Potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, fibre, and carbohydrates.
Peppers (sweet bell peppers and hot peppers)
- Vitamin C, minerals, fibre
- Red and green peppers contain carotenoids
- Hot peppers contain capsaicin – lowers cholesterol etc.
- In general the riper (redder) varieties are higher in nutrients than the unripe (greener) varieties.
Greens (Romaine Lettuce, leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, dandelion greens etc.)
- The deeper the green the better nutrient density!
- Beta-carotene, fibre, calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K
- Folic acid – reduces the risk of heart disease and neural tube birth defects
- Spinach is high in lutein – slows macular degeneration of the eye
Fruits (tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons etc.)
- Tomatoes and tomato based products (bruschetta, salsa, canned stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce) contain lycopene which reduces the risk of prostate, lung, stomach, breast and colon cancer.
- Berries are especially high in phytochemicals including cancer preventative carotenoids and are some of the highest fibre fruits around. Soluble fibre in berries help to reduce cholesterol.