Thursday, May 20, 2010

Which are leafy green veggies? Bright orange?

There's four different vegetable promotions I'd like to cover here. The first is to eat more dark green leafy and bright orange vegetables. Greens have lots of health benefits, and are low in carbs so they won't even affect blood sugar levels. They're a great way to fill you up. That's why its recommended to visualize our plate in sections, and make half your plate vegetables. Read more about which nutrients and health benefits greens have at and young womens health.

The USDA recommends 3 cups a week of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables:
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Dark green leafy lettuce (not iceburg, but I think green, red, and arugula)
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Kale
  • Mesclun
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress
I hadn't even heard of some of these. I was hoping peas would make the cut, but in vain. Neither did brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichoke, bean sprouts, and peppers! (The links are to recipes.)

I did learn that its important to add a little oil or other fat to dark green leafy vegetables, because important vitamins found therein, like vitamin K, are fat soluble and need fat to be absorbed. Learn something new every day!

Orange (click on this link for more info. on"orange" veggies):
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Hubbard squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potatoes
Some fruits actually fit into the bright orange vegetable group because they contain the same nutrients. These are cantaloupe and apricots.

Third, another promotion is called eat a rainbow. Apparently, although dark green leafy and bright orange are SO rich in things that are good for us, each different color group has its own set of benefits, too. Its strange to me to learn that a yellow pepper has more in common with things in its own color group than it does with the green pepper, so they say. Its also important to get a variety, and not throw all your eggs in one basket and eat all spinach, for example, because variety brings more nutrients and health into play; thus, eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

I think the most common to us all is "5 a day," commonly stamped on plastic bags, brochures, and produce packaging. This is the minimum. A food exhibit at the PDSC in Pullman displayed a study done over a period of time for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 7, and 9. With each increase in servings of fruits and vegetables, health benefits increased.

Max Tomlinson recommends eating two fruits and leaving at least 3 slots for vegetables. "As a guide, a portion of fruit is equivalent to one apple, pear, orange or similar-sized fruit; two plums; half a grapefruit or avocado; a handful of grapes or cherries; or a slice of melon or pineapple. A portion of vegetables is equivalent to a medium-sized potato, a large tomato or two medium carrots," he states in his book Clean Up Your Diet.

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