Eat the Rainbow: Go White to Help Your Heart, Blood Vessels, and Immune SystemAuthor: Diplomat Pharmacy Date: March 06, 2020
In our “Eat the Rainbow” articles, we’ve talked about the benefits of foods of many different colors — red, green, purple/blue, and orange/yellow. But what about foods with no color? Yes, even white-colored fruits and vegetables can boost your health in important ways.
Some white foods look white — such as cauliflower, white beans, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and potatoes. Others are actually brown or tan on the outside, such as ginger, pears, jicama, and Jerusalem artichokes.1 But they can all help your health in important ways — helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol and protecting against cancer.
What are phytonutrients?
The helpful nutrients in fruits and vegetables are called phytonutrients. Although plants produce these chemicals to defend themselves against predators, they have many different health benefits for humans.
It’s always better to get your phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables than from supplements. Supplements make it easier to get too much of a nutrient, which can be harmful — and they don’t give you the same wide variety of nutrients that fruits and vegetables do.
What phytonutrients are in white fruits and vegetables?
White fruits and vegetables have chemicals called anthoxanthins and allicin that help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Some white foods are also high in potassium, an important mineral for heart and muscle health. Others contain folate, which protects against cancer and helps the body produce new blood cells.
What health benefits do white fruits and vegetables have?
- They protect your heart and blood vessels.
- The potassium in potatoes helps your nerves and muscles work — both of which are crucial to proper heart function. Potatoes are loaded with potassium — in fact, one study calls them the best dietary source of this important mineral.2
- If you have kidney problems, you might need to limit your potassium intake. Talk to your doctor before you add potatoes and other high-potassium foods to your diet.
- Anthoxanthins and allicin help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, making it easier for your heart to work.
- They help fight cancer.
- Anthoxanthins — including one in onions called quercetin — can help reduce your risk of cancer.
- Folate helps your body avoid the cell mutations that can lead to cancer.
- They help your immune system.
- Many different white vegetables contain vitamin C, which helps your body fight off infections before you get sick.
Don’t forget white fruits and vegetables in your “rainbow” of foods — they give you important chemicals and minerals to help your health. Here are some recipes that give you those benefits in delicious ways.
More Ways to “Eat the Rainbow”
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