Heroes in Your Grocery Aisle

Shopping is often a challenging chore. What to make for dinner is a daily conundrum unless you're fond of the same meal every day, every week, every year of your life. It is especially challenging when you try to quit smoking and need healthy substitutions to feed your oral fixation and give a kick-start to your immune system. 

Did you know that 49.8% of the diets of adult Australians meet the daily fruit standard but only 7% meet the daily vegetable standard? You may find shopping and cooking more interesting if you learn a bit about some of the foods that appear in your produce aisle. We  have put together a list of interesting produce facts to spotlight some of the healthy traits of everyday veggies and a caution about one fruit. Read on for some interesting tidbits that showcase the heroes of your produce aisle.

Asparagus: This popular spring plant is a feisty disease fighter. The following are in the Asparagus arsenal:

  • Loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, asparagus is also a good source of potassium for cardio-vascular health, and zinc for healthy skin.
  • High in glutathione, this much-maligned veggie is an anti-carcinogen.
  • Another ingredient, rutin, keeps blood vessels from rupturing and appears to offer protection against radiation.

In Australia, you can find green, white, and purple asparagus. We harvest green asparagus above ground but we dig white asparagus from under the ground. The purple asparagus plant is a different variety than the others and gets its colour from the high level of antioxidants (anthocyanins). 

Beetroots. It's very sad but many consumers who buy fresh beetroots cut off the tops and throw them away. You are throwing away healing food that you can sautee with garlic and oil and use as in many recipes as you would silverbeet.

  • Beet greens contain vitamins A, C, and B-complex as well as the minerals calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. They are deep green so they are full of iron, too.
  • Beet roots should make it into your meal but in sparing amounts if you are watching your levels of carbohydrates.

Coriander. We use the leaves and stems of the herb we call Coriander and which is also known as Chinese parsley. Coriander is in the same family of herbs that contains anise, fennel, caraway, and dill. Interestingly, it is a member of the carrot family whose leaves it somewhat resembles.

  • You may use Coriander to treat urinary tract infections.
  • Coriander's leaves and seeds aid in digestion, specifically relieving gas, pain, and bloating.
  • The leaves also treat headaches, rheumatic pain, nausea, inflammation, and coughs and mental stress. Quite a versatile this little plant!

Kohlrabi. This member of the cabbage family may look a little strange but you want it on your side. Kohlrabi is high in vitamin C and potassium like the other veggies on our list but there the comparison ends. The vegetable is available in two varieties in Australia: white (also known as light green) and purple skinned. It has flavor similar to broccoli and cauliflower, but sweeter, with the texture of potatoes.

  • Kohlrabi helps keep blood sugar stable and so helps diabetics and those suffering from hypoglycemia.
  • It also fights edema, candida, and has anti-viral properties.

Onions. The ubiquitous onion possesses anti-oxidant (quercetin), anti-allergy, anti-viral, and anti-histamine properties.

  • Sulphur compounds help detoxify your body while onions also aid in cellular regeneration.
  • To take advantage of these healing properties, you should eat raw onions or lightly steam them.

Radishes. One of our more ancient foods, these tasty little morsels have been grown in Egypt since 2780 B.C. They've changed somewhat since that time -- they originally were black. Quite a color change.

  • A member of the cabbage family, radishes have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Radishes contain vitamin C, potassium and other minerals.

Tomatoes. A favorite for many diets, tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C but wary is the watchword. Hothouse tomatoes contain half the vitamin C of tomatoes grown on vines in the farmer's field.

  • Tomatoes also contain vitamins A, B, potassium and phosphorous.
  • Anti-carcinogenic, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, flavonoids, and other substances referred to as phyto-chemicals.

We've reserved a popular fruit for last. Bananas are extremely popular with babies and adults. You should know, however, that you do not need to eat bananas for its potassium content. Potassium is in all fruits and vegetables and in no higher amounts in bananas.

Bananas are, however, extremely high in sugar content which means you should avoid them if you have problems with high or difficult-to-control sugar levels. If you eat a banana, combine it with some protein. That will help reduce your body's insulin response to the sugar in the banana as your body metabolizes the sugar over a longer period of time.

Aside from all these health benefits, healthy eating is also associated to wanting to introduce more healthy habits and break those bad ones such as smoking. If you think you are ready to quit smoking, please download our "Checklist that you are ready to quit smoking." to learn more.

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