I have discussed many times about choosing colorful fruits and vegetables, since the darker and brighter the colour, the more nutrients and phytochemicals are packed in the produce.
Blueberries and raspberries, for instance, owe their deep blue and red hues to anthocyanins, powerful compounds thought to guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer and boost cognitive function.
Brightly coloured orange and green vegetables, such as spinach and carrots, are exceptional sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.
We have been asked to avoid the white stuff like, white sugar, white flour, white rice etc. because colorless foods are missing fibre and protective phytochemicals and they’re a poor source of many nutrients. Many score high on the glycemic index scale, meaning that their carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin to rise rapidly.
Despite all this do not give up on some of the colorless. Despite their pale color, some are surprisingly plentiful in vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.
These five nutritious white foods should be included in your diet.
Mushrooms deliver good nutrition, One cup of raw whole mushrooms provides 20 per cent to 25 per cent of a day’s worth of niacin, a B vitamin that’s used to make stress hormones, improve circulation and reduce inflammation, have 21 calories and 3 grams of protein.
Mushrooms are also an excellent source of selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant, helps make DNA and plays an important role in thyroid function. Mushrooms also supply potassium, copper and iron.
Potatoes are often thought to have little nutritional value, the white potato is surprisingly nutritious. One medium baked potato serves up 22 milligrams of vitamin C along with plenty of B6, folate and magnesium.
A medium potato has 941 mg of Potassium, 20 per cent of a day’s worth.
Potatoes can help ward off hunger, too. According to researchers from the University of Sydney, boiled white potatoes scored highest on the satiety index, a tool that ranks foods by their ability to satisfy hunger. Researchers tested 38 different foods, including breads, breakfast cereals, grains, fruits, protein-rich foods and snack foods.
Some varieties of white potato have a high glycemic index (GI), like russet potatoes but red and new potatoes have moderate GI scores.
The glycemic index of potatoes also depends on how you cook them.
Eaten cold (precooked) or reheated, potatoes have low to moderate GI value. Cooling cooked potato starch changes its structure making it resistant to digestion in the small intestine. Leave the skin on when you cook potatoes. It contains fibre and nutrients, and it helps retain the vitamin C in potatoes.
This vegetable has very little pigmentation, has all the disease-fighting phytochemicals or nutrients.
Parsnips are packed with falcarinol, a phytochemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Animal research suggests that falcarinol may reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. Parsnips contain five times more falcarinol than brightly coloured carrots.
Parsnips are also nutrient-dense. One cup of cooked parsnip, for example, serves up 5.5 g of fibre, 572 mg of potassium, 20 mg of vitamin C and almost one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate.
Enjoy parsnips roasted with herbs or cooked and mashed with other root vegetables such as carrot, turnip or sweet potato. Make parsnip chips. Slice parsnips thinly, brush with olive oil and bake until crisp.
Bananas have a high potassium content 422 mg per one medium banana. They’re also an exceptional source of B6, a vitamin that’s needed for protein metabolism and to maintain healthy nerve and brain function. One medium banana supplies one-third of a day’s worth of the nutrient for adults aged 19 to 50 and 25 per cent of a day’s worth for older adults.
Bananas also provide fiber, vitamin C, folate, niacin and magnesium, and they also have a low glycemic index value of 51 (GI values less than 55 are considered low).
They have resistant starch so bananas are considered a prebiotic as well, a food that feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
This vegetable does more than add flavour to meals. It also provides a little vitamin C, folate, calcium and potassium.
Onions are high in flavonols, phytochemicals that neutralize harmful free radicals and suppress inflammation. One particular flavonol, called quercetin, has been linked to protection from lung cancer, asthma and diabetes.
Observational research suggests that a moderate intake of onions may reduce the risk of colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers.
Organosulfur compounds in onions, the same chemicals that give onions their distinctive flavour, have also been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and cholesterol and blood pressure lowering properties.