If broccoli and spinach are the rock stars of the vegetable world, then corn and celery are the stagehands, working hard outside the limelight. For years we've dismissed these pale staples as nutritionally barren, focusing our attention on their brighter, more colorful kin. Today we know better.
"We've done a disservice to a lot of common vegetables," says Liz Applegate, PhD. "All vegetables have nutritional value. And every vegetable contains potent chemicals that help it survive. When you eat them, you get those chemicals. We are always discovering new phytochemicals that may fight cancer and heart disease, so it's wise to eat a large variety of vegetables every day."
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN: An inexpensive way for restaurants to offer a salad with every meal
IT'S ALSO: A source of vitamin K (one serving provides up to 20 percent of your daily needs), which helps your body build new bone. In a study of women ages 38 to 74, researchers found that those who ate lettuce once or twice a day had a 45 percent lower risk of hip fracture than peers who ate lettuce one or fewer times per week.
MUSHROOM (WHITE BUTTON)
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN: A fungus that doubles as a pizza topping and smothers a New York strip
IT'S ALSO: A good source of B vitamins that help convert food into energy. Mushrooms are also rich in the antioxidant selenium, and contain potent anti-tumor compounds called triterpenoids. Little wonder mushrooms have long been revered for their medicinal properties.
IT'S ALWAYS: A spicy garnish that gets thrown out with the parsley and kale
IT'S ALSO: Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which means it contains cancer-protective properties. It's also an excellent source of vitamin C and heart-healthy potassium and folate, plus the trace mineral molybdenum, which assists energy production in the cells.
IT'S ALWAYS: A refreshing addition to a summer salad and a cool treat for tired eyes
IT'S ALSO: A good source of caffeic acid, which helps soothe skin irritation, and silica, an essential building block of connective tissue like muscle, tendons and ligaments, and bone. The flesh contains vitamin C, and the skin is rich in potassium and magnesium.
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN: An ingredient that turns up the flavor volume in any dish it's added to
IT'S ALSO: "One of the richest sources of flavonoids in the human diet," according to researchers at Cornell University. Flavonoids are plant compounds that fight bacteria, viruses and inflammation, and help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN: A low-calorie weight-loss standby and a stick that holds peanut butter
IT'S ALSO: A good source of energy-converting B vitamins such as riboflavin, B 6 and pantothenic acid, as well as bone-building calcium and magnesium. It's also a good source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A and C, folate and potassium, and blood-and bone-preserving vitamin K.
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN: A buttery, salty backyard BBQ favorite and a reason to buy cob holders
IT'S ALSO: Rich in fiber as well as B vitamins thiamin and folate. Maybe more important, each kernel is brimming with ferulic acid, a known cancer-fighting phytochemical. Research shows the longer you cook it, the more potent it becomes. So fire up the coals and let it roast.
Via: Bicycling Magazine