Chew On This

Hail the white veggies

It is time to give a shout out to white vegetables. The usual recommendation to eat richly colored fruits and vegetables ignores nutritious and pale palette-pleasing produce.

A scientific roundtable at Purdue University addressed this topic during the session, “White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients.”

There are colorless healthy nutrients such as potassium, fiber and vitamins. The list of healthy whites includes potatoes, cauliflower, turnip, onions, mushrooms and kohlrabi to name a few.

Here are a few worth noting:

• White Potato with Skin: A medium potato has more potassium than a banana and 45 percent of recommended daily vitamin C. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service using new analytical methods have found that the healthy phenolic content of white potatoes matched broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts.

Potatoes also contain resistant starch, which benefits colon health, blood sugar and hunger. Baking a potato provides significantly more resistant starch than boiling. All this for 110 calories.

•  Onions: The smell is the giveaway that onions as well as garlic are sulfur-containing vegetables. The sulfur compounds have health benefits. Onions have been shown to lower risk of several cancers including colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian. Onions, artichokes and garlic are prebiotics. This means that they have the indigestible fiber that promotes a healthy gut.

•  Mushrooms: What do humans have in common with mushrooms? We both make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Mushrooms contain a vitamin D precursor that converts to vitamin D2 after ultraviolet light exposure. Wild mushrooms grown outdoors would have more vitamin D than those grown inside. Taking mushrooms out of the package and puting them in the sunlight for about 15-30 minutes boosts vitamin D. No sunscreen needed.

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

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