Sometimes I re-post from other blogs and newsletters when I find information I believe will benefit my readers. I like for you to see that the insights I write about are shared with “experts”. Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.(well known author and physician of integrative health) included the following list in his recent eNewsletter. You can subscribe to that eNewsletter if you like. www.drweil.com will link you to his site. His “Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid”, in my opinion, is much better than the FDA’s which seems over influenced by certain agricultural lobbies.
Dr. Weil’s POST:
“Vegetables (and fruits) are the foundation of my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, and for good reason – fresh produce is the best source of natural nutrients that can help keep your entire body running smoothly. I recommend every healthy kitchen have the following versatile and flavorful favorites on hand:
- Onions: This classic, pungent vegetable adds depth and richness to any meal. Sulfur compounds found in most varieties of onions may be responsible for its health benefits, including the possible lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Garlic: This fragrant bulb contains many of the same phytonutrients as onions, as well as antibiotic and antiviral compounds. It may help boost the immune system, prevent colds, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight fungal infections.
- Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, such as kale and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Buy organic spinach, since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties.
- Cabbage: This low-cost yet highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.
- Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, these vegetables may help boost the immune system, deliver vitamin C and folate (which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects), and are low on the glycemic index and glycemic load charts. Don’t miss tomorrow’s Daily Tip, for the other five of the 10 Veggies You Should Be Eating.”
- Yesterday’s Daily Tip covered five of my favorite healthy vegetables – today I present the rest of the list. I recommend keeping your kitchen stocked with each of these as it comes into season:
My note: Mushrooms are, indeed, nutraceuticals in that they are potent chemically. They are, on the other hand, fungi and some nutritional writers like Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD, D.Sc who wrote the book, Sick and TIRED? Reclaim Your Inner Terrain, suggests not eating them because they are fungi. Dr. Weil, M.D. and Dr. Young, PhD and D.Sc both make good points. Perhaps mushrooms are more suitable in the diet of one preventing cancer than one fighting cancer. Make your own decision, but this is my “take” on the information these learned men provide.
- Beets. The deep red color of these root vegetables comes from anthocyanins, phytonutrients that protect against damage from carcinogens and may help prevent heart disease. Beets are delicious hot or cold, versatile and inexpensive.
- Squash. With a wide variety of types, flavors, shapes, and sizes, squash is readily adaptable to any occasion – it can even be used in pie! It provides beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber, nutrients that are necessary for good overall health.
- Tomatoes. This red fruit (often considered a vegetable) contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and possibly some types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Use tomatoes in everything from salads to sauces, but know that lycopene is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked and eaten with a little fat, such as extra virgin olive oil.
- Broccoli. This vegetable-platter classic and other cruciferous vegetables offer cancer-protective benefits. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium – both of which help keep bones strong. It is tasty both raw and cooked, and can be a stand out in soups, casseroles, and salads.
- Mushrooms. Prized for their tonic effects, mushrooms can help address a host of illnesses. Maitake mushrooms (known as “hen of the woods” for their resemblance to the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen) are particularly valued in Asian cooking, as they have anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Shiitake, enokidake and oyster mushrooms also have immune-boosting qualities, and are easily included in many main courses.