One of Christopher Columbus’ many discoveries during his voyages was the pineapple, found on Guadeloupe Island in the Caribbean. They are low-growing plants whose hundreds of tiny flowers become fruitlets that join around the core to form the fruit. Pineapple has many health benefits. Its significant amounts of bromelain, an enzyme, may help ease inflammation, aid in digestion and potentially even suppress coughs. Just beware if you eat the entire pineapple: Its acidity may leave you with a sore tongue!
A beloved member of the citrus family, the grapefruit was named for the way it clusters on a tree branch — like grapes. It originated in the Caribbean in the early 1800s, and is likely a cross between a pomelo and some other citrus fruit. The main differences between grapefruit and pomelo (also referred to as pummelo or pommelo) are growing locations, color and size.
The pomelo is native to Southeast Asia, is yellow-green in color and ranges from cantaloupe-sized to watermelon-sized, while the grapefruit is grown in semitropical areas of the United States (mainly Florida and Southern California), is a yellow-pink color and is about the size of a fist. In Asian cuisine, the pomelo is often used in sweet jams and jellies, and in dessert soups.
A popular substitute for starchy and gluten-heavy foods, cauliflower is an unsung superfood! As a member of the cruciferous-vegetable family (think kale, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli), cauliflower has significant levels of glucosinolates, which break down to form chemicals that may ward off cancer. Mom may have been onto something when she reminded you to eat your broccoli.
If vegans and paleo eaters could agree on one thing, it would be this: Sweet potatoes are fantastic. Originally grown in Central and South America, they are hearty, nutritious tubers that can become a filling side dish, or serve as the foundation of a meal when stuffed. While they bear the name “potato,” sweet potatoes are part of a different family of vegetables than the standard spud (and yams as well). And don’t think that sweet potatoes need only be orange — thousands of varieties exist, ranging from white to purple.
Squashes are technically fruits, since they have seeds and are the fruit of the plant that bears them. They are primarily broken down into two types, the latter of which is now in prime season:
- Summer squashes, whose skins are still tender and edible, are typically harvested in the late spring and summer. They include zucchini (green), yellow, pattypan and cousa.
- Winter squashes, whose seeds and skins have fully matured and need to be cooked before they are eaten, are harvested in the late summer and fall. Examples include butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash and pumpkins.
A beet can do a whole lot more than just stain your hands red. It’s a versatile root vegetable whose greens can also be used in dishes, giving you more bang for your vegetable buck. Let’s explore what makes the beet unbeatable. Read more
There are better ways to fuel your brain than an energy drink. While fish is a common suggestion (salmon and sardines are indeed great options), there are plenty of other options. Here are six other foods that contain nutrients that are linked to better brain function. Read more
Nutrition is an important component of running performance. The foods we eat can fuel our working muscles and cardiopulmonary system both during the run itself and over extended periods of training. While many nutrients can be highlighted, the three below — carbohydrates, sodium and iron — generally have the most-direct impact on runners’ performance. Read more
Food marketers know that certain nutrition “buzzwords,” such as natural, organic, gluten-free and vegan, are perceived by consumers to be healthier. Don’t fall for that trap, often referred to as the “halo effect.” Just because a food is vegan doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthier for you than its counterpart that contains dairy, egg or meat. Here are five potential offenders. Read more
From animal rights to health concerns, there are many reasons why people choose to become vegans. Vegans avoid all animal foods, including eggs, dairy and in some cases honey.
While becoming a vegan can lend itself to positive dietary changes, such as increased vegetable, fruit and whole-grain consumption, it does not necessarily make someone a “healthy” eater – sugar, fried foods, alcohol and refined starches can all be vegan! Additionally, veganism involves significant dietary restrictions, so in order to prevent deficiencies vegans must be diligent to consume plant-based sources of nutrients commonly found in animal products. In some cases, supplementation may be advised, but speak with your physician before consuming supplements. The most-common nutrients of concern are: protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).