Spinach, a dark, green, leafy vegetable is rich in iron, folate, nitrate, and other vitamins. They have long been recommended for iron-deficiency anemia but are also able to protect from cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, lower cholesterol levels, protect eye health and fulfil a number of other functions.
Watermelon contains a rare nutrient known as lycopene which offers many of the health benefits that watermelon is known for. It is able to protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer; and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Another beneficial ingredient in watermelon is citrulline which is able to improve exercise performance and protect us from muscle soreness during exercise. Other benefits of watermelon include its protein content, sun protection and weight control abilities.
Strawberries have been termed the ‘angel of the earth’ and the queen of fruit and have a very high nutrient quality compared to many other fruit. One of the primary nutrients in strawberries is anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and is able to protect eye health. The high vitamin C content in strawberries also make them beneficial in protecting against cancer, fighting the common cold and improving our immunity.
Blueberries, like strawberries, have a high anthocyanin content and so hold many of the same benefits. Blueberries are also able to protect from insulin resistance, stimulate insulin production, protect muscles from oxidative damage and protect against urinary tract infection.
Beans come in different colors and sizes but some things they have in common is that they are good antioxidants, rich in saponins, a good source of protein and fiber. They are able to reduce cholesterol levels, protect against cancer, liver cirrhosis and coronary heart disease.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous brassica vegetable, apart from being high in vitamin C and a good antioxidant it also has nutrients such as choline, indole-3-carbinol, and glucosinolates. The indole-3-carbinol may help to prevent obesity and is also an anti-inflammatory. The glucosinolates have good anti-cancer properties and choline is essential for proper brain development.
Like berries, cherries have a good anthocyanin content and are excellent antioxidants. They are also able to help improve sleep quality and duration and improve muscle recovery and reduce muscle pain from exercise. Studies have also shown that cherries help prevent gout or prevent recurrent attacks in gout sufferers.
Getting your three to five vegetable portions a day is essential for optimum health and choosing from the fruit and vegetable options mentioned above provides you with numerous benefits. They are all excellent antioxidants and provide good quantities of other nutrients.