Everyone wants to be healthy, but diet choices can be overwhelming today with so many messages about supplements and exotic immunity boosting foods. At Produce Made Simple, our goal is to keep things simple – so we’re showcasing just a few of our favourite foods that you can easily find in your grocery store. These are choices that won’t break the bank and will help you live your best life!
Potatoes are often considered unhealthy because of their association with French fries, but they are good for you! Potatoes are naturally fat free and low in calories. A medium sized potato is just 110 calories and really helps to satisfy your hunger. You might be surprised to learn that it even has 3g of protein. Did you know that potatoes are also gluten free? Potatoes are among the best natural sources of potassium you can get! A medium sized (150 g) baked spud with the skin has 750 mg of potassium. This is 22% of your daily value requirement. Getting enough potassium in your diet is important for the health of your bones, kidneys, nerves and muscles.
Known for its incredible flavour properties, garlic is an essential ingredient in cuisines all over the world and has been used medicinally for centuries. More recent research also suggests that it is good for you! Some studies have found that ingesting garlic daily may help ward off colds and even lower blood pressure.
Colourful Bell Peppers
Bell peppers add a colourful crunch to snacks and meals and are low in calories. They also contain vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fibre. Peppers are also a source of beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that contributes to the normal function of the immune system, supports night vision and helps to build strong bones and teeth.
Spinach is part of the food family known as the chenopod; other greens in this family include beet greens and Swiss Chard. Spinach is a nutritionally dense food meaning that it offers a lot of nutrition, but it is low in calories. It’s a source of magnesium and iron as well as vitamins B2, B6, K and folate. Research suggests that it offers anti-inflammatory properties and may even decrease levels of hunger-related hormones, making you feel fuller longer. Another interesting suggestion is that pairing citrus with spinach is good for you. Apparently, adding a splash of vitamin C boosts your body’s ability to absorb the iron contained within spinach.
When we think of citrus, we think of vitamin C. While Vitamin C has not been shown to prevent colds entirely, there is research that concluded ingesting vitamin C can help you get over a cold faster. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, such as grapefruit, limes, lemons, oranges, clementines and tangerines. Citrus fruits also contain potassium which is considered helpful to heart health. Eat fruit whole for added fibre and include them in recipes for a burst of fresh flavour.
This cruciferous veggie is packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins E, C, and A. Lightly steaming has been shown as the best way to keep the nutrients intact. It has been shown that people who eat broccoli regularly are less likely to get many types of cancer.
A half-cup serving of cooked sliced mushrooms has a mere 14 calories, virtually no fat, 1 gram of fibre and is a source of phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, niacin and pantothenic acid. Mushrooms are also a good source of riboflavin and are the only vegetable in the produce section with natural Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin!
Apples are a popular choice in Canada; they are grown locally, are relatively inexpensive and as versatile as they are delicious. But they are also good for you! One medium apple (with peel!) has 4.4 grams of fibre. Fibre is important to promote regularity and may contribute to weight maintenance. High fibre diets have also been linked to lower cholesterol levels and more controlled blood sugar levels which in turn benefit cardiovascular health, daily energy levels and even managing diabetes. In fact, a UK study found that offering a daily apple to 70% of the total UK population aged over 50 years would avert 8,500 vascular deaths each year!
Eating a balanced diet including a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables is one goal that you can aim for to help keep you healthy. Learn more about the nutritional benefits and tasty ways to enjoy your favourites from the produce department in our series of Produce 101 articles!
Mushrooms: https://www.mushrooms.ca/health-wellness/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/
Apples: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1809/2 and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217210549.htm and https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983