You’ve probably heard that it’s advisable to stay away from white foods. These are usually highly processed and rich in refined sugars just like white bread, cake and biscuits. However, there are some white foods you should include in your diet that are particularly high in nutrients. These include garlic, onions, cauliflower, and mushrooms which all have in common much more than just their white colour.
See Also: The Nutritional Content of the Rainbow
1. Garlic – For the Heart
Garlic, often referred to as a functional or “superfood”, is an excellent ingredient because of its microbicide properties and chronic disease prevention capacity. Some studies have indicated that it can help stimulate blood flow by preventing platelet aggregation, like nature’s own production of aspirin. Still, despite its long history of medicinal use, results of clinical trials in humans have been quite varied. This doesn’t mean that garlic cannot be a great support for your health. Actually, it can be a great alternative to salt, helping you reduce your sodium intake and adding extra nutrition and flavour to your plate.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants, vitamins B6 and C as well as some minerals like manganese and selenium. This vegetable also contains allicin which is the component responsible for garlic’s anti-thrombotic effect and helps inhibit the aggregation of platelets, preventing heart diseases. Studies have found that regular intake of garlic could be associated to a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure and even common winter colds.
In regards to cancer, garlic has been particularly related to the prevention of bowel and stomach cancers. A study suggested that taking 200mg of garlic three times a day could help reduce blood pressure. However, other studies did not make the same conclusion and suggest that garlic alone may be insufficient for treating high blood pressure. Including garlic as part of a healthy diet and regular exercise may therefore be more helpful in the prevention of disease.
2. Onions – For the Soul
Include onions in your everyday meals to increase your protective effect against cancer. Their health benefits are due to its high antioxidant power provided by its high vitamin C, flavonoid, phytonutrient and sulphur content:
- Its high vitamin C content, which is mostly maintained in its raw state, can help you boost your immune system and protect you from getting sick.
- Flavonoids have been particularly related to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease. Onions are quite rich in a flavonoid called quercetin which, according to research, may be helpful in reducing bladder related symptoms, controlling glucose level and blood pressure.
- Phytonutrients have been recognized for their antimicrobial and anticancer properties.
- Another component widely found in onions are sulphuric compounds, which are the reason why onions smell the way they do. However, its smell is not the only characteristic. It turns out that these sulphurs also act as a natural blood thinner, preventing the aggregation of blood platelets and therefore preventing the occurrence of heart diseases and stroke.
Adding onions to your daily diet will help you increase your antioxidant intake. Include onions in everything you cook, from soups and stews to salads and grilled dishes. It’s been found that the higher antioxidant content within onions is found on the outer layers. So, when adding onion to your meals try to make good use of these layers and don’t peel too much!
3. Cauliflower – For the Body
Cauliflower is a type of cruciferous vegetable that is packed with nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamin complex, vitamin K, choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is actually one of the most nutrient dense types of food according to the aggregate nutrient density index (ANDI). Have it as a snack by steaming it and adding a touch of mayonnaise to increase your nutrient intake and pepper.
4. Mushrooms – Hearty and Filling
Because of their close proximity to the ground, mushrooms are rich in minerals and vitamins including niacin, selenium and riboflavin, vitamin D, potassium and ergothionene. This last one is an unusual sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, histidine, which is derived exclusively through the diet.
Although mushrooms are sometimes referred to as vegetables they actually are from the fungus kingdom. Still their nutrient content and culinary attributes make them a great food to add to your plate. If you’re looking for more vegetarian alternatives, or are monitoring your caloric intake, mushrooms can be a lifesaver. Mushrooms are a nutrient dense type of food, filled with nutrients but practically no caloric content.
Sometimes lack of colour doesn’t mean lack of nutrition. Whether you prefer them as powder, diced, steamed or in your stew, all of these white foods can be a great addition to your daily diet by not only increasing the flavour of your dishes but also boosting your immune system and protecting you against many diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
See Also: How to Eat the Rainbow in 5 Bites