5 Veggies To Have On Hand
Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables to as many as 10 servings a day could cut your risk of many diseases, including all types of cancer. I recommend keeping your kitchen stocked with as much fresh produce as possible. Try each of these suggestions as they come into season:
- 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 versatile, inexpensive, and delicious hot or cold.
- 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. Preparing them can seem daunting but follow some online video tutorials and find out how easy it can be. Many stores now offer pre-cut options for both squash and beets to help make healthy eating more convenient.
- 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, along with 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. If you have never had broccoli oven-roasted with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper, you are missing out.
- 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 other immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Shiitake, enokidake and oyster mushrooms also have immune-supporting qualities and can be easily included in many main courses.
Today’s Health Topics
Ask Dr. Weil's Q&A