According to the Canadian Food Guide the average adult female should be eating 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, while the average adult male should be eating 8-10. Even if you’re already hitting this mark, you may still be coming up short in the nutrient department. How could this be possible? Well, it’s probably because you’re getting the majority of your daily phytonutrients from the same few types of produce.
Phytonutrients are natural compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and legumes. These compounds give fruits and vegetables their colour; for instance we can thank the phytonutrient lycopene for giving tomatoes and watermelon their red color and carotene for the vibrant orange in carrots. Phytonutrients also provide major health benefits such as reducing our risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. But most importantly they are a powerful antioxidant! By enjoying a rainbow of vegetables and fruit everyday, you can make the most of many of the phytonutrients nature has to offer.
Phytonutrient rich foods include: red, orange and yellow vegetables and fruit (such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, peaches, mangos, melons, citrus fruits, and berries) and dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli, Swiss chard, and romaine lettuce). Make some simple switches several times a week to increase your intake of these vital phytonutrients. Swap sweet potatoes for carrots, papaya for oranges, raspberries for strawberries, and kale for spinach.
As a side note - a new kale recipe I found involves making them into chips.
Image courtesy of thecrazyfilmgirl