Is there one particular fruit or vegetable that stands above all others as the quintessential pillar of health?
Certainly millions sing the praises of kale (myself included), but even that super nutrient-dense veggie can’t pack every vital nutrient into a single leaf.
Sadly, there is not one single fruit or vegetable that can do it all. But there are some staples that should routinely find their way into your diet that can combine to form the ultimate health boost.
“You want to pick the colors of the rainbow when it comes to vegetables,” dietician Rebecca Mohning of Expert Nutrition said. “Each color represents different nutrients that you can find.”
For example, Lycopene is a strong antioxidant found exclusively in tomatoes that can help fight off various cancers.
Dark green leafy vegetables are traditionally high in iron, vitamin C, and zinc.
“Zinc is another one of those important nutrients to help ward off colds and flu,” Mohning said.
Orange vegetables such as carrots and squash are high in beta-carotene, which is another immune boosting antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties.
On the sweeter side of things, the berry group is the way to go when it comes to fruit because of their high concentration of antioxidants, according to Mohning.
“Fruits that have dark colors such as blueberries, raspberries… bright red, purple, and blue colors are going to be among the highest antioxidant fruits to choose,” said Mohning. “They’re also lower in sugar, too. So, they’re not as high in calories as a banana, which is very dense for calories and not as high in antioxidants.”
Antioxidants have been proven to boost the immune system and ward off the common cold. Far more importantly, eating nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce the risk of cancer by 50 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.
Getting the recommending daily amount of fruits and vegetables shouldn’t prove too difficult, either. Just a half cup is the equivalent of one serving. Some larger fruits can actually pack a two-serving punch.
If you don’t have a measuring cup available, your hand can actually be the perfect guide. An average man’s fist is roughly a cup and a half. So, serve up a third and you’re good to go.
About The Author
Standing just 5 feet 6 inches tall, Chuck Carroll once weighed 420 pounds and amassed a 66-inch waist. He shed 260 pounds to become The Weight Loss Champion and now serves as an advocate for healthy living.
Follow him on Twitter @TheChuckCarroll