Rainbow Eating--White Foods - Julie's Healthy Living
 
This is the first article in a series called 'Rainbow Eating'. It's not my idea; however, I enjoy the simplicity of the premise. The products in all of these articles fall into the fruits and vegetables sections of The Food Pyramid. The more colorful the products, the higher the vitamin and nutrient content which in turn makes for a healthier meal. However, today I want to focus on the absence of color in our food choices.

White foods in general have gotten a bad rap because when people think white the first image is white flour, rice and pasta. However, not all white colored foods are created equal.

White fruits and vegetables are colored by pigments called "anthoxanthins." They may contain health-promoting chemicals such as allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help reduce risk of stomach cancer and heart disease. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are good sources of the mineral potassium, too.

Some examples of the white group include:
--Bananas contain considerable amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. Because of the potassium, many athletes enjoy a post workout banana to replenish lost electrolytes.
--Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. Tastes great roasted with oil and red pepper flakes.
--Garlic: In test tube studies garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. However, these actions are less clear in humans. Studies have claimed that garlic can lower cholesterol, high blood pressure and help the prostate in men. Personally, I just eat it because it tastes yummy. Roasted garlic is especially delicious. You can add garlic to virtually any meal.
--Ginger: A spice used in many meals. Also has medicinal qualities. It works as an anti-inflammatory and treats nausea created by motion sickness and morning sickness. It is contraindicated for people with gallstones and has a possible interaction with some medications, so check with your doctor before consuming.
--Jícama is high in carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber. It is composed of 86-90% water; it contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids. It pairs well in cooking with chilli powder, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, oranges, red onion, salsa, sesame oil and soy sauce. Also grilled fish is a good food to combine with it.
--Mushrooms: Though mushrooms are commonly thought to have little nutritional value, many species are high in fiber and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins, ascorbic acid.
--Onions: They contain chemical compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties such as quercetin.
--Parsnips: The parsnip is richer in vitamins and minerals than its close relative, the carrot. It is particularly rich in potassium with 600 mg per 100 g. The parsnip is also a good source of dietary fiber. A close relative of the carrot parsnips are tasty when drizzled with oil and maple syrup and roasted in the oven.
--Potatoes: Especially their skins are chockful of potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. They are not the devil when eaten in moderation. While they are a starchy vegetable they are a nice treat when tossed with oil and seasons and roasted or baked until crispy. A medium size potato contains approximately 150 calories and is virtually fat free.
--Turnips: The turnip's root is high only in Vitamin C. The green leaves of the turnip top ("turnip greens") are a good source of Vitamin A, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and calcium. Turnip greens are are also high in lutein, which is good for eye health, particularly macular degeneration.

Two white foods that don't fall into the fruit or vegetable family, but deserve mention here:
--Cannellini Beans: Excellent source of fiber and protein. Add them to beans, stews or simply saute with olive oil and fresh rosemary for a side treat.
--Pine Nuts: High in manganese, a mineral important for your metabolism and bone health. Toast them and toss with salads, soups or pasta to add crunch with benefit.
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