Scientists in labs across the country have made astounding discoveries about the health benefits of highly pigmented fruits and vegetables, which contain disease-fighting compounds called phytonutrients. These powerhouses act as a rogue police force, fighting off free radicals that cause cancer and a host of other enemies that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more. Here’s just a sampling of the health benefits of eating colorful fruits and vegetables.
* The red in tomatoes helps reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and other types of cancers.
* The yellow in corn protects against macular degeneration, the number-one cause of blindness in the elderly.
* The orange in carrots and sweet potatoes helps prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and helps reduce the risk of stroke.
* The green in dark, leafy greens helps prevent cancer.
* The blue in blueberries helps protect memory and motor function as you age, and helps fight cancer and heart disease.
* The purple in Concord grapes and grape juice helps prevent heart disease.
So when you’re filling your shopping cart or your plate, think the more color, the better!
COLORFUL FRUIT KABOBS
8 Servings - Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
Assorted fruit-strawberries, seedless red grapes, cubed cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple, and sliced kiwifruit and star fruit
1/3 cup sugar or Splenda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
•Alternately thread fruit onto skewers; set aside. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and juices until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Brush over fruit.
Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 1 cup glaze.
BIG BATCH VEGETABLE SOUP
Prep: 15 minutes Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
This basic soup can be made with any combination of fresh or frozen vegetables, so it will taste a little different each time. The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled. Serves 8.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions or thinly sliced leeks (whites only)
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
8 cups mixed fresh or frozen vegetables, such as carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans, peas, potatoes, and zucchini (cut larger vegetables into smaller pieces)
1.Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions or leeks, celery, and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
2.Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, and 3 cups water to pot; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes.
3.Add vegetables to pot, and return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Let cool before storing.
Copyright 2010 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article Adapted from 5 A Day: The Better Health Cookbook, by Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka and Barbara Berry.