We’ve been hearing for years that we need to “Eat the Rainbow,” because the more color the food has, the better it is nutritionally. However, color is just one indicator of nutrient content. So, I have to add…there needs to be WHITE in your rainbow! White fruits and vegetables have amazing health benefits, and should NOT be dismissed!
Here are some of my favorites:
Move over kale…this is one of the hottest veggies of the year! Cauliflower contains large amounts of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur compounds that have been known to fight cancer, strengthen bones, and maintain blood vessels. Not all cauliflower is white; try the purple or orange varieties as well.
Did You Know? 1 serving of cauliflower contains 77% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C
Are you ready for this? White button mushrooms are low-calorie, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium and contain an impressive amount of selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin D! They have been found to improve eyesight, hearing, circulation, migraine headaches and strokes. Because mushrooms absorb a large amount of nutrients from the ground (including chemicals and pesticides), it’s best to consume the organic varieties.
Did You Know? Ancient Egyptians believed mushrooms had the power to grant immortality, so only pharaohs were deemed worthy of eating or even touching them.
Ahh, the smell of garlic! Nothing quite like it! Garlic has been known to fight bacteria and viruses, and it can help prevent cold and other infections. Its active chemical, allicin, may also help stabilize blood sugar. Garlic has been shown to help lower blood pressure and lower triglycerides and total cholesterol. To get the most out of garlic’s allicin, cut a fresh clove up and expose it to the air for a little while before you cook it.
Did You Know? 90% of all garlic in the U.S. comes from California.
Renowned Chef Julia Child once said: “I cannot imagine a world without onions,” and for good reason. Onions are high in vitamin C, a good source of fiber, and can help in regulating blood sugar. Onions have an anti-inflammatory chemical, called quercetin, which can help ease arthritis discomfort. Quercetin may even help increase HDL (good cholesterol).
Did You Know? Bitten by a bee? Apply onion juice to the bite site for immediate pain relief.
We can’t forget the white fruit! We all know bananas are great for you, and contain a high amount of potassium. In fact, a medium banana contains 422mg of potassium (as much or more that some sports drinks) and 3.1 grams of fiber. They are associated with lowering the risk for colon and breast cancer and work as a natural antacid. Bananas are an important part of the BRAT (bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast) diet, recommended for adults and children with diarrheal illnesses.
Did You Know? Banana trees are not trees at all. The banana plant is a giant herb!
So next time you are cooking for your family, and thinking about that “rainbow,” ask yourself…”do I have the WHITE?” And on a day when you’re feeling like having the “whites,” how about this?
(Adapted from the Food Network)
12 ounces linguine
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup white onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
4 cups cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate; wipe out the skillet.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cauliflower and cook until the edges brown, about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and toast 30 seconds. Add the reserved pasta water and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and the cauliflower is crisp-tender and mushrooms are cooked, about 1 more minute.
4. Add the pasta, onion/garlic mixture and parmesan to the skillet and toss. Season with salt. Top with the basil, pine nuts and more parmesan.