This week Monica, our dietetic intern from San Francisco State University, explores the often forgotten group of vegetables and fruit that aren't part of the rainbow. Maybe the saying should be "eat the rainbow and the clouds!"
Last time I checked, white isn’t in the rainbow, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the white-colored fruits and vegetables!
According to the White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients, a scientific roundtable conducted at Purdue University, there is no specific subgroup for these fruits and veggies – they are lumped in a non-category called “other vegetables.” And who would want to eat those?
The executive summary argues that emphasizing color as a gauge for a food’s nutrient content may mislead consumers. Nutrients of concern outlined in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans (DGHA), such as dietary fiber and potassium, cannot be detected by a fruit or vegetable’s hue. The article also suggests that not officially categorizing white vegetables may be contributing to the low intakes of important micronutrients. In fact, there are no recommendations for increasing consumption of white fruits and vegetables in the 2010 DGHA.
White fruits and vegetables can be high in or good sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Let’s take a look at some examples:
So, what does any of this mean?
- Dietary fiber comes in two types: insoluble and soluble. These are both important components of a wholesome diet.Folate is needed for DNA synthesis and cell division.
- Insoluble: adds bulk to stool and is essential for digestive health.
- Soluble: may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Phosphorus helps with bone health as well as kidney function.
- Potassium is important for smooth muscle contraction and may help lower blood pressure.
- Vitamin C helps with wound healing and improving non-heme iron absorption.
- Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and bone health.
And that’s just the start of the laundry list. As you can see, white fruits and vegetables (even potatoes!) are chockfull of good-for-you micronutrients. The good news is you can enjoy them year-round, not just until Labor Day. Hopefully, the 2015 DGHA will finally give white fruits and vegetables the credit they deserve for their nutritious contribution to our diet.
For an extensive list of white fruits and veggies, head on over to ShopWell (add URL: http://www.shopwell.com/list/white-fruit-and-vegetables/show/116613) and Trade Up!
Monica Cruz is a dietetic intern from San Francisco State University. She believes in incorporating cultural food practices with clinical nutrition concepts to optimize health outcomes. Monica is dedicated to bringing cultural sensitivity to preventive healthcare. Follow her DI journey at AlmostRD.tumblr.com