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Healthy Pin of the Week
Go Green for the Antioxidant Benefits
Lutein and indoles are phytochemicals that are found in many green fruits and vegetables. Their potential antioxidant benefits can help keep your teeth and bones healthy, maintain vision health and lower the risk of some types of cancers.
Eating 3 grams of soluble fiber a day can help protect against heart disease, and lower cholesterol levels. One large green apple has nearly 5 of grams soluble fiber!
Trivia:Apples are the second most important of all fruits sold in the supermarket, ranking next to bananas.|Tens of thousands of varieties of apples are grown worldwide.|The history of apple consumption dates from Stone Age cultivation in areas we now know as Austria and Switzerland. |In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage; catching it was acceptance.|Folk hero Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) did indeed spread the cultivation of apples in the United States. He knew enough about apples, however, so that he did not distribute seeds, because apples do not grow true from seeds. Instead, he established nurseries in Pennsylvania and Ohio. |Three medium-sized apples weigh approximately one pound.|One pound of apples, cored and sliced, measures about 4 1/2 cups.|Purchase about 2 pounds of whole apples for a 9-inch pie.|One large apple, cored and processed through a food grinder or processor, makes about 1 cup of ground apple.
Tips:Rub cut apples with lemon juice to keep slices and wedges creamy white for hours.|Store apples in a plastic bag in the refrigerator away from strong-odored foods such as cabbage or onions to prevent flavor transfer.
Fat free and a good source of vitamin C, this tasty veggie also contains cynarin.
Trivia:An artichoke is Actually a thistle and a member of the sunflower family. The artichoke itself is a flower bud or immature flower head. The tender bases of the petals and the fleshy heart to which the petals are connected are the edible portions.|Artichokes originated in Sicily and were brought by the French to Louisiana and by Spaniards to California.|Always considered a delicacy, artichokes were popularized by Catherine d'Medici who was married at age 14 to Henry II of France. She was regarded with disdain due to her notorious artichoke appetite in an era when artichokes were a famed aphrodisiac.
Tips:Dips for artichokes include Hollandaise sauce, plain yogurt blended with Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, light mayonnaise or mayonnaise blended with lemon juice.|For easy stuffed artichokes, spread the leaves (after cooked and cooled). Remove center leaves and scoop out choke. Fill with your favorite chicken or seafood salad.
With 60% RDI of folic acid, asparagus is also a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as folate and carotenoids.
Trivia:Today's asparagus has been bred from wild plants that were native to western and central Asia and central Europe. Asparagus has always been considered a luxury vegetable, highly prized in ancient Rome, Egypt and Greece. In Europe, its popularity flourished under the reign of Louis XIV of France, a devotee who encouraged its production.
Tips:To keep asparagus fresh, cut 1/2 inch off of the base of the stalk and stand the asparagus upright in an inch of warm water (do not let the tips soak in water!). This will also revive asparagus that looks wilted and limp.|For an elegant appetizer or spring salad, steam asparagus, sprinkle with red wine or Balsamic vinegar and refrigerate. When ready to serve, top with chopped toasted almonds.
With a healthy content of folate, avocados are also one of the best sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Trivia:Avocados date back to 8,000 B.C., and are native to Mexico and Central America.|Until recent years, the avocado had a well-entrenched reputation for inducing sexual prowess and wasn't purchased or consumed by any person wishing to protect their image from slanderous assault. Growers had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the ill-founded reputation before avocados became popular.| Avocados must reach full maturity before they are picked, but they will not soften on the tree. The tree is actually used as a warehouse; the fruit can be kept on the tree for many months after reaching maturity.
Tips:To ripen an avocado, place it in a sealed plastic bag with a ripe banana at room temperature. Another method is to bury the avocado completely in a jar of flour. Do not refrigerate avocados until they are ripe.
A good source of vitamin A, this healthy green veggie is a source of folate, and supplies 220% recommended daily intake of vitamin C!
Trivia:Broccoli, a member of the mustard family, was known to early colonists who brought it from Europe where it originated in the wild form around the Mediterranean.
Tips:Don't make the mistake of discarding the broccoli stalk. Even the thickest stalk can be used and is quite delicious. Simply peel the outside skin from the stalk and cook as you would the rest of the broccoli. Cutting the stalks into thin slices and adding to stir-fry makes a great star-shaped addition to the appearance and texture of your meal.
Contributing potassium, folate and beta carotene to the diet, half a head of cabbage also contains 70% RDI of vitamin C!
Trivia:Cabbages were among the first plants to be cultivated. Northern Europe was the starting point for wild cabbage, originally loose leafed like collards.|When introduced to the Mediterranean, Egyptians worshipped cabbage heads as gods, enthroned on elaborate alters.|Cabbage was among the first European plants brought by colonists to the New World where it thrived.
Cucumbers contain folate, potassium and terpenes, which are phytochemicals that stimulate anticancer enzymes. They're a low-calorie source of vitamin C, too. One-third of a cucumber has only 15 calories.
Trivia:The cucumber is an immigrant from southern Asia, coming in a fantastic assortment of sizes, colors and shapes.
Green grapes contain phytochemicals that serve as antioxidants, which are believed to prevent cell damage. Grapes also supply 25% RDI of vitamin C.
Trivia:For a delicious summertime treat, spread individual grapes on a pan and freeze. Transfer to a freezer box to have available for kids to eat as a frosty snack ~ like little popsicles.|Grapes are great to pack in lunch boxes. Grapes satisfy your child's sweet tooth without added sugar or fat, and they are an excellent way to get more fruit in a youngster's diet.|The frosty look on grape varieties is called bloom and is a natural protection produced by grapes.| There are seedless varieties of grapes in all colors - green, red and black - available throughout the year.
High in potassium, sweet honeydew also has 45% RDI of vitamin C.
Green pears have 4 grams of dietary fiber, along with vitamin C and 201 mg of potassium.