Whole Produce for Healthy Mind Body

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Knowing which produce to eat is key step towards getting more fruits and vegetables into your clean healthy diet. Eating more whole produce is one the easiest ways to lose weight. In one study, people who ate an apple appetizer before dinner consumed 187 fewer calories by the end of the meal than those who didn't eat the fiber-rich snack. Other research show that eating an apple a day lowers risk of prediabetes by 27 percent.  Apples are not the only whole produce, so if you are sick of apples then there are many more options to choose from that'll pay off with similar benefits for your mind and body.

Artichokes

Packed with antioxidant capacity than any other common vegetable, according to USDA test. Look for deep green, tightly closed leaves. The leaves should squeak when pinched together. 

Arugula

Vitamin K, which may improve insulin sensitivity, offering protection against diabetes. Choose emerald green leaves that are not yellowing or limp. The smaller the leaf, the less pungent its bite. 

Asparagus

Folate, a B vitamin that protects the heart by helping to reduce inflammations. Look for vibrant green spears with tight purple-tinged buds. Thinner spears are sweeter and more tender.

Avocados

Plenty of cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat. Look for firm fresh. Avoid avacados with sunken, mushy spots. They should not rattle when shaken-a sign the pit has pulled away from the fresh.

Bananas

Vitamin B6, which helps prevent cognitive decline, according to scientists at the USDA. Ripe bananas have uniform yellow skins or small brown freckles, indicating they are at their sweetest. Avoid any with evident bruising or split skins. 

Beets

Nitrate, which may help lower blood pressure. Look for smooth, deep-red- surface that's unyielding when pressed. Smaller roots are sweeter and more tender. Attached greens should be deep green and not withered. 

Bell Peppers

All bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants, especially vitamin C. Red peppers lead the pack, with nearly three times the amount of vitamin C found in the fresh oranges. A single serving also has a full day's worth of vision-protecting vitamin A. Look for lively green stems. Lots of heft for their size, with a brightly colored wrinkle-free exterior. 

Cabbage

More than half your vitamin K requirement in just 1 cup. Look for tightly packed, crisp, deeply hued leaves free of blemishes. Should feel dense when lifted; it's best that the stem not have any cracks at it's base. 

Cantaloupe

Loads of vitamin C, which may offer protection against having a stroke. The stem end should have a smooth indentation. Look for a sweet aroma, slightly oval shape, and a good coverage of netting. The blossom end should give slightly to pressure. Avoid those soft spots-an indication of an overripe melon.

Carrots

Beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A, which helps fight off infections. Look for smooth and firm with bright orange color. Avoid those that are bendable or cracked at the base. Bunches with bright green tops still in place are your freshest choice.

Cauliflower

Detoxifying compounds called isothiocyanate, which offer protection against some forms of cancer. Look for ivory white and compact florets with no dark spotting on them or the leaves. The leaves should be verdant and firm.

Celery

Luteolin, a flavonoid linked to reduce brain inflammation, a risk factor for Alzheimer's. Look for solid, tight stalks with only a few, cracks a vivid green, not yellowing, leaves. The darker the celery, the stronger the flavor.

Figs

Phytosterols, which help keep cholesterol levels in check. Look for plump with deeply rich colors; soft but mushy to the touch. Avoid those with bruises or a sour color.

Garlic

The cancer-fighting compound allicin, that can also cut down Helicobacter pylori-bacteria responsible for the development of stomach ulcers. Look for heavy in size, with tightly closed cloves in the bulb that remain firm when gently pressed. The skin can be pure white or have purple-tinged stripes and should be tight fitting.

Grapefruit

Anticancer lycopene and 120 percent of daily vitamin C needs in a 1 cup. Look for heavy (a sign of juiciness) with thin skin that is a tad responsive to a squeeze. Small imperfections in color and skin surfaces are not detrimental to the sweet-tart flavor. 

Kale

Lutein, an antioxidant in the retina that protects against vision loss. Look for dark blue-green color with moist leaves. The smaller the leaves, the more tender the kale.

Pomegranates

Hefty amounts of antioxidants shown to improve sperm quality, thus boosting fertility. Pick pomegranates that are weighty for their size with glossy, taut, untracked skin that is deep red. Gently press the crown end-if a powdery cloud emanates, the fruit is past its prime.

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