St. Patty's Day is all about the green and it is just around the corner. That doesn't only have to mean green beer. There are numerous healthy foods that you can add to your diet to not only up the green, but to also up the health as well. Here are just a few:
- Avocado: Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol, said Dr. Vickie Vaclavik, clinical assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern. Avocados also are good sources of both vitamin E and lutein, a natural antioxidant that may help maintain eye health.
- Broccolini: It's packed with the cancer-fighting nutrients isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indoles all linked with reducing the risk of breast, prostate, cervical, lung, and other cancers and offers as much vitamin C as orange juice, said Dr. Jo Ann Carson, professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern.
- Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts are another cruciferous vegetable with cancer-fighting phytochemicals. "They're also high in vitamin C and are a good source of folate, vitamin A, and potassium," said Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
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- Kale: A good source of vitamins K, C, and beta carotene. A half-cup of cooked kale packs 1.3 grams of fiber but just 20 calories, said Cindy Cunningham, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern.
- Nopales: Also known as nopalitos or cactus pads offer numerous nutritious advantages and are a great option for those managing diabetes or high blood pressure. "Not only is it low in calories at 22 calories per cup, the vegetable is also low in sodium and high in fiber," Dr. Carson said. "In addition, a cup contains more calcium than an ounce of cheese and about half the potassium of a banana."
- Okra: This staple of Southern cuisine is naturally low in calories and a good source of soluble fiber. It also provides some vitamin A.
- Tomatillo: The vegetable, which is a good source of vitamin C and potassium, is used in salsa verde and can be eaten raw.