By Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN
Author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Fresh, colorful vegetables: dark green and leafy; red, ripe, and juicy; or bright orange and crunchy. This exquisite rainbow-colored cornucopia is truly the class of foods that keeps our arteries healthy and clean. Head for your green grocer and harness the phenomenal medicinal power of natural plant compounds. Buy them fresh, buy them often, and fill your body with a spectrum of healthy colors, nature's medicine chest.
Here are a few ideas for getting colorful vegetables into your daily eating plan:
- Routinely eat a dark green salad at lunch and dinner when eating in or out, and remember to dress simply with extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar and/or fresh lemon juice.
- For quick and healthy, try purchasing prewashed, bagged, and pre-chopped vegetables, and toss them on a sheet of tin foil, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and roast (425°F for at least 30 minutes). Keep in a container in the refrigerator for easy access.
- Purchase frozen vegetables (with a short ingredients list). Frozen vegetables, picked and frozen immediately after harvest, are a nutritionally sound choice. (In fact, frozen spinach has been shown to retain its carotenoid power longer than fresh because of the lower temperatures at which it is stored.)
- When time doesn't allow for prepping fresh veggies, grab a bottle of jarred veggies, such as corn or roasted red peppers. Just watch out for added sodium, and if the veggies are packed in oil, check to ensure that it's olive oil.
- If the weather's nice, fire up the grill and roast vegetables coated in extra virgin olive oil.
- Infuse fresh herbs into your olive oil or mix into your salad dressing (olive oil vinaigrette) to add extra flavor and antioxidant power.
- You can always get an array of colorful vegetables at a salad bar (some supermarkets even have them). Avoid the mayonnaise or oil-added veggie selections. Pile on the plain colorful vegetables instead and dress with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Remember, no lunch or dinner without that rainbow of vegetables!
To learn more about how colorful veggies can help make you healthier, visit Dr. Brill's website here.