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Karen Stutzman RD's blog
The bright orange color of a pumpkin isn’t just to signify that Halloween has arrived, but it also indicates the beta-carotene and vitamin A present. Pumpkins are also packed with potassium and are 90% water, which makes it a great superfood to experiment with.
Pumpkin seeds can also be roasted and eaten as a snack. The gourd can also be used to make soups, pies and breads but is also used in many other ways. One way we have highlighted here, is Lebanese Pumpkin Hummus.
Native to Central and South America, chiles range from mild to fiery hot — generally the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.
The capsaicin found in chiles provides the spiciness or heat in the pepper. Capsaicin may promote health, boost metabolism and improve digestion.
Nutritional benefits in chiles include antioxidant properties, excellent sources of vitamin A and fiber. Dried peppers are high in vitamin E.
Rich, dark chocolate: It’s not only delicious, but it’s healthy, too, because it’s rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that is thought to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce other risk factors for heart disease.
In fact, some health experts recommend eating one ounce each day of dark chocolate, with from 40 to 70 percent cocoa bean content or “cacao.” Unsweetened cocoa powder also provides nutritious benefits. One tablespoon contains anywhere from 3 to 9 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc.
There are more than a thousand varieties of citrus fruits, including oranges, tangelos, lemons, limes, grapefruits, clementines, kumquats and pummelos.
Citrus is one of the most nutrient-dense groups of fruit, offering a boost of nutrients without high calories.
And they’re packed with vitamin C and other nutrients, including vitamins A and B, folate, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, phytochemicals and fiber that may help prevent the development of kidney stones, cardiovascular disease, cancer, anemia, cataracts and neural tube defects in developing fetuses.
Peaches are part of the stone fruit family. Stone fruits get their name from their large, hard inner seed surrounded by a succulent, pulpy layer of fruit. Stone fruits include cherries, plums, mangoes, apricots, nectarines and pluots — a plum-apricot hybrid.
Berries are often referred to as a “superfood” because they are bursting with antioxidants and phytochemicals that are thought to help boost our immune systems.
Did you know that strawberries have more vitamin C per serving that one orange?
Or that anthocyanins — flavonoids that are thought to help protect our brains — are what give blackberries their dark, glossy color?
Rich-and-creamy avocados are more than the prime ingredient in guacamole. They’re also a great addition to your heart-healthy diet.
With about 20 vitamins and minerals per serving, avocados are a nutrient-dense food – packed with lots of nutritional value in relatively few calories (about 60 calories per serving – or one-fourth of a whole avocado). And, they are sodium-free, high in potassium and magnesium, and monounsaturated fat, all of which are important to heart health.
Kale, a dark leafy green, is a nutrition powerhouse with few calories – just 8 in a cup of the raw vegetable – plus iron, calcium and potassium; and vitamins A, K and C. It also is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are believed to protect eyes from sun damage and reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
While greens, like kale, are often used raw in salads, they become tender and even more tasty when sautéed, as in this flavorful casserole, and baked with pasta and spiced ricotta.