Produce Introduction

Have you ever wondered why we should eat vegetables?  We all know they have valuable nutrients, but here we’ll look a little deeper to find more profound ways they can help us maintain homeostasis.
Let’s begin with the fact that not all vegetables are created equal.
As a matter of fact, not all plants we consider as veggies actually are.
Corn for instance is a grain; avocados, eggplants and tomatoes are fruit; and cilantro – also known as coriander or Chinese parsley – is really an herb.

Serving Ideas

Another challenge for many people is finding vegetable recipes that are both healthy and tasty.  In many instances, this challenge can be minimized by trying veggies that are not the standard few we tend to eat repeatedly.  Begin  by stepping away from the usual salad of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and red cabbage.  Instead, consider
a salad base of romaine and butter lettuces, garnished with jicama, tomatillo, and parsley root.
We have so many choices for cooking vegetables, it’s hard not to find one that’s right for you.  For the most part they can be baked, boiled, broiled, steamed, sauteed, slow-cooked, pressure-cooked, and even fried or microwaved (but this writer is not in favor of the last two).
An alternate way to eat our produce is to mix cooked and raw in the same dish.  There is no hard and fast rule about cooked vs. raw, so create your own unique combinations and enjoy those veggies!  My personal favorite is to steam broccoli, then add a splash of diced onions, radishes and parsley over the top.  This gives the comfort food effect of the cooked broccoli, with the crunchy, tangy and spicy kick of the other three sprinkled in.
Nowadays most stores have a wide variety of pre-washed and pre-cut  salad and cooking vegetables in ready to use convenient packaging.  This is an easy way to have a handy assortment for your next cooking project.
Soups, juicing and smoothies are other flavorful ways to consume our veggies.  There is no shortage of creative recipes online and in print for these alternate methods.  They may also be purchased ready to eat, for a quick on-the-go snack.
Last but not least, many beverage companies are even creating tea combinations that include vegetables.  This may not exactly get you
to 5 servings a day, but it can be a way to try different flavors in small quantities.

Health Benefits

Below is a random list of vegetable health benefits:

  • Beets are good for the heart and liver.  The beet greens are also edible and can help strengthen the immune system.
  • Cabbage is good for the intestines and can even help with ulcers.
  • Celery, bok choy and rhubarb are good for the bones.
  • Collard greens have cholesterol lowering benefits.
  • Kale is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which can help with lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Squash is great for our digestive systems, with its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Sweet potatoes are good for the pancreas.

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