How to Improve your Diet – and Health – with White Fruits and Vegetables

How to Improve your Diet - and Health - with White Fruits and Vegetables

How to improve your diet and health is easy with white fruits and vegetables. For instance, a high intake of white food may reduce the risk of a stroke by 55%. In a healthy and nutritious diet, white fleshy fruits and vegetables are common. 

Some ten years ago my father-in-law died. Ten years before that, he suffered a massive stroke. The stroke seriously impaired his speech and walking capacities. For most of the time, he sat in his chair watching TV.

My father-in-law’s stroke was a wake-up call for Tom, my husband. Strokes usually run in the male line of the family. Of course, I don’t know why my father-in-law got a stroke or why it was so massive. What I do know is that white fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of a stroke and have many other healthy and nutritious properties.

White vegetables and fruits

  • Asparagus
  • White cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Champignons
  • Chicory
  • White corn
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Shallots
  • Turnips
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • White grapes
  • White nectarines
  • White peaches
  • Pears
White Vegetables

The higher the intake, the lower the risk

55% of the amount of white food we eat consists of apples and pears. Banana, cauliflower, chicory, cucumber, and mushrooms represent around 35%. around 10% of the white food we eat are onions, leek, and garlic. Other white fruits and vegetables are kohlrabies, parsnips, shallots, turnips, white corn, white nectarines, and white peaches.

A high intake of white food (> 216 gram each day) lowers the risk for a stroke by 55% compared to people with a low intake (<57 gram each day). Every 25 gram extra lowers the risk for a stroke by 9%.

Be aware that there seems to be no connection between the consumption of other types of fruits and vegetables from other color groups and the prevalence of a stroke.

How to improve your diet with white vitamin ‘bombs’

White Fruits and Vegetables: Asparagus

Many nutrients such as vitamin C and D, and potassium and calcium, have no color at all. Fibers have no color either. Important white vitamin ‘bombs’ are:

Asparagus – Purifies the blood and is a fluid-repellent for bladder and kidney dysfunctions. However, asparagus contains high amounts of purine. So those who suffer from gout, better not eat asparagus. 

Cauliflower – Low in calories, rich in fiber and vitamin C. 125 gram of cauliflower is enough to provide for the recommended daily amount. Cauliflower is also good for your bones because it contains a lot of calcium.

But be aware that you do not cross the daily limit for calcium. This is 1 gram per day for healthy adults between the ages 19 and 50 and 2 grams per day when you’re 50 years and over. Too much calcium contributes to the calcification of the arteries and kidney stones. Cauliflower contains relatively much vitamin K, B6, and folic acid (B11).

Champignons – Contain vitamin B2, B3, folic acid, and minerals such as potassium and phosphorus. At some levels, champignons outperform other vegetables. They contain provitamin D. This is a vitamin that helps the body to produce its own vitamin D. One hundred gram of fried champignons provides 30% of the daily required copper intake.

Onions – Contain lots of fibers, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and iron, and disease-resistant antioxidants, such as flavonoids. Flavonoids are said to prevent cardiovascular affections. 

Potatoes – Contain vitamin C, lots of fibers, and vitamin B6. 20% of the elderly have a shortage of vitamin B6. According to the food-pyramid potatoes are not counted as a vegetable, as they contain a lot of starch and thus should be consumed sparingly.

What are Nutrients?

Rainbow Food - eating all the necessary nutrients

The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables have a significant impact on our health. The phrase ‘eating a rainbow’ of fruits and vegetables is a simple way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible so that you can maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients.

The colors of fruits and vegetables are a small clue as to what vitamins and nutrients are included. By getting a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables, you are guaranteed a diverse amount of essential vitamins and minerals.

When you want to know how to improve your diet, you should concentrate on your nutrients. It’s important that you see to it that you get the right nutrients in the amounts required. You will be surprised how your health will improve and how tasty your food will get.

Related: The 6 Essential Nutrients to have a Balanced Diet

Healthy white nutrients

Examples of nutrients in white fruits and vegetables are beta-glucans in cereals, catechin (EGCG) in peaches and vinegar, thiamine, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus in flax, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, and lignans.

Dieticians claim that these nutrients boost immune activity, activate ‘natural killer’ B and T cells (important in the prevention of cancers), reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers through balancing hormone levels. 

Some white food cooking tips and recipes

How to improve our health is not just a question of the right nutrients and the right amounts. It’s also how we prepare our meals. Here follow five easy to remember cooking tips.

Steam your vegetables 

This is always better than boiling because most nutrients will be preserved. Don’t cut your vegetables to pieces. Preserve the steaming water. This can be used to cool down frying food, to cook food, or in the soup.

Apple and pear sauce

‘Hot lightning’ my mother used to call the combination of cooked potatoes and cold applesauce. Well, this combination you better avoid. But after lunch or dinner, or just in between, apple and pear sauce is a very fresh and tasty healthy snack or dessert.

You can buy this type of sauce in most eco shops. Yet it’s tastier when you prepare the sauce yourself. This is extremely simple.

Cut the organic apples and pears, take out the seeds*, and boil them in a very little bit of water. Never peel organic fruit!!! Most nutrients are right underneath the skin and organic fruit is not sprayed with venom. The sauce is ready when you can mash the fruit with a wooden spoon or fork.

Preserve the juice from the cooking. This can be used as a flavor enhancer when you fry vegetables, or chicken and turkey.

* Where we live here in Spain there are a lot of abandoned agricultural fields. When we have enough seeds we take them with us and throw them on these fields to grow a greater variety of trees. Wild fruit trees are also good for the preservation of varieties and the development of new varieties.

Champignons and garlic

Garlic - healthy and delicious

This again is a very easy and quick to prepare, and very tasty, food. Fry more garlic than you’re used to (at least five parts from a not too small bulb).

Use lots of extra virgin olive oil. When the garlic starts to color (which is usually very quick) add the mushrooms. Fry until the champignons glaze and are soft. Ready.

You can use this combination on most vegetables and with chicken or turkey. 

Potatoes

Nothing is so tasty as fried potatoes. But they are even tastier if you dry roast them in the oven without oil or butter. Don’t peel the potatoes (so you better use organic ones).

Cut the washed potatoes into thin slices (between three millimeters and half a centimeter). Distribute the slices on baking paper which is spread out on an oven rack. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Keep an eye on the slices. Turn the slices halfway when they start to color. The additional advantage is that most of the starch in the potatoes will be gone.

Don’t add salt to your food

All fruits and vegetables contain salt. If you have a healthy diet, you get all the types of salt you need in your body. Except for those with low blood pressure of course. They need some salt to pump their blood around. Unless your physician or dietist says otherwise.

Vegetarian recipe Crispy Cauliflower

Delicious recipe for cauliflower

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 1 small cauliflower;
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth;
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese;
  • 1/2 cup of ground peanuts;
  • 3 tablespoons of almond flour;
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ;
  • pinch of nutmeg;
  • 1/2 cup brown rice.

Preparation

Boil the cauliflower and mix it together with the vegetable broth in a mixing bowl to make a smooth puree. Stir cheese, peanuts, flour, wheat germ, and nutmeg into the puree. Put the mixture in a greased oven dish.
Boil the rice and loosen it with a fork. Sprinkle it gently over the puree and then give it a light stir. Sprinkle some grated cheese and some nutmeg on top and place the dish in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 20-25 minutes.


Enjoy your meal and stay healthy!

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9 thoughts on “How to Improve your Diet – and Health – with White Fruits and Vegetables”

  1. Wow! This was super interesting! I learned something new today 🙂 I didn’t know about the importance of white fruits and vegetables and that they prevent strokes. I don’t eat most of the ones you listed … but I do eat cauliflower regularly and sometimes mushrooms, and I often add chopped onions to my food. I love onions and garlic! I also love potatoes, I do eat a lot of them – must be my Belgian heritage 😉
    Why should we not chop our vegetables? Do the nutrients get lost if we do that? I also love asparragus and would buy it more often , but it is a little expensive where I live. It’s an occasional treat 🙂

    I love that you throw those seeds on empty fields to grow new trees! That is such a good idea. I often throw seeds around on my land, but I should save some and throw them out elsewhere too. Great idea!

    Reply
    • We picked the idea of the seeds of a friend as well. 🙂 It sure is lovely. We are making sure we only throw them on empty fields that are either wild or obviously abandoned a long time ago. We wouldn’t interfere with anybody’s property of course. 😉 Another advantage is that the seeds now don’t end up in our compost pile, because that interfered with our crops in the past.

      Yes, Christine, we all have food we like and food we dislike. I – for instance – don’t eat onions, because I always get cramps if I do. The Spanish love their onions in the food! So in restaurants that can give me a hard time choosing something to eat! Usually, I ask them to serve a sauce on the side, so I can decide for myself whether or not I’ll eat it.

      The chopping is a balance between too much and too little. If the pieces are too big they have a risk of being undercooked. If they are too small, indeed the nutrients get lost. It’s only something to take into account when cooking the vegetables. If you eat them raw, you can chop them up as little as you want. Otherwise, your mouth will do it, giving the same result. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hi very insightful article!
    I knew the importance of eating vegetables and foods but didn’t know the effectiveness of white vegetables and apples on preventing strokes. And thanks for the cooking tips:)

    Btw the Ted talk video is awesome!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  3. Hi Hannie,

    I’m so pleased I came across this article. My diet during lockdown has been up and down. Some days when I am feeling upbeat and I have a had a productive day then I will be up for cooking. Other days when I am feeling a bit down and the day hasn’t been as productive then I will get a takeaway 🙂

    Your advice is definitely something I will follow, especially the cooking of white foods. I love white meat, potatoes and vegetables but I am rubbish at cooking those foods. So your tips will come in handy for my future cooking.

    I eat two bananas a day, so I am doing OK with the fruit. I should probably look into other fruits like oranges and apples too.

    I will update you on how I am getting on with my diet and my cooking and if I need any further advice then I will get in touch.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    • I know, Tom, we all have that same behavior when we are tired or in a bad mood. We’re all human, aren’t we 😉
      Not all takeaway is bad, of course. And even takeaway that is too fat and too salty once in a while is OK. Just make sure you chew it well (50 times more or less, which equals chewing until it’s liquid).

      What we do is cooking too much and freeze half of it for off-days. Once you are in the motion of cooking it doesn’t matter that much whether you prepare 300 or 600 grs of vegetables. We have a lot of numbered little containers and a piece of paper on the fridge with the corresponding contents of each number. Works very well!

      Reply
  4. I know how important it is to eat fruit and vegetables, and yet I don’t eat enough of them throughout the day. Those percentages for heart stroke surprised me. I adore garlic, onion, champignons, etc., but I’m having problems with cauliflower. I hate it ever since I was a child, and it’s very healthy.

    Do you know of any ways I could implement cauliflower in my diet, but in some more “delicious” way?

    Reply
    • Hi Petar, don’t start me on aversions against food we develop as a child, LOL. I know all about those. As we probably all do. But your question reminded me of a recipe for cauliflower we used to make a lot in the past and then for some reason forgot all about it. So thank you very much!

      It’s a vegetarian recipe and I promise you, you’ll hardly notice the cauliflower in it. 😉 I have added it to the article, but through this link, you can go straight to it: Crispy Cauliflower.

      Once you have made it a few times, try adding for instance mushrooms. Or if you like onions (I don’t, my stomach gets too upset from them), bake small cut pieces until they are brown and stir them through the mixture. Surely, there will be other delicious things to add or replace.

      BTW, you are not obliged to eat cauliflower, of course. As long as there are any white fruits or vegetables in your diet, you’re OK.

      Take care.

      Reply
  5. Wow, Hannie, I learned a lot again. I am very much in fresh organic vegetables and fruits, and I love to eat them slightly cooked, like the Chinese doing in a wok, but also raw in a salad. The taste is so yummy; combined with a great self-made sauce from olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and peppers, it is great nutrient-rich food. But I did never think about white vegetables and fruits having such an impact on strokes. So, we learn something new every day!

    I don’t like cauliflower so much, but the others you have listed are delicious vegetables and fruits. I believe you get them beautifully riped in the sun of Spain. Rainbow colors are very vital for our health, especially all the antioxidants. Thank you very much for the great article! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Sylvia. Oh yes, ‘wokking’ your food is delicious, Tom does it a lot as well. If you’re a good cook – like probably you are and Tom is – there are so many ways to prepare food in a healthy way. I haven’t cooked in years but started this year to polish my cooking qualities. Which are poor at the moment, due to lack of practice, LOL. So it was about time to pick up that activity, don’t you think. 😉

      Oh, so you don’t like cauliflower either, like Petar in one of the comments said. That recipe I have listed is a delicious one, I can assure you. As a child, I didn’t like the smell of cauliflower. I think that was mainly because my mother cooked every vegetable the same way: too long, with a white, bland, floury sauce. Very little fantasy. My mother was an absolute star on the sewing machine and quite the opposite in the kitchen.

      Like mother, like daughter. 🙂

      Yes, the vegetables and fruits here in Spain are abundant. Can you believe it, it’s the beginning of March now and we already have strawberries in the garden. They are not as delicious yet as they will be when the days are longer, but it keeps amazing me they are even there.

      Reply

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