Ever heard of carotenoids? Are you familiar with what they can do for your body? Carotenoids are a phytonutrient family that represent one of the biggest groups of naturally occurring plant pigments like lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and beta-carotene. Carotenoid-rich foods protect your cells from harmful free radicals, provide a source of vitamin A, keep your eyes and lungs healthy, and boost your immune system. People who smoke, drink a lot of alcohol, or don’t eat many fresh fruits and vegetables need to include more carotenoid-rich foods into their diet. Try eating sweet potatoes, collard greens, kale, papaya, carrots, Swiss chard, and asparagus.
Swiss chard has been known for its health-promoting properties since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is one of the more popular vegetables in the Mediterranean region but it is slowly gaining popularity here in the United States. Both the roots and the leaves of Swiss chard contain good amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. For those who do not drink dairy, Swiss chard is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. This makes the vegetable a good food for building strong bones. Swiss chard is also full of potassium and combined with the magnesium, this makes it a good food for the heart. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A because of its concentration of beta-carotene. These are important nutrients in promoting healthy eyes and good vision.
DID YOU KNOW:
– Overcooking Swiss chard can cause it to loss 50 percent of its nutrients. It is a rather delicate vegetable, so when cooking it, try to keep it al dente.
– Recent studies show that Swiss chard is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that help to promote healthy eyes.
Did you know that macular degeneration affects one in three people over the age of 75? Keep your eyesight healthy by loading up on foods that are rich in beta carotene, a carotenoid that is found in orange and dark green vegetables. Eat foods like carrots, spinach, collard greens, and winter squash. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also important to include in your diet as they protect vision cells from oxidative damage. You can find these two compounds in peppers, sweet potatoes, parsley, and snow peas. Studies have suggested that eating foods rich in selenium, such as barley and Brazil nuts, can help prevent macular degeneration as well. Also be sure you are eating plenty of food with vitamin C, such as berries, oranges, lemons, and broccoli.