24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Nutrition
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Health Tip: Which Foods to WashPoor Diet Might Raise Your Cancer RiskEating to Reach Health GoalsTry This Whole-Grain Lemony Quick BreadHealth Tip: Effects of Too Much ProteinHealthy Food May Boost MoodMelons Are Powerhouses in Taste, NutritionThe Top 5 Veggies to Add to Your DietSugary Drinks and Fruit Juice May Increase Risk of Early DeathEssentials for Growing Tasty Herbs on Your WindowsillAre Diets High in Processed Foods a Recipe for Obesity?The Top 5 Fruits to Add to Your DietLow-Fat Diet Could Be a Weapon Against Breast CancerThe Handy Tool for Healthy ChipsNot All Sugars Are Created EqualBrighten Your Breakfast With a Lighter Blueberry MuffinAHA News: This May Be Why Slashing Salt Lowers Blood PressureHow to Cook With Luscious LentilsBody Adapts, Recovers From Occasional 'Pigging Out,' Study FindsHomemade Mayonnaise Made EasyHow Much Protein Do You Need for Weight Loss and Muscle Growth?Drinking and Your Health: A Reality CheckHealth Tip: Drink Enough WaterAHA News: Could Adding Minerals to Drinking Water Fight High Blood Pressure?A Tasty Twist on Pasta and PestoAs Finals Draw Near, College Kids' Diets WorsenA Heart-Healthy Prescription for America's Food SystemDiet Sodas May Not Help Kids Cut CaloriesCould You Be Short on Vitamin B12?An Expert's Guide to Healthier Grocery ShoppingA Celebration Salad Fit for a Queen or KingYoung Adults Flocking to Energy DrinksMeal Swaps That Save 200 CaloriesHow to Make a Powerhouse SmoothieBetter Food Assistance Programs Might Lower Childhood Obesity RatesHealth Tip: Protein For VegansGinger: A Flavorful and Healing RootCould Common Food Preservative Make People Fat?E. Coli Outbreak Tied to Ground Beef Expands to 10 StatesDo-It-Yourself Veggie NoodlesThe Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory DietVeggies, Fruits and Grains Keep Your Heart PumpingSkipping Breakfast Could Be a Bad Move for Your HeartMany U.S. Kids Don't Drink Enough Water, and Obesity May Be the ResultAsparagus: A Tasty Spring Veggie That Boosts Gut HealthFennel: A Food Lover's Dream IngredientNew Evidence That Veggies Beat Steak for Heart Health4 Superfoods to Put on Your Menu Today'Added Sugars' Label on Foods Could Save Many LivesEasy, Delicious Recipes From Your Blender
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development

AHA: Time Is Ripe for Trying New Fruits and Vegetables


HealthDay News
Updated: Jan 24th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Jan. 24, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- The start of a new year is a ripe time to branch out -- and try those fruits and vegetables you may have noticed but keeping passing by at the supermarket.

Perhaps the finger-like appendages of a Buddha's hand have called out. Or you've been curious about that one vegetable you don't know how to pronounce, much less prepare for consumption.

Go ahead -- give it a try. Food experts say diversifying your diet can even help you stick to your weight control plan, if that's among your New Year's resolutions.

"More variety helps keep things interesting," said Jo Ann Carson, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. "And adding interest when it comes to fruits and vegetables, rather than relying on a variety of desserts, will help us stick to keeping healthier items on our plate."

Carson, a professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said just trying a food we've heard about but have never thought to buy can be enough to broaden the palate.

Many people have heard of jicama, for example, but don't know that peeling it and cutting it into strips can yield a crunchy alternative to chips -- one that's higher in fiber and vitamin C, she said.

Carson said she's been experimenting lately with spaghetti squash, which has become a popular low-carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta. It's also easy to prepare; just cut it open and scoop out the spaghetti-like strands after it's been cooked. Spaghetti squash can be served alone or mixed with more traditional vegetables, which is one way to introduce a new item to picky children -- or spouses.

A visit to an ethnic grocery store provides an excellent way to discover new fruits and vegetables -- and perhaps finally try some not-so-new ones, said dietitian Melissa Majumdar.

"Bok choy is a fun one, because it's easily accessible, and it can be pretty inexpensive," she said of the white Chinese cabbage. "You can get a giant bag of it for a dollar, and it's very versatile. I love it roasted. Or you can sauté it, which is more traditional."

Bok choy also provides various vitamins and a fair amount of calcium, said Majumdar, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"We don't always think that vegetables can be a source of calcium, but (bok choy) can give us 160 milligrams for one cup, which is about the same as yogurt," she said.

The growth of international grocers and supermarkets throughout the country has made it easier for people interested in exploring new food to peek at items used in other cultures. The bitter melon, for example, is not widely used in the United States but it is a common vegetable in Indian cuisine, said Majumdar, whose husband's family is Indian.

Sometimes called karela, the vegetable doesn't look like a melon but rather a cucumber with a thicker, pebbly skin.

"It's super high in folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin A," Majumdar said.

Learning how to cook or use new foods has become easier now that most people have internet access at their fingertips, even at the grocery store, said Penny Kris-Etherton, a distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University.

"Sometimes, you'll see things at a 'deluxe' grocery store and think, 'OK, what can I do with this?'" she said. "Now you can look that up on the spot and get ideas."

For people hesitant to stray too far from the norm, Kris-Etherton suggests making small changes.

"Take something really familiar to them, like salad, and try some unique greens. For peppery flavor, try arugula or watercress, even if it's just a few leaves," she said. "Just something that's not a mainstream green, like radicchio, chicory, escarole. Even spinach if you're used to having iceberg."

She said the same approach can be used with other fruits and vegetables -- sample a different variety of apple. Or pick up a purple head of cauliflower or some purple potatoes.

"There are so many fruits and vegetables out there," Kris-Etherton said. "It's fun to try new things and mix things up a little bit. Using traditional recipes with new foods can be an easy way to try something different."