Garden Your Way to Better Nutrition
By: Jenna Malott
Summer is almost here! Many of us have probably been working on our landscaping and gardens preparing them for the season. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or looking to plant some fruits, veggies, and herbs for the first time, your garden can be a great way to take the next step in improving your health. Here are suggestions of things you can plant in your garden that have a lot of good nutritional value.
Kale is green that is part of the cabbage family that offers health benefits such as potentially reducing the risk of various types of cancer. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K, in addition to vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
This vegetable gives you a lot more than just bad breath! In addition to enhancing the flavor of many of your favorite dishes, garlic gives you allicin. Allicin is an oily chemical compound that packs a superfood punch promoting heart health, offering cancer-fighting characteristics, and may assist with skin health. It’s also high in vitamins B and C, manganese, selenium, iron, copper, and potassium. Garlic may be small, but its benefits are mighty.
You probably already know that carrots are a good source of nutrients. But, did you know they’re found in many colors, including white, orange, red, and purple? Orange carrots get their bright color from beta carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy and lowers your chance of cataracts and other eye problems. Carrots are also a good source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and other antioxidants.
Tomatoes come in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, green, and purple. The health benefits of tomatoes may include reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They contain the antioxidant lycopene in addition to vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. They lycopene in tomatoes supports healthy skin by protecting it from some of the harmful effects of sun damage.
Bell peppers are low in calories and high in nutrients including several important vitamins! They are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and heal wounds. It may also play a role in preventing a variety of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Jenna Malott is a registered dietitian with Fisher-Titus. For help in reaching your health and wellness goals, contact your primary care physician for a referral for outpatient nutrition counseling.