Alfalfa Sprouts
/al·fal·fa/

Vegies

Alfalfa sprouts are the young early shoots of the alfalfa plant, and as with all sprouting shoots they are incredibly nutrient rich. They are rich in vitamin C, the major water-soluble antioxidant in the body, vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and provides good levels of several other nutrients including folate, iron, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc. All for only 33kJ in a whole cup!

You can add alfalfa sprouts to sandwiches and wraps, toss through salads or scatter over the top of a cooked pasta or grain dish. They're also delicious on wholegrain crackers with cottage or cream cheese. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Alfalfa sprouts have been linked to several outbreaks of food poisoning caused by salmonella or E. Coli present in the sprouts. Take care to wash sprouts thoroughly before eating to reduce your risk. 

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Asparagus
/uh-spar-uh-guh s/

Vegies

Asparagus contains a pretty spectacular array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. In fact, a single serve (3 spears) provides at least 10% of your daily needs of thiamon, biotin, folate and vitamin C. 

Depending on where it is grown it can also be an excellent source of the antioxidant mineral selenium. If any vegetable gets to be called a superfood, asparagus should definitely qualify!

It also contains several phytochemicals that seem to benefit our health. These include:
  • Saponins – compounds thought to prevent heart disease by helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and
  • Rutin – an antioxidant from the bioflavonoid family that plays an important role in strengthening blood vessels. Rutin may therefore be helpful if you have varicose veins, high blood pressure, poor circulation or broken capillaries.
  • Carotenoids
  • Saponins
  • Glutathione
Asparagus is best eaten as fresh as possible. If not eating straight away, wrap it in a damp tea towel, pop in a plastic bag and store in the crisper compartment of your fridge. Remember it needs to be kept cool so it’s good to do this as soon as you return home from shopping.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
You might have noticed your pee smells funny after eating asparagus - but then again you may not! It seems that only some people (estimated to be around 40% of us) have the gene that allows them to smell the compounds excreted after eating asparagus. This doesn't seem to be related to any impact on your health - it's just a quirky genetic trait! 

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Basil
/baz-uh l/

Vegies

Basil is an essential herb for many French, Italian and Mediterranean dishes. It's infinitely better fresh, but still worthwhile having some dried basil in your pantry to fall back on. It is best picked while the leaves are young and then eat them raw, or thrown into your dish at the very last moment. Basil is classically paired with tomato in salads and pasta sauces, or made into pesto with olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts and garlic. Try making your own at home - the flavour is incredible and so much better than bought.

Fresh basil has good antioxidant power - but to benefit you do need to ensure you include a good amount. One or two leaves to garnish your dish looks pretty but won't bring you the wealth of beneficial compounds the plant contains. Basil contains several phytochemicals (plant chemicals) with anti-cancer potential including curcumin (found in higher levels in turmeric), gingerol (the same chemical found in ginger that gives it a slight spiciness) and capsaicin (the chemical that gives chilli it's bite). 

Basil is also a terrific source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C and several minerals. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Thai basil is a different variety of the same herb, and used commonly in Asian cuisine. It tends to have a slightly more pungent, stronger taste that works well with stronger flavours. Both varieties are easy to grow at home in a pot, making it easy to have fresh leaves to hand. 

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beetroot
/beet-root/

Vegies

Beetroots have rarely been listed on typical superfood lists, but that is all likely to change. Recent research has shown that this beautifully vibrant purple root vegetable can significantly lower your blood pressure. Beetroots are one of the best sources of dietary nitrates. These are converted to nitric oxide in the body, which in turn helps to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

Beetroots are also an excellent source of folate with a medium sized root (80g) providing 25% of the RDI for women. Folate is essential for protecting DNA from oxidative damage through our lifespan, and for creating healthy new cells. You'll also a good dose of fibre with almost 3g per beetroot and all for only 130kJ and 6g of carbohydrate. 

Beetroots contain a special group of phytonutrients called betalains - in particular two called betanin and vulgaxanthin. These are responsible for the fabulous colour, but they have also been studied for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power. They also seem to boost the detoxification processes in the body. All up they are a pretty worthwhile addition to your diet!

Try adding beetroot to your salads, grate raw beetroot and add to sandwiches and wraps, roast them in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or throw into your Vitamix to make a fabulous purple smoothie. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Some of you - an estimated 10-14% - may find that your urine has a pink hue after eating beetroots. This is called beeturia and although it is harmless it is more common in those with iron deficiency. It may be that you simply ate a lot of beetroots! So don't panic if it happens, but it just might be worth a check of your iron status.

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Beetroot Leaves
/beet-root leevz/

Vegies

Beetroot leaves are so often thrown away, yet when fresh and crisp they are delicious in salads, tossed into a stir-fry at the last minute, or you can add to a soup. They are nutrient-packed with 60% more fibre than kale, and more thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium and iron! They are also a good source of vitamin E, usually low in green leafy veg, with a cup of leaves providing almost 10% of your daily requirement.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Beetroot leaves are also rich in the carotenoids that promote good eye health, lutein and zeaxanthin. A high consumption of these phytonutrients is associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness worldwide.

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Bok Choy
/bok choi/

Vegies

Bok Choy is a type of cabbage and is part of the brassica family of vegetables. These have strong associations with reducing cancer risk, especially of the stomach, colon, rectum and lung. This is thought to be due to the high levels of antioxidant compounds present, particularly the glucosinolates. 

Bok choy is also rich in many micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). A cup of bok choy provides about a third of your recommended intake of vitamin C, 11% of your vitamin A (made from the carotenoids present), 10% of your riboflavin, 9% of your thiamin, 9% of your folate, 7% of your calcium and iron, and 4% of your zinc and niacin. Adding a cup of bok choy to your stir fry gives your meal a real nutrient boost!

A cup of bok choy will also add a couple of grams of fibre to help you on your way to your daily target of 25-30g.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Bok Choy has been consumed in Asia since ancient times, and is central to many tradiitonal dishes. There are many different varieties and while you'll find a couple at your local supermarket, it's worth shopping at an Asian grocer to discover the whole bok choy family. Look for Shanghai bok choy (sometimes called baby bok choy), choy sum and pak choy. All varieties are delicious in your stir fry, or simply steamed and served with soy sauce. 

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Broccoli
/brok-uh-lee/

Vegies

Broccoli is part of the brassica family of vegetables that includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. They are rich in a whole host of phytochemicals including flavonoids, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, sulphoraphane and indoles. These are all compounds shown to help us fight cancer and heart disease. Epidemiological studies have shown an inverse association between consumption of brassica vegetables including broccoli and cancer, with the strongest evidence for protection against colon, rectal, lung and stomach cancers.

In it's raw state broccoli is fantastically rich in vitamin C with a cup providing 92mg - that's more than you'll find in an orange and about double the amount recommended you consume every day. Some of this will be lost if you cook your broccoli in boiling water. You can best preserve the vitamin C levels by steaming, microwaving or stir-frying your broccoli. Be careful not to overcook - broccoli should be firm, slightly crisp and bright green.

Broccoli is also a good source of several B group vitamins. A cup will provide you with 17% of your recommended intake for riboflavin, 11% of your folate, 8% of your niacin and 6% of your thiamin. 

Broccoli is a significant source of zinc with a cup providing 7% of a woman's recommended daily intake, and 4% of a man's. You'll also get a little plant iron providing 4% of the intake for pre-menopausal women, and 10% that for men and post-menopausal women. The vitamin C present will help improve the absorption of the iron.

Finally broccoli is fibre-rich with a cup providing 3.3g - 13% of the recommended amount for women and 11% that for men.

’s ‘Did You Know?’
I'm often asked whether consuming foods raw is better for us. One of the first trials I worked on looked at how broccoli in various states from raw to cooked, affected the the susceptibility of cells in the colon to damage from carcinogens.

The findings were that raw broccoli provided the most protection because more the antioxidant compounds reached the colon. Whereas when broccoli was cooked, more of the antioxidants were absorbed up into the bloostream where they could potentially provide protection elsewhere in the body.  

The conclusions to draw are that both raw and cooked vegies are beneficial to include in our diets. 

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Broccolini
/brok-uh-lee-nee/

Vegies

Broccolini is sometimes referred to as baby broccoli, but in fact it's a vegie in it's own right. It's a cross between broccoli and Gai-lan (Chinese kale/broccoli). It was first produced in Japan and was introduced to Australia in 1999. It's slightly sweeter taste and less fibrous stalk has made it more appealing to many over broccoli. You can eat the whole vegie from stalk to florets so there is no waste.

Nutritionally broccolini is similar to other vegies in the brassica family. They stand out for their rich content of specific antioxidants including glucosinolates and flavonoids. Extracts of broccolini containing these flavonoids have been tested in the lab for their ability to inhibit human cancer cells with positive results. Broccolini shows real promise as a powerful member of your team of foods to fight cellular damage that causes disease and aging.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Broccolini is best served lightly steamed or stir-fried so that it retains a slight crunch. I love to serve it simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and scattered with toasted pine nuts. To use in a salad I steam for a minute before plunging into ice cold water. This stops the cooking process and retains the gorgeous bright green colour.  

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Brussels Sprouts
/bruhs-uhlz sprout/

Vegies

Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica family of vegetables that include broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower and cabbage. These vegies are especially protective against cancer and heart disease.
 
Eating them regularly can also help to protect you from other chronic diseases that affect us as we age including Alzheimer’s, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and certain aspects of functional decline. Yes eating your Brussels sprouts just might help keep you looking and feeling younger for longer!
 
How do they do it? Well brassicas are notably high in vitamins A, C and E, folate and potassium. All of these nutrients undoubtedly contribute towards the protective effect of these vegies. But it is the presence of particular phytochemicals that makes brassicas special. They contain a group of antioxidants called flavonoids, and a whole bunch of sulphur containing compounds including glucosinolates, which act as anti-cancer agents and ramp up detoxifying enzyme systems.
 
A large number of quality scientific studies have provided strong evidence that consumption of brassica vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, particularly of the gastro-intestinal tract and lung.

Although there has been some concern that Brussels sprouts contain compounds that act as goitrogens, interfering with thyroid hormone production, rest assured that this has been studied and there is no effect at normal levels in the diet. You would have to eat enormous amounts for this to be a potential problem. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The trick with Brussels sprouts is to not over cook them! Overcooked sprouts are soggy and sulphurous smelling - not appealing at all! They should be bright green and firm. Try steaming lightly, half them to add to stirfries or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and roast. You can also shred them to use raw in salads or slaw. 

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Cabbage
/kab-ij/

Vegies

Cabbage belongs in the brassica family of vegetables that includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. They contain particular groups of antioxidants including glucosinolates with pretty solid evidence showing they help to protect us from certain cancers and heart disease. The strongest evidence is for beneficial effects in reducing our risk of stomach, colon, rectal and lung cancers. 

Unfortunately many people have bad memories of over-cooked sulphur smelling cabbage from their childhoods and are put off for life! Don't be. Give cabbage another shot. It's delicious when cooked in the right way, or eaten raw finely sliced into a salad or homemade slaw. 

Like other non-starchy veg, cabbage is very low in kilojoules, but it packs in the nutrients and phytochemicals. A cup of savoy cabbage provides almost all of your recommended daily intake for vitamin C along with 2g of fibre. It's also a fabulous source of vitamin K, essential for healthy blood clotting. It contains several carotenoids - beta-carotene that can be converted to vitamin A, and lutein and zeaxanthin that play essential roles in eye health, preventing macular degeneration and cataracts.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Gentlemen you can tune out here, this is one for the girls. If you're breast-feeding and suffering engorged breasts, the old wives tale of putting cabbage leaves into your bra really does have some scientific backing! Keep them in the fridge to have an extra cooling effect. 

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Capsicum
/kap-si-kuhm/

Vegies

It’s not only oranges that are fabulous for vitamin C, half a red capsicum gives you well over your entire daily requirement. Vitamin C is one of the major antioxidants and an essential player in supporting optimal immune function. Capsicums also provide an array of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, with antioxidant functions. Some can also be converted to vitamin A in the body, a nutrient that is critical for good vision and healthy eyes. Since it is also necessary for new cell formation, vitamin A is essential for healthy skin and many organs including the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.
 
Half a capsicum provides a good dose of folate, about 7% of your daily need, and roughly 8% of your vitamin B6. Both of these vitamins are involved in reducing blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Raised homocysteine has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B6 is also necessary for protein metabolism, for healthy radiant skin and good immune function. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
In Australia we call them capsicums, but in the UK they are called peppers, and in the US sweet or bell peppers. They are in the same family as chillies, they just don't have the same level of capsaicin - the chemical that gives the heat to chillies. Whatever you call them, they are fabulous raw in salads, charred on the barbeque, stuffed and roasted in the oven, or made into a chutney.  

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Carrot
/kar-uht/

Vegies

Carrots are fantastically rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. In fact that's what makes carrots orange, and how beta-carotene got its name. It can also be converted to vitamin A in the body. This is important since vitamin A is not so widely distributed in foods. 100g of carrots provides more than 2.5 times your vitamin A needs for the day. Vitamin A has many roles, but is key for eye health and good vision. This is why carrots got their reputation for helping you to see in the dark.

While an excess of pre-formed vitamin A can be toxic (it is particularly harmful during pregnancy), there is no danger of this from eating beta-carotene-rich foods. A word of warning however – supplements are not the same. While beta-carotene rich diets have been shown to benefit health, supplements do not have the same effect and can be harmful. Stick to real foods such as carrots to gain all the benefits without any risks. 

Carrots also provide fibre, vitamin K and manganese, and smaller amounts of B group vitamins, copper and iron. All for very few kilojoules - less than 150kJ/100g. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Be sure to eat your carrots with some fat however - beta-carotene is fat-soluble and therefore you won't absorb much of it without any fat present. Another reason for using a delicious olive oil vinaigrette with your salad!

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Cauliflower
/kaw-luh-flou-er/

Vegies

Cauliflower belongs in the family of brassica vegetables, along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. These vegetables have a unique group of antioxidants, including glucosinolates, that seem to offer us protection against certain cancers and heart disease. In particular the evidence is strong showing a reduction in risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum and lung with a high consumption of brassicas. 

Despite the research including all of these vegies, cauliflower seems to be thought of as the poor cousin to broccoli. It's true that broccoli is higher in some nutrients, including riboflavin, magnesium and pre-vitamin A. But cauliflower has 26% more folate, with 100g providing 16% of your recommended daily intake. Cauliflower is also an excellent source of vitamin C; 100g raw provides 1.5 times your daily requirement. Some will be lost in cooking, but you can minimise this by lightly steaming, microwaving or stirfrying rather than boiling. 

Cauliflower is amazingly versatile, so if you've only ever had it in a cheesy white sauce, it's time to get more creative! Cauliflower is fantastic stirfried with spices, mashed on it's own or with other vegies as a more nutritious alternative to potato mash, grated raw and then steamed as an alternative to rice, or even made into a cauliflower base for pizza. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
There are actually four colours of cauliflower - white, orange, green and purple. Although white cauliflower is the most common, it was actually bred to be that way by preventing the plant from producing chlorophyll, the chemical that gives plants their green colour (this is also how white asparagus is grown). The other colours are worth looking out for as they have higher antioxidant power. Orange cauliflower has beta-carotene present, green has chlorophyll and purple contains anthocyanins - as found in red cabbage and red wine. I don't have data for the antioxidant power of the orange variety, but of the others purple has the highest value on the ORAC scale, green comes next, and white has the lowest.

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Cavolo Nero
/kah-voh-loh neer-oh/

Vegies

Cavolo Nero - also known as Tuscan cabbage, black cabbage or dinosaur kale - is an Italian variety of kale. If you're not a fan of kale, you may prefer the slightly sweeter, more tender taste of cavolo nero. Personally I love love love this vegetable! It is used in many traditional Italian dishes from soups to salads, and is wonderful simply steamed, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh chilli as a side dish. 

As part of the brassica family of vegetables, there is strong evidence to show high consumption of these vegies can reduce your risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum and lung. There may also be protection against other cancers, heart disease and slow down the aging process by reducing cellular damage. The more different vegies you enjoy from this group the better.

Cavolo nero is rich in a particular carotenoid called lutein. This has been shown to play a vital role in eye health, and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. For children lutein is also essential for healthy eye development. 

Cavolo nero is also a good source of vitamin K, essential for healthy blood clotting ability, vitamin C, pre-vitamin A, B group vitamins and several minerals including magnesium, manganese, copper, iron and calcium. In short it's well worth adding to your weekly menu!
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Cavolo Nero will keep well in your fridge for a few days. Don't wash it first though, otherwise it can become limp and you encourage the growth of micro-organisms that cause spoilage. Instead wash immediately before you use.

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Celery
/sel-uh-ree/

Vegies

Celery is often overlooked for its nutritional attributes, and certainly in usual serve sizes it is not as impressive as other vegetables and it doesn't contain any appreciable antioxidant power. However it is rich in vitamin K, essential for health blood, and provides significant levels of vitamin C, folate and vitamin A.

Celery adds a wonderful crunch to salads and used as the vehicle for dips and salsas. Use it to make stock and as a base for soups and casseroles along with onion. 

Celery is sometimes reported to be a 'negative-kilojoule' food, in other words using more energy to digest it than it actually provides. I'm afraid this is not true. Nevertheless it has such a low energy density - a medium stalk has only 27kJ - you can pretty much eat as much as you like!
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Have you tried celery spread with a little nut butter? I discovered this via my younger son and it's now a favourite after school snack in our house!

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Chilli
/chil-ee/

Vegies

Chillies are in the same family as capsicums (peppers) and have many of the same nutritional qualities. However we tend to eat them in smaller quantities, depending on how hot they are. Chillies are eaten all around the world. They are central to Mexican cooking, and used broadly throughout Africa, India and much of Asia. 

The heat comes from the phytonutrient capsaicin. The highest concentration of capsaicin is actually not the seeds as commonly thought, but in the white pith surrounding the seeds. If you want to reduce the heat in your dish, make sure you remove this and use just the flesh of the chilli.

Capsaicin has been studied as an anti-cancer agent, with some promising results from animal and cell line studies in the lab. Be careful with eating too many really hot chillies - burning the cells of your mouth and throat is not a sensible idea. There is also divided evidence linking chilli consumption with stomach cancer, with studies for and against. The strongest positive evidence is for the use of extracted capsaicin from chillies used topically to treat pain. Here it does seem to be effective.

The nutritional components of chilli are less important as you're likely to only eat a small amount. However a benefit is that by flavouring your food with chilli, and other spices, you can use less salt.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Capsaicin has been studied as a potential weight loss aid. When you eat chilli you feel hot, and that's because you are indeed producing some extra heat. This means a few kilojoules are being lost as heat. For a time you could even purchase chilli supplements, sold to help weight loss, but since the effect is so tiny people quickly realised it was not an effective strategy.

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Chives
/chahyv/

Vegies

Chives always make me think of my mum's boiled potatoes growing up - she'd add a pat of butter and freshly chopped chives from the garden. These days I use extra virgin olive oil instead but the addition of the chives works just as well. They're delicious!

Chives are a grassy looking herb and they have an onion kind of taste, but are far more delicate. They add a fresh, pretty touch to your dishes when used at the last minute. They go partcularly well, aside from potatoes, with tomatoes and with eggs. Use a pair of scissors to cut them directly over an omelette, your poached eggs, tomato salad or over any fresh salad.

Like all herbs chives undoubtedly have a weatlh of antioxidants and other phytochemicals present. However you're unlikely to use them in such amounts as to gain much benefit. Nevertheless as part of a plant rich diet they certainly add to the overall healthfulness of your diet.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
If you won't use the whole bunch before they go soggy in the bottom of your fridge, wrap them in a paper towel, pop them in a ziplock bag and freeze. 

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Coriander
/Coriander/

Vegies

If you live in the States or parts of Europe you might know coriander by its Spanish name Cilandro, or in parts of Asia as Chinese parsley. Coriander is a fragrant herb used extensively in many cuisines including Asian, Mexican, Mediterranean, African and Scandinavian.

You can both use the fresh or dried leaves, as well as the coriander seed. You can buy the seeds whole, and then crush in a mortar and pestle, or ready ground. Generally I prefer to buy the whole seeds and grind fresh, but for convenience the ground seeds are useful. Just be sure to use frequently to ensure freshness - all to often spices sit in our pantries for months (or years!) on end and lose both their flavour and their potential health benefits. 

Like other herbs and spcies, coriander is a powerful phytochemical mix. The seeds and the leaves contain various terpenes including linalool which gives coriander it's characteristic scent, and pinene. These have protective functions in the plant, including having a natural pesticide effect, and research is ongoing to uncover the potentialy beneficial effects in humans.

Use coriander seeds to make curries and marinades for meat, while the fresh leaves are divine added right at the end of cooking to curries, stir fries and South American dishes such as fajitas. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Coriander leaves provide a whole range of carotenoids including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These all have antioxidant potential in their own right, but the latter two also play an important role in eye health, reducing the risk of age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. 

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Cucumber
/kyoo-kuhm-ber/

Vegies

Cucumbers have been cultivated for over 300 thousand years, originally in India. Today they are produced all over the world with China being the largest producer by a long shot, producing well over 400 million tonnes a year! They belong to a family of vegetables called Cucurbitaceae that includes squash, pumpkins, zucchini and melons. 

If you're thinking that cucumbers are mostly water you're absolutely right - they are 95% water. This means that they contribute to your hydration levels and they are excellent added to vegie juices and smoothies. Unsurprisingly they are extremely low in energy - 50g of cucumber (about 6 slices) has only 25kJ and less than a gram of carbohydrate, with no fat and only a tiny trace of protein. They are not devoid of nutrients however. You will get small but significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A and traces of several other nutrients. 

So while cucumbers are not exactly a superfood delivering stacks of nutrients, they do add texture and a lovely crunch and refreshing taste to salads, sandwiches and wraps. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Cucumbers are best when they are fresh, plump and full of water. But because of the high water content they can freeze in the bottom of your fridge if it is too cold. This breaks the plant cell walls and you will lose the lovely crisp texture of the cucumber. If this is happening keep your cucumbers on the top shelf of your fridge instead. 

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Dill
/Dill/

Vegies

Dill sprigs have been used in Mediterranean and Eastern-European cuisines for thousands of years but what most people don’t realise is that dill seeds can also be used in cooking and actually provide a richer flavour.
 
Dill provides a source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium and folate, but unless you intend to munch on dill sprigs day and night; the amount of these nutrients you get per spring is negligible. Nevertheless dill is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids and monoterpenes which are known for their chemprotective properties. Just be sure to be generous with your use of dill to maximise these benefits. 
 
Use dill and lemon to compliment a fish dish in place of a kilojoule-laden creamy white sauce, or mix dill sprigs with low fat Greek yoghurt and use in place of mayonnaise in a potato salad. I love to include it with a bunch of other herbs in a salsa verde, blitzed together in my Vitamix. You can then use this as a salad dressing or drizzled over BBQ meat or seafood. 

To maximise the life of dill, chop and freeze half the bunch and store it in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Wrap the other half in a damp paper towel and store in the crisper section of your fridge.  Dill has a short ‘fridge life’ so in order to prevent waste, freeze what you don’t think you’ll use in two days.  Chopped, frozen bundles of dill can easily be added to a casserole or soup.
 
 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
The word dill is derived from an Old English word “dilla” which means to lull. Lull is thought to indicate the calming effect dill has on the stomach and in particular relieving stomach upset and flatulence.

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Eggplant
/eg-plahnt/

Vegies

Eggplant - or aubergine in Europe - is actually a fruit, but like tomatoes we think of them and eat them as vegetables. We don't often think of them as being particularly nutritious, but in fact they have much to offer us. Like most vegetables they are low in kilojoules, with 100g of eggplant containing only 100kJ, while supplying 6% of your folate and manganese for the day, and 8% of your potassium for women and 6% for men. You'll also get small amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, and B group vitamins. 

While these micronutrient levels are not all that impressive compared to other foods, eggplants are the best source of a lesser known antioxidant called nasunin. In the plant this helps to protect it from sun damage, and in our bodies it may have many potential benefits. It is found in the skin of the eggplant, so be sure to eat the whole fruit although this is normally how it is prepared.

At least one study in animals has shown nasunin to help to protect the heart. This may be due to it's ability to bind free iron. Although I often talk about getting enough iron in your diet, you don't want excess iron floating around your body as it can result in oxidative damage to cells including LDL-cholesterol. 

Several studies have shown nasunin to prevent new blood vessel growth and in doing so it can help to prevent tumour growth. Since nasunin has also been shown to have potent antioxidant power, eggplant shows real promise as part of your cancer-fighting and anti-aging diet. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Eggplants below to the 'nightshade' family of vegetables that also includes tomatoes, potatoes and capsicums. They are often listed as foods to avoid if you have arthritis. Anecdotally people have reported this makes a difference to their symptoms, however when carefully tested in proper studies there is no link between these vegetables and symptoms. Since there are many potential benefits from eggplants, they are a worthy addition to your diet.

Nutritional Information

Dairy free Gluten Free Nut free Vegan Vegetarian

Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants

 
 
Garlic
/gahr-lik/

Vegies

Garlic stands out as having particularly potent anti-cancer effects. It has high levels of allicin and other sulphur compounds that are thought to be responsible. Garlic is also anti-bacterial, it can block the formation of carcinogenic substances, can enhance the repair of DNA in cells around the body and can assist in killing off rogue cells that may progress to cancer. The World Health Organisation recommends we eat a clove of garlic a day for general health. 

High heat, prolonged storage and exposure to light are known to affect the levels and form of the potentially beneficial substances in garlic. But on the other hand raw garlic disagrees with many people. You might find that raw garlic repeats on you and garlic breath is not so desirable! Or you may find it causes heartburn or indigestion. Since there are many studies showing a benefit of cooked and raw garlic, as well as other cooked allium vegetables, there is clearly still a benefit from enjoying them in this way. What you might like to do is rather than frying your garlic at the start of the dish, try adding it a little later to the pan to reduce the heat exposure. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Garlic can help to improve your blood cholesterol profile by raising HDL-chol by 10-15% and reducing LDL-chol by 10-20%. These studies used garlic supplements of between 600 and 1200mg a day. Unless you're prepared to munch on raw garlic cloves every day, a supplement is probably the way to go to hit these levels! 

Nutritional Information

Dairy free Gluten Free Nut free Vegan Vegetarian

Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants

 
 
Ginger
/jin-jer/

Vegies

Ginger is the root of a plant called Zingiber officinale. It is a traditional cooking spice in India, China, South East Asia, East Africa and the Caribbean. It is also pickled and served with sushi and sashimi in Japan. It has a slightly spicy, pungent aroma and taste, and adds huge flavour to your curries and stir-fries.

Aside from its culinary qualitites, ginger has been used medicinally for many hundreds of years. More recent scientific evidence seems to be confirming some of these traditional folk uses. Ginger is rich in several phytonutrients - including gingeroles, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicyclate - and has a high antioxidant capacity. It is being studied for its' potential to reduce pain associated with arthritis, to reduce nausea, reduce nerve damage, improve immunity and for its' anti-inflammatory effect. 
’s ‘Did You Know?’
If you're suffering from heartburn, try eating some pickled ginger - the type you get with sushi. It really can work! 

Nutritional Information

Dairy free Gluten Free Nut free Vegan Vegetarian

Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants

 
 
Green Beans
/green beenz/

Vegies

Green beans, also known as 'snap beans' in the US and 'haricot verts' in France, are fabulously versatile vegies with lots to offer nutritionally. Firm vegies such as this have more fibre than the green leafy types, and half a cup of sliced green beans gives you about 2g of fibre. They're also rich in vitamin C, K and manganese, while supplying good levels of vitamin A, B group vitamins including folate, iron, potassium and magnesium.
’s ‘Did You Know?’
Uncooked green beans contain lectins that can be harmful to the cells of the gut if consumed in high quantities. Cooking the beans degrades the lectins making them safe to eat. I don't recommend using raw beans in salads for this reason - always cook them first and drop into iced water (to keep them a bright green and firm texture) before adding to the salad. 

Nutritional Information

Dairy free Gluten Free Nut free Vegan Vegetarian

Dr Joanna Plate Category: Plants