​Fresh Offerings Are Packed with Nutrients


Preparing broccoli

Broccoli is a concentrated source of nutrients, especially when cooked. To minimize losses of nutrients during the cooking process, try microwaving or steaming broccoli instead of boiling.​
 
 

Submitted by Dr. Janie Burney, University of Tennessee Extension Nutrition Specialist

 
Fall has arrived, the berries may be gone, but cruciferous vegetables are making a showing in late-season farmers markets and groceries. Now is the time to enjoy bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and turnips.

 
These vegetables are rich in many key nutrients. They are a good source of dietary fiber and contain vitamins K, C and E, and folate, as well as minerals such as potassium and calcium. Beneficial compounds found in these foods, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, also have health benefits.

 
Cruciferous vegetables have compounds that produce a sulfurous smell when cooking. Preparing, chewing and digesting these chemicals form other compounds that some studies suggest help protect against cancer. Because we do not know with certainty, it is best to eat these vegetables for all the nutrients they might have, rather than relying on specific nutrients in dietary supplements. 

 
Bok choy has been grown in China for centuries. The name means “white vegetable.” Both the dark green leaves and the white stalks are calcium-rich and edible. Boy choy is often stir-fried, but it can add a crunchy texture and fresh taste to salads. 

 
Broccoli is a concentrated source of nutrients, especially when cooked. To minimize losses of nutrients during the cooking process, try microwaving or steaming broccoli instead of boiling.

 
Cabbage is typically available in three types: pale green, purple-red and crinkle-textured savoy. Another common variety is Napa cabbage, also called Chinese cabbage. Most people eat cabbage either raw or cooked but today fermented cabbage (sauerkraut and Korean kimchi) is making a comeback. When cabbage is fermented, live microorganisms are produced that may have health benefits such as improved digestion. 

 
Kale is sometimes referred to as the king of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Some studies also suggest that it is important for maintaining bone health in older adults. When purchasing kale, choose dark-colored bunches and avoid yellow or brown leaves.

 
Turnips come in a range of root shapes and colors. When you purchase roots with the dark green leaves attached, you get two nutritious vegetables in one. If have a lot of these on hand, try using turnip roots in place of potatoes and turnip greens in place of spinach or mustard greens.

 
Take advantage of fruits and vegetables in every season. Don’t miss the cruciferous vegetables—they are a powerhouse of nutrients.  

 
For more information about healthy choices for your family, visit the UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences website: ag.tennessee.edu/fcs​. You may also contact your local county UT Extension Office. Ask for the Family and Consumer Sciences agent.

 
Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu

 
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Contact:

 
Dr. Janie Burney, Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, 865-974-7402, jburney@utk.edu