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How to Grow Healthy Kids

Our children’s nutrition is vital to their health and development, both in school and in sports. Teach your kids about healthy choices today to establish healthy habits for tomorrow. Set a good example by involving them in meal planning, introducing them to cooking and portion control and getting active!

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What to Eat During Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant you have probably heard the phrase eating for two. It’s true that a pregnant woman's calorie intake grows during pregnancy, but simply doubling your calorie intake is not the solution for you or your baby.

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Regardless of whether banana selfies are an effective way to protest racism, banana snacks are undoubtedly an effective way to refuel the body.

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Company Overview

About Us

Founded in Hawaii in 1851, Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2010 revenues of $6.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods, and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research. The Company does business in more than 90 countries and employs, on average, 36,000 full-time, regular employees and 23,000 full-time seasonal or temporary employees, worldwide.

Food Facts - L-R

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One medium cooked leek (124g) contains 38 calories and provides a good source of manganese. As part of the allium (garlic and onion) family, leeks contain organosulfur compounds, including allyl sulfides, which lab studies show may stimulate the body's natural detoxification systems. This may explain why National Cancer Institute researchers found in one study that leeks and other allium-containing vegetables may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 50%. Leeks also contain inulin, a prebiotic fiber that selectively feeds good bacteria to protect against food-borne viruses, and may also help regulate appetite and increase calcium absorption.

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There are two types of legumes: mature and immature. Mature legumes are the dried seeds found inside pods that hang from the stems of certain plants. They are excellent sources of fiber (approximately 15 g/cup), rich in protein, loaded with nutrients, and low in fat. Examples include dried peas, lentils and numerous types of dried beans. Green beans and peas, commonly referred to as vegetables, are actually immature legumes because they are harvested before maturing on the plant.

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One medium lemon (58g) contains 17 calories and is an excellent source of vitamin C. Limonoids, phytochemicals found only in citrus fruits such as lemons, may help fight colon cancer and halt the spread of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma, according to animal research. Texas Agriculture Experiment Station researchers have shown limonoids also promote health by reducing the ratio of LDL "bad" cholesterol to HDL "good" cholesterol. In addition, lemons are loaded with flavonoids, such as hesperidin and eriodictyol, which preliminary research shows may reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing LDL "bad" cholesterol oxidation and lowering blood lipid levels. Australian researchers have found a possible link between high citrus consumption and a lower risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat and stomach. Squeeze lemon juice onto dishes to enhance flavor or over cut fruit to help prevent browning. Add lemon zest to marinades for additional protection against bacterial growth.

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There are many varieties of lettuce:

- Iceberg: 1/6 medium head (89g) provides an excellent source of vitamin K and a mere 15 calories. Iceberg lettuce also contains 1.42 mg per 100g of the polyphenol quercetin, more than the 1.14 mg in strawberries.

- Butter Lettuce: About 3 cups (85g) provides an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin K, plus a good source of folate for a mere 10 calories. Butter lettuce also supplies the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

- Green Leaf: One and a half cups shredded (85g) provides an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin K, plus a good source of manganese for a mere 15 calories. This lettuce variety contains vitamins A and C which both help support skin health and immune function. Green leaf lettuce also contains over 100% of the daily value for vitamin K for healthy bones. The Framingham Heart Study found that people who consumed approximately 250 micrograms/day of vitamin K (a single serving of green leaf lettuce supplies 148 micrograms) had a 35% lower risk of hip fracture compared to those who consumed only 50 micrograms/day. Green leaf lettuces’ beta-carotene may help you see in dim light, while lutein and zeaxanthin may protect the eye from the sun’s damaging rays, making this leafy green "super" eye healthy.

- Red Leaf: About 3 cups (85g) provides over 125 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and vitamin K for a mere 15 calories. Red leaf lettuce, like green leaf, supplies a significant quantity of the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, making it a healthy food for your eyes.

- Romaine: One serving (6 leaves, 85g) provides nearly 100% of the Daily Value of vitamin A, plus an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folic acid for a mere 15 calories. The unique combination of high vitamin A and C make Romaine lettuce a healthy food for your skin and immunity. Like green and red leaf lettuces, Romaine is also loaded with beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin making it a healthy food for your eyes. Brigham Young researchers noticed that women with the highest dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin had an 18% less chance of developing cataracts than those with the lowest intakes. Boston scientists found a 43% lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in people in the top 20% of overall carotenoid intake.

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British sailors used to be issued a daily allowance of lemons or limes to prevent scurvy, giving them the nickname "Limey". Although not usually eaten raw because of the sour taste, one medium lime (67g) has only 20 calories and provides an excellent source of vitamin C. Limes are also loaded with the flavonoids eriodictyol and naringenin, which preliminary studies have shown may reduce the risk of heart disease by fighting free radicals and lowering blood lipid levels. In addition, researchers from the University of Costa Rica found that lime juice may prevent cholera infections, in one study.

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Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid that may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration - a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. Lutien may filter direct sunlight waves that may cause free radical damage to the eyes. Top sources of lutein include spinach, kale, chicory, collard greens, green peas, and lettuce. Keep in mind that cooking these foods releases lutein from the cell walls, making it more available to the body, while adding a bit of healthy fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats)may help enhance absorption.

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Lychees originated in southern China where they are considered a symbol of love. The small fruit has reddish-brown rough skin that is inedible but easily removed. The pulp is aromatic, translucent and juicy, with a sweet-sour taste. The center of the fruit contains a single glossy brown seed that is slightly poisonous and should not be eaten. Although lychees are usually eaten fresh in tropical countries, canned versions are more often found in the U.S. markets. Ten of these delicious fruit (96g) have only 63 calories and provide an excellent source of vitamin C. In addition, Japanese lab researchers have found that lychees may help to protect against liver damage, in one study.

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Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles (e.g. helps regulate heart rhythm), the synthesis of protein and DNA, and the production and transport of energy from carbohydrates, fat and proteins. In addition, magnesium promotes strong bones and brain health. Researchers have also found that adequate magnesium levels may help prevent several chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Unfortunately, about 2/3 of Americans do not get enough magnesium sources, which include spinach, green peas, soybeans, and almonds.

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Manganese is a trace mineral involved in the formation and maintenance of bone and connective tissue. Studies show that women with osteoporosis have decreased manganese levels. Manganese also plays a role in wound healing, so adequate dietary manganese is important when recovering from injury. One Polish study found that some cancer fighting drugs, known to impair collagen synthesis and so lengthen wound healing, work by immobilizing manganese so it can’t activate the collagen building enzyme. Manganese is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol, and is crucial in protecting mitochondria - the power plants of the cells - from free-radical damage. Since mitochondria process 90% of the oxygen that enters the body, they need the best defense against “oxidative damage.” Manganese supplies this as “manganese superoxide dismutase” -- the fastest reacting antioxidant enzyme. Some of the best sources of manganese include pineapple, spinach, sweet potatoes, nuts, oats and berries.

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One-half of a medium mango (104g) provides an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A for just 68 calories. This same serving also supplies a significant quantity of the carotenoid beta-carotene, which promotes healthy skin, hardy immune function and may prevent cancer both by neutralizing free radicals and by promoting communication between cells. In particular, mangoes might help fight prostate cancer; Indian lab scientists found that mango pulp extract reduced free-radical damage to the prostate and reactivated antioxidant enzymes in animal studies. To check a mango for ripeness, hold it in the palm of your hand and give it a gentle squeeze - it should give slightly. The skin should be taut, not shriveled and without bruises.

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Like vitamins, minerals are involved a variety of functions in the body. Unlike vitamins, some minerals also play a structural role, such as calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, which are the main components of bones and teeth. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium - maintain the fluids balance inside and outside of cells. Your body also needs trace minerals, but in smaller amounts, including iron, chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.

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Monounsaturated fats promote heart health by lowering blood cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats. Liquid at room temperature, monounsaturated fats are derived mainly from plant sources, such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. Keep in mind that they're still fats, and thus calorie-dense, so make sure the "m" in mono- also stands for "moderation."

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Mushrooms provide beneficial B vitamins, including riboflavin and niacin. Popular choices include white or button, crimini, oyster, shiitake, and the large-sized Portobello. One half cup of cooked mushrooms contains about 20 calories and provides a good source of selenium, which studies show may reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancer. Mushroom’ selenium and riboflavin also help support numerous enzyme functions. Portobello mushrooms also make a great meat substitute for vegetarians due to their hearty, chewy texture. Dole food researchers have figured out how to naturally boost vitamin D levels in mushrooms to over 100% of daily requirements simply by increasing exposure to light. The Medical Research Institute in Tokyo reported shiitake mushrooms contain the anti-tumor polysaccharide, lentinan, which has shown potential effects against colorectal cancer in animal studies. Tufts lab researchers suggest that increased intake of white button mushrooms could enhance your body's “natural killer” cells, thereby improving your immunity against tumors and viruses.

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Nectarines are so closely related to peaches that though rare, it is possible to find them growing on the same tree. National Cancer Institute preliminary studies demonstrated a 40% lower risk of cancers of the esophagus, head and neck for those with the highest intake of fruit of the "rosaceae" family (which include nectarines). One medium nectarine (140 g) has 70 calories and is a good source of vitamin C. Nectarines’ vitamins A and C support skin and immune function, and nectarines also supply flavonoids, such as (+)-catechin, which may help protect against free radical damage (the rust, if you will, of our cells).

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Go nuts - and not regret it. Although nuts are relatively high in fat, they supply mostly heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat. On average, a one-ounce serving of nuts (28g) is a good source of protein and fiber. Harvard researchers found that eating 5 oz. of nuts (including peanuts) weekly can lower the risk of gallstones by up to 34%. Most nuts also contain a class of compounds called "phytosterols" which research shows can reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol by competitively reducing the absorption sites for dietary cholesterol in the gut. The fats in nuts help the absorption of other fat soluble nutrients like vitamins D, E and K.

Different varieties offer different nutrient benefits. For example, Pennsylvania State researchers found that a handful of macadamia nuts a day reduced total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol by about 9%. An ounce of walnuts contains twice the amount of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids found in the oils used by German and French scientists to reduce skin redness and dry, flaky skin. Walnuts also contain gamma-tocopherol, a unique form of vitamin E thought to possibly inhibit prostate and lung cancer cell division. Brazil nuts are a top source of selenium; cashews are high in zinc; pecans are tops in terms of polyphenol activity, and pine nuts pack manganese. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and provide prebiotic fiber, selectively feeding the "good" bacteria which guard the intestinal tract against foodborne viruses, according to a study by the Institute of Food Research. Purdue University researchers found that overweight women who added 2 ounces of almonds to their daily diet for 10 weeks (an extra 21,000 calories) didn't gain weight! Instead, they effortlessly ate less of other foods, maintaining a calorie balance. Keep in mind the calorie count: 1/4 cup (30g) of nuts has almost 200 calories.

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Olives are one of the oldest known cultivated fruits. About ten large brined green olives (44g) have only 64 calories and contain monounsaturated fat - a heart-healthy fat. The German Cancer Research Center reports brined olives have higher polyphenol levels than olive oils, and brined black olives (as opposed to brined green olives) contain additional flavonoids such as apigenin. Lab studies show apigenin may reduce the risk of breast, colon, skin, thyroid, and prostate cancers. Preliminary research from the University of Pennsylvania found an extra-virgin olive oil phytonutrient, oleocanthal, may help fight inflammation. Also, a recent review of research indicated olive oil may have anticancer and antimicrobial properties. This discovery may help explain the health benefits long attributed to the olive-oil rich Mediterranean diet.

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Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fat (essential to human health but cannot be made in the body) that promotes heart and brain health; may reduce the risk of arthritis, and even possibly fight wrinkles and depression. There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and ALA. Georgia University research suggest DHA (docosahexanoic acid) may intervene with fat formation. Top sources include salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. USDA data shows that farmed Atlantic salmon actually has slightly higher combined amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than wild salmon. Testing shows the levels of PCBs in farmed salmon continue to drop and are now comparable to those found in wild salmon.Omega-3 fats, such as alphalinolenic acid, also come from plants foods, like walnuts and seeds, but these sources are not significantly converted to DHA and EPA in the body.

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Onions for bone health? Swiss researchers found that bone mineral density increased by 17 percent in rats fed dried onions, possible due onions’ prebiotic fiber boosting calcium absorption. Onions are a top source of inulin, a fiber indigestible by humans, but which selectively nourishes good gut bacteria that line our intestinal tract thereby protecting against food-borne viruses like E.coli. Onions’ prebiotic fiber may also help regulate appetite. Onions are also one of the highest sources of quercetin - a polyphenol shown in lab studies to possibly reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, prostatitis and a variety of cancers (such as prostate and lung cancer). In addition to such compounds (that may protect you by directly neutralizing free radicals), onions contain phytochemicals that may trigger your body's own natural enzyme systems. In fact, the same sulfur-containing compounds that give onions their pungent odors are those that activate the phase II enzymes in the liver, prompting a cascade of potential effects that might last for several hours. Less spectacular, though no less important, is that onions are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, and manganese. With all of these nutrients for just 60 calories per one medium bulb, it's a good thing the average American eats about 18 pounds of onions per year.

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One medium orange (154g) provides more than a day's worth of vitamin C. This same serving provides an excellent source of fiber and a good source of folate for just 70 calories. Oranges contain more than 170 phytochemicals - including many flavonoids, which may have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects according to lab experiments. Indeed, citrus fruits' possible health effects may begin the moment you put them in your mouth. Australian researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization linked high citrus consumption with a lower risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat and stomach. In addition, regular consumption of oranges during the first two years of life has been associated with a reduced risk of childhood leukemia, in one study.

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For more than a decade, annual sales and production of organic foods have grown by double-digits. Organic products now account for approximately 2.6% of total food sales in the U.S. In order for agricultural products in the U.S. to claim they are "organic", they must adhere to the requirements of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 and the regulations promulgated by the USDA through the National Organic Program (NOP) under this act. These laws require operations that produce or handle organic products or ingredients to obtain certification through a USDA-accredited certifying agent. In order to comply with these regulations, organic production can not use biotechnology (use of genetically modified organisms - GMOs), biosolids, or irradation. In addition, the USDA has even prohibited the use of these technologies in connection with non-organic ingredients in organically produced products. An organically produced food can only use the claim "100% organic" if it is made with 100% organic ingredients, but a product can use the term "organic" if it is made with more than 95% organic ingredients. In addition, the term "made with organic" can be used if the product is made with 70-95% organic ingredients. With the launch of, consumers can use the three-digit code on labels for Dole organic bananas to virtually visit the farm where the fruit was grown: view the fields via Google Earth; read e-mails from farm workers; learn about the growing regions and their local communities.

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One-half of a papaya (140g) provides nearly 150 percent of vitamin C needs, plus is an excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of fiber, folate and potassium, all for a mere 55 calories. The unique combination of high vitamin A and C make papaya a healthy food for your skin and immunity. No wonder research comparing 40 different fruits for the Dietary Recommended Intake (DRI) of nine vitamins plus potassium and fiber rated papayas first. Papayas are also a top source of beta-cryptoxanthin, an vitamin A carotenoid that preliminary research shows may reduce the risk of lung cancer. Papaya also supplies papain, an enzyme that may promote digestion and soothe skin injuries.

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Regarded as little more than a garnish, parsley actually packs a nutrition punch. Just 1/4 cup (15g) of parsley provides over 300% of the Daily Value of vitamin K (promotes bone health) and is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Parsley is also a top source of the flavonoid apigenin, which lab studies show may protect the prostate, and possibly reduce the risk of breast, colon, skin and thyroid cancers. Parsley's abundance of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin may help safeguard your sight, while chewing on a sprig after a meal can help freshen your breath.

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The third most popular fruit grown in the United States (right behind apples and oranges), peaches belong to the rose family and emit a sweet aroma when they are ripe. One medium peach (98g) contains about 40 calories and is a good source of vitamin C. Peaches contain carotenoids and phenolics, which may help neutralize free radicals that contribute to the premature aging of skin.

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Common varieties of pears include Bosc, Anjou, Comice, Asian and Seckel. While a ripe pear practically dissolves in your mouth, this fruit is one of the best sources of cholesterol lowering fiber, containing 4 grams per medium pear (166g). Most is in the peel. Pectin, the connective fiber in pears, helps weight-maintenance by promoting fullness. A medium pear provides a good source of vitamin C and has 100 calories. Pears are also a top source of the flavonoid, epicatechin, which may help combat free radicals linked to aging. Contrary to conventional wisdom, pears actually increase in flavonoid content the longer they sit on the shelves.

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Peas belong to the legume family and provide one of the highest vegetable sources of protein. One-half cup of cooked peas (80g) provides an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, plus a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and thiamin for just 67 calories. Peas also supply a significant quantity of the phytochemicals beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, that may support eye health.

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One medium persimmon (168g) provides a top source of fiber (6 grams), as well as an excellent source of manganese and vitamins A and C for just 118 calories. Persimmons' orange color comes from their carotenoids, such as beta-cryptoxanthin, which lab research shows may reduce the risk of lung cancer. There are two types of persimmons: fuyu and hachiya. The fuyu persimmon looks like a miniature pumpkin and has a crunchy texture. The hachiya has an acorn-shape and must be ripe when eaten. An unripe hachiya will be bitingly bitter due to the tannins in the fruit. You can tell a hachiya is ripe when it becomes very soft and feels like a water balloon.

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Phenolics, or polyphenols, comprise a large category of phytochemicals that include flavonoids (the largest group), phenolic acids, and coumarins. The phenolics family is so large that it is difficult to generalize their possible health effects. However, it is safe to say that dietary phenolics are possibly bioactive and may inhibit free radicals, which can damage cells and are linked to the development of chronic diseases and the aging process. Most brightly colored fruits and vegetables supply phenolics.

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Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in fruit, vegetables and other plants. In fact, the term "phyto" derives from the Greek word for "plant." There are well over ten thousand known phytochemicals and possibly many more waiting to be discovered. Known phytochemicals have a broad range of possible effects -- from reducing inflammation, to affecting healing, infection and possibly curbing cancer mechanisms. Phytochemicals are not essential to humans -- i.e. not required by the body to sustain life -- but they are essential to plants, such as fruit and vegetables. Phytochemicals are plants' self-protection mechanism; they help shield young buds and sprouts from predators, pollution and the elements. When we eat fruit and vegetables containing phytochemicals, they might pass along to us many of these evolved protective benefits. About 80% of phytochemicals have antioxidant properties in the las such as lycopene, quercetin and beta-carotene. Phytochemicals also include plant enzymes such as pineapple's bromelain and plant sterols such as ß - sitosterol in avocado. The phytochemical C3G, found in Spanish olives, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, red grapes, blood oranges, purple corn and açaí berries may increase production of both adiponectin, a protein that enhances fat metabolism, and leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, according to animal trials at Doshisha University.

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Contrary to popular belief, the pineapple did not originate in Hawaii but in South America! The fruit was taken to Europe where it was named by explorers who thought it resembled a pinecone. One serving (2 slices, 112g) of pineapple has only 60 calories and provides an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. Fresh pineapples are the only known source of bromelain, an enzyme whose anti-inflammatory properties, shown in some studies, may alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis, making pineapple a healthy food for your joints. Preliminary research shows bromelain may also help heal injuries, reduce inflammation associated with asthma and inhibit the growth of malignant cells in both lung and breast cancer. A nutrient combo including bromelain cut down plastic surgery recovery time by 17% according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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Plantains or "cooking bananas," as they are often called, resemble bananas but are longer, thicker skinned, and starchier in flavor. Plantains are a versatile fruit that have three unique stages of ripeness, and can be eaten during each stage. First, green plantains have a yellowish interior and taste more like a potato. The fruit is firm and is often used for side dishes. Yellow plantains are the middle stage in which they have some brownish-black spots. Their role is now both vegetable and fruit and they are used in dishes that ask for a slightly sweet taste and firm texture. Black plantains are typically found in sweeter recipes and can be eaten out of hand. Plantains are available year round and you can buy plantains at any stage depending on your use. One half of a medium plantain (90g) has 110 calories and provides an excellent source of vitamins A and C. This same serving provides a good source of potassium and vitamin B6. Plantains are also loaded with alpha and beta-carotene. In addition, British researchers found in preliminary research that the phytochemical leucocyanidin in unripe plantains may protect against ulcer formation.

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Two medium plums (132g) contain 80 calories and provide an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as a good source of vitamin K. Plums are also loaded with phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins, which might help combat the oxidation - the rust, if you will - of our cells and protect against the negative effects of aging and DNA degradation. French scientists found that chlorogenic acid caused a decrease in anxiety-related behaviors in mice, possibly by combating the kind of oxidative stress that might also induce anxiety and depression in humans. Italian scientists have demonstrated that organically grown plums contain higher concentrations of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E than conventionally grown versions. In fact, these smooth-skinned beauties earn a plum spot (black plums rank 16th and plums rank 19th) on the USDA's list of top twenty foods highest in total polyphenol capacity.

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Polyunsaturated fats include both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and may play a role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. These fats are known as "essential fats" because they are vital to human health but cannot be made in the body. Polyunsaturated fats help the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Top sources include salmon, mackerel, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Don't forget: Though polyunsaturated, they're still fats, and thus calorie-dense, so make sure to eat these foods in moderation.

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A medium pomegranate (154g) contains 105 calories and several hundred edible seeds! The seeds are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Research reveals that pomegranate juice has high levels of polyphenol, compounds shown in preliminary research to possibly promote heart health. A study from UCLA found that ingested pomegranate extract enhanced protection of regular sunscreen up to 23%. Other research has demonstrated that topical application of pomegranate extract inhibited the development of skin cancer in mice. In one study, UCLA researchers found that drinking 8oz of pomegranate juice per day significantly reduced the levels of prostate specific antigen in men following surgery or radiation treatment for the cancer.

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Potassium is both a mineral and an electrolyte, an ion permitting electrical conduction. Potassium plays a key role in vascular dysregulation of a regulation of blood pressure and may reduce the risk of stroke. Potassium also supports normal muscle contraction, nerve impulses, the functioning of the heart and kidneys, and maintenance of the body's proper fluid balance. University of California San Francisco researchers found that potassium may prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Unfortunately, 99% of American women and 90% of men don't get enough potassium in their diet. Top sources include white beans, potatoes, bananas, plantains, broccoli, and kiwi.

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The fact that the potato is the most widely consumed vegetable in America wouldn't be so bad if it weren't consumed primarily deep-fried, or served baked or mashed with added fat and sodium. All varieties are extremely nutrient dense but remember they are only "truly" healthy when baked in their skins or lightly steamed/boiled without the addition of unhealthy ingredients. A small Swedish study found that boiled and mashed potatoes were more satiating than French fries when given as breakfasts after overnight fasting. A baked medium potato (173g) has 163 calories, no fat, and provides an excellent source of potassium (helps regulate blood pressure) and vitamin C. This same serving contains a good source of fiber (for lower cholesterol), magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin, vitamin B6 (helps reduce homocysteine, a known marker for heart disease), and folate, making the vegetable nutrient-dense. Potatoes also supply chlorogenic acid, a phytochemical which lab research shows may block the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines and possibly reduce the risk of liver and colon cancers. A recent British study discovered compounds in potatoes called kukoamines, which may lower blood pressure levels. When eating a potato, leave the skin on for added fiber and nutrients. Korean scientists found potato peel can contain up to 20 times more chlorogenic acid than the pulp. Furthermore, Indian lab researchers demonstrated that a potato peel extract can reduce the chemically-induced oxidation of human red blood cell membranes by up to 85%. For information about other potato varieties click here.

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Five prunes (dried plums, 42g) have 101 calories and provide a good source of fiber. This same serving is an excellent source of vitamin K and supplies a top source of potassium and manganese - nutrients needed for healthy bones. In fact, a study from Oklahoma State University found prunes provided protection against post-menopausal bone loss. In addition, a study from USDA researchers found that gram-for-gram, prunes had the highest polyphenol levels compared to 20 other fruits or vegetables (including blueberries, blackberries and raspberries).

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Pummelos, also spelled "Pomelos", are the largest citrus fruit, similar to grapefruit, although varying in size, color and flavor. A one-cup portion (190g, approximately 1/3 of a medium pummelo) provides about twice the Daily Value of vitamin C, as well as a good source of potassium, all for 72 calories. In addition, pummelos are loaded with flavonoids, such as naringenin and eriodictyol, which lab research shows, may reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing LDL "bad" cholesterol oxidation and lowering blood lipid levels.

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Though they usually show up around Halloween and Thanksgiving, pumpkins are a versatile and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed all year in a variety of dishes. One cup (116g) of raw pumpkin contains over 170% of the Daily Value of vitamin A - needed for night vision - plus other carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, making pumpkin a healthy food for your eyes. Thirty calories of Pumpkin also provides a good source of potassium and vitamin C and one of the best sources of beta-cryptoxanthin, a vitamin A carotenoid linked to lower lung and prostate cancer risk, as well as improved joint health. In fact, a recent British study found that people with the highest intake of beta-cryptoxanthin had half the risk of developing polyarthritis (inflammation that affects at least two or more joint groups) compared to those with lower consumption levels.

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Quercetin is a polyphenol found in onions, apples, red grapes, blueberries, cranberries and bilberries. Lab research from Cornell University suggests that quercetin may protect brain cells against the kind of oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders. Preliminary studies have also shown quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of heart disease as well as lung and prostate cancers. One Finnish study found that men who ate the most foods high in quercetin had 60% less lung cancer, 25% less asthma, and 20% fewer diabetes and heart disease deaths. Other pilot research suggests quercetin can protect the immune system during times of extreme physical stress (like post-marathon).

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Quince is a fruit native to western Asia and dates back over 4,000 years. It is high in vitamin C and contains about 50 calories per fruit (92g). Though it looks like a pear, quince is bitter and usually cooked before eating. This will yield a pleasant aroma and delightfully mellow flavor, similar to an apple or pear. Quinces are excellent for canning and turning into jams and jellies.

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Radishes are members of the mustard family, resembling beets and turnips but with a unique peppery flavor. The shape and skin color of radishes vary, but the most commonly available is the round, red-skinned variety, though the flesh of all varieties is usually white. Radishes are a popular choice for home gardens as they are fairly easy to grow. Seven radishes (85g) have only 15 calories and provide an excellent source of vitamin C. They also have significant quantities of glucosinolates, which stimulates the body's own natural enzyme systems. This may help explain why researchers from India found in one study that radish consumption may reduce the risk of gallbladder cancer by 60%.

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Raisins are grapes that have been dehydrated via the sun or mechanical drying processes. One-quarter cup (40g) of raisins have 120 calories. Research shows raisins might help fight cavities and gum disease - not cause them. The phytochemicals in raisins suppressed the growth of oral bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease, in a University of Illinois study. One of those phytochemicals - oleanolic acid - also has anti-adhesive effects, essentially making it harder for cavity-causing bacteria to latch on to surfaces, where they may release acids that can lead to tooth decay. Also, snacking on raisins pre-workout delivers the same energy boost as sports gels, plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed to support exercise performance and minimize recovery time.

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A food supporting heart health, one-cup of raspberries (123g) provides a top source of fiber, as well as an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese for just 64 calories. This same serving supplies a good source of vitamin K and an abundance of phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid, which research shows may help combat the oxidation - the rust, if you will - of our cells. In fact, a study from the USDA ranked raspberries 10th in total polyphenol capacity out of over 100 common foods. This might help explain why UCLA lab research found that raspberry extract helped inhibit the growth of several kinds of cancers, including oral, breast, colon and prostate.

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One cup of red cabbage (89g) provides an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K and a good source of vitamin A and manganese, just for 28 calories. Red cabbage is also known to contain sulforaphane, a glucosinolate that research shows may stimulate the body's natural detoxification systems. The high content of anthocyanins makes red cabbage one of the highest-ranking polyphenol foods. This may explain why researchers at King's College, London reported that red cabbage has more polyphenols than its green cousin.

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Resveratrol is a phytochemical found in red/purple grapes, blueberries, cranberries and peanuts. Resveratrol has strong anti-inflammatory effects associated with red wine’s potential health benefits. Researchers from Ohio State University found that resveratrol may have another mechanism to protect the heart, by limiting the effects of a condition called cardiac fibrosis in which the heart loses its ability to efficiently pump blood. In vitro and animal studies also suggest that a high resveratrol intake may inhibit of cancer mechanisms

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Rhubarb is a stem "fruit" resembling magenta celery stalks. Because rhubarb is too tart for most people to eat raw, it is usually baked or stewed and sweetened, making it a favorite filling for pies. One-cup (122g) of raw diced rhubarb is an excellent source of vitamin K. This same serving is a good source of potassium, manganese, and vitamin C, for only 26 calories. While rhubarb is a source of calcium, its calcium is mostly unavailable because of oxalates. However, rhubarb's combination of nutrients still make it a healthy food for your bones. Vitamin K has been linked to a reduced risk of bone fractures and potassium may boost bone mineral density and reduce calcium excretion. Vitamin C has been linked with greater forearm bone mineral content in post-menopausal women and helps promote collagen formation (collagen is needed to build strong bones), while manganese is a cofactor for enzymes involved in the formation of healthy cartilage and bone.

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