Eaters of ‘meat and potatoes’ diets – be forewarned – this article may inspire you to move out of your comfort zone. Right in the produce section of your neighborhood grocer, there’s an adventure waiting to happen. And it could just change your health for the better. Some of the more unusual foods in the supermarket can also be some of the most beneficial.
Take turnips for example. The whitish root vegetable with purple tinged tops are often overlooked on the everyday grocery run. Yet, turnips are one of the best starch vegetables around because of their composition. Despite their status as a starch, turnips contain only 30% of the calories that are found in a single potato. As well, they are great source of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, copper, pantothenic acid and manganese. They’re also rich in thiamine, potassium, niacin and magnesium. The greens offer even more benefit with vitamin A, B6, calcium and fiber topping the nutritional benefits.
If you browse the Asian food aisle you may find a inconspicuous vacuum-sealed bag of edible kelp called kombu. This staple in Japanese cuisine not only imparts a rich flavor to everything it touches, it also contains few calories, three times the fiber of oatmeal, twice the fiber of lentils, high levels of vitamin B1 and almost seven times more calcium than the average glass of milk. Just be careful not to overdo it with kombu as it is also high in iodine which can effect thyroid function.
And for those with a sweet tooth – cruise the citrus section to find what looks like bite-size oranges. They’re Kumquats, the tasty fruit with the silly name. As their appearance suggests, they’re a citrus fruit, but unlike their orange, lemon and grapefruit cousins, their rinds are sweet and meant to be eaten with the peels on – delivering a mega punch of fiber, antioxidants, essential oils and anti-aging flavonoids.