Here are six plants that add colour, flavour and taste to our food. Most important of all, they boost our health and immunity system. “Phyto” means a plant and most phytochemicals have tongue-twisting fancy names. A small intake of these on a regular basis goes a long way in keeping the body healthy and the immune system smart.
Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, limes and grapefruits provide vitamin C, folate and fibre all of which are essential for the body. Limonen found in the pulp and the peeling of these fruits has helped laboratory animals to fight tumours. Half a cup or more helps to keep good health.
Tomato has a carotenoid called lycopene which again has healing properties. In an extensive study, it was found that, men who ate 10 or more servings of tomato-based food per week had only half the health risk of those who had two or less servings per week.
Grapes and its juice is said to lower the risk of heart diseases. Red wine contains flavonoids and grape skin contains phenolics. Both these phytochemicals are beneficial. Drinking purple grape juice or eating red and black grapes will help.
Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are said to lower the risk of lung, stomach and other cancers. The phytochemicals involved are Glucosinolates. One of them is Indole-3-carbinol.
Garlic is an antibiotic and is a food with more than just medical benefits. It belongs to the Alliums family which includes onion and leeks. It contains a chemical called Allicin which has healing properties. Garlic is also said to lower cholesterol level. It is said that for garlic to be most effective it must be eaten raw. One pearl a day is adequate.
Spinach is dark green in colour and contains lutien or zeaxanthin which protects our eyes as we age. This may protect you from macular degeneration (leading to blindness).