From: Allison Winter, ENN
Published May 20, 2013 03:27 PM

Eat those white vegetables?

We've always been told that eating colorful foods has many health benefits. And no, I'm not talking about artificially colored candies or chips, but instead fresh fruits and vegetables. Many produce rich in color contains nutrient packed pigments and antioxidants that provide energy and other benefits to our bodies. Consequently, it is recommended that we have three to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

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But what about white foods? Some nutritionists urge us to stay away from white bread breads, rice and pastas, but what about white produce? There are potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, turnips and kohlrabi just to name a few. Are these white fruits and vegetables just as nutritious?

Well according to a new study, authors are exploring the state of nutrition science on white vegetables, especially potatoes, in supporting a healthy, well-balanced diet.

According to the study, potatoes and other white vegetables are just as important to a healthy diet as their colorful cousins. Although green, red and orange veggies are often promoted as top nutrient sources, white vegetables are nutrient powerhouses in their own right and deserve a place on your plate.

"It's recommended that the variety of fruits and vegetables consumed daily should include dark green and orange vegetables, but no such recommendation exists for white vegetables, even though they are rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium," says the supplement's editor Connie Weaver, PhD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University. "Overall, Americans are not eating enough vegetables, and promoting white vegetables, some of which are common and affordable, may be a pathway to increasing vegetable consumption in general."

The authors identify evidence that demonstrates how the inclusion of white vegetables can increase intake of shortfall nutrients, notably fiber, potassium and magnesium, as well as help increase overall vegetable consumption among children, teens and adults in the U.S. Some of the report’s key findings are:

     - Color does not necessarily predict nutritive value of a vegetable. In fact, white vegetables, including nutrient-dense potatoes, contribute important amounts of essential shortfall nutrients to the American diet across all age groups.
     - Vegetable intake, including consumption of starchy vegetables like potatoes, is about half of what is recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
     - Improvements in cooking oils, coatings, preparation methods and processing technologies are enhancing the nutritional profile of the white potato in all forms, making an already healthy package even healthier.

The Advances in Nutrition supplement, "White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients," was published last week by the American Society for Nutrition.

See more at EurkAlert.

Potato image via Shutterstock.

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