Deep Orange Vegetables Give Autumn Meals Nutritious Boost

Deep orange vegetables are the perfect complement to fall meals.
Deep Orange Vegetables Give Autumn Meals Nutritious Boost - Articles
Deep Orange Vegetables Give Autumn Meals Nutritious Boost

Very Orange by David Amsler/Flickr.com CC By 2.0

Deep orange vegetables are readily available and are packed with nutrition. Eating these vegetables has many health benefits because they are good sources of beta carotene, a carotenoid and antioxidant that protects against free-radical damage. Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body, and Vitamin A helps in the differentiation of normal cells. Thus, Vitamin A may prevent the development of cancer.

  • Orange vegetables also contain Alpha carotene, a type of Vitamin A, which prevents cancer cells from dividing and taking over other cells in the body. When this happens, it stops the growth of cancer.
  • The carotenoids present in deep orange vegetables may also be good for heart health. Studies show that when men with high cholesterol ate a high amount of these dark yellow/orange vegetables, they lowered their chances of getting a heart attack and dying more than men who did not eat these vegetables.
  • Orange vegetables are also important for eye health. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet high in these vegetables experience a 43 percent decreased risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to blindness in older individuals.

Some common deep orange vegetables include: carrots; butternut and acorn squash; sweet potatoes and yams, and pumpkins. It is recommended that teens and adults should consume 4 to 6 cups of red and orange vegetables weekly. Children ages 4 to 8 should eat 3 cups of these vegetables, and children ages 2 to 3 should eat 2-1/2 cups each week.

Ways to use deep orange vegetables include:

  • Use pumpkins and squash in soups.
  • Grill dark yellow/orange vegetables, and serve them with meat.
  • Dice or shred vegetables, and add to rice and pasta dishes.
  • Use pureed pumpkin and squash in smoothies.
  • Use dark yellow/orange vegetables when baking quick bread or dessert.
  • Stir fry vegetables, and serve as a side dish. Add basil or parsley for extra flavor.
  • Substitute baked sweet potato fries and baked sweet potato for the traditional potato fries and baked potato.

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Healthy version of sweet potato fries

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub potatoes and cut each potato lengthwise into wedges. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Spread potatoes evenly on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 45 minutes turning potatoes after 20 minutes.

Authors

Food, Families and Health: PROSPER

More by Karen Thomas