Eating the rainbow - what are the benefits of white plant foods?April 04, 2023
Curious about the health benefits of phytonutrients from crisp, white fruit and vegetables?
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, there’s no reason why it can’t also look appetising. In fact, making your plate as vibrant and pleasing to the eye as possible is one major way to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals and powerful plant compounds called phytonutrients that boost the body’s natural antioxidant defence system. Phytonutrients not only imbue foods with every colour of the rainbow but also provide their flavour, smell and many of their health benefits. White plant foods contain a unique profile of phytonutrients that can support your health in some surprising ways.
Keep scrolling to learn about the benefits of including more white plant foods on your plate.
What are the benefits of white fruits and vegetables?
Rich in phytonutrients such as anthocyanins and quercetin, white plant foods are especially beneficial for reducing inflammation and maintaining cardiovascular health. Anthocyanins promote healthy blood sugar levels, protect the heart and brain and have even been linked to better memory and cognition.Quercetin is particularly well known for relieving allergies thanks to its role in breaking down histamine. Try a diet high in white fruits and vegetables if you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer.3
White fruits and vegetables also commonly contain high levels of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and prebiotic fibre. The fibre content is especially important for supporting a healthy gut microbiome by stimulating the growth of good bacteria.4
What are some of the best white foods to include in your diet?
Enjoy one to two serves of any of these foods every day for optimal health:
- White grapes
- White mulberries
- Coconut and its products
- White peaches
- White cabbage
- White asparagus
- Onions, shallots
- Potatoes (yes, the humble potato is good for you!)
- White tea
- White peony tea
- Silver needle tea
Ways to include more white plant foods in your diet
Including some of these foods in your daily meals doesn’t have to be difficult - you probably already eat many dishes that include one or two of the above.
- Frozen banana and cauliflower smoothie with coconut milk (the frozen cauliflower adds extra creaminess to the smoothie and a bonus serving of veg)
- White peach salad with baby spinach, cucumbers and pecans
- A side of garlicky mashed potatoes and cauliflower
- Frozen white grapes in the summer as a cooling snack
- Sauteed garlic mushrooms on sourdough with a side of grilled white asparagus
Check out the benefits of green, blue/purple, red and yellow/orange plant foods here.
- Lee, Y.M., Young, Y., Yoon, H., Park, H.M., Song, S., et al. (2017). Dietary anthocyanins against obesity and inflammation. Nutrients, 9(10): 1089. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/10/1089
- Kent, K., Yousefi, M., do Rosario, V.A., Fitzgerald, Z., Broyd, S., et al. (2022). Anthocyanin intake is associated with improved memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Nutrition Research, 104: 36-43. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0271531722000409#
- Jafarinia, M., Hosseini, M.S., Kasiri, N., Fazel, N., Fathi, F., et al. (2020). Quercetin with the potential effect on allergic diseases. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol, 16(36). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7227109/
- Weaver, C. & Marr, E.T. (2013). White vegetables: A forgotten source of nutrients: Purdue roundtable executive summary. Adv Nutr, 4(3): 318S-326S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650503/