Chayote (español: chayote) (Sechium edule) is a type of squash that belongs to the gourd family. Chayote is green and pear-shaped with a white inner flesh that is mild, sweet, juicy and crisp. It is loaded with B vitamins, potassium and vitamin C. The chayote plant is perennial and native to the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. Chayote is available year-round but its peak season is fall. Extracts of chayote leaf, stem and seed have antimicrobial benefits against strains of bacteria, even some that are antibiotic-resistant. Chayote is rich in folate, a B vitamin essential to cell division and DNA formation. A folate deficiency can lead to lack of energy, poor immune function and impaired digestion. Folate is especially important nutrient for pregnant women to prevent birth defects like spina bifida.
Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of chayote
calories 25 carbohydrates 6 g fat 0 g fiber 2.2 g folate 31% DV magnesium 4% DV manganese 12% DV niacin 3% DV potassium 5% DV protein 1.1 g sugar 2.2 g zinc 7% DV vitamin B6 5% DV vitamin C 17% DV vitamin K 7% DV
The brussels sprout (español: coles de bruselas) is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leaf vegetables are typically half and inch to one-and-a-half inches in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. They have long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have gained their name there. Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in many nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C. They contain kaempferol, an antioxidant that may reduce cancer growth, decrease inflammation and promote heart health. Because of their high fiber content, they promote regularity, support digestive health and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. They are very high in Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and bone metabolism. The fiber and antioxidants in Brussels sprouts may help keep your blood sugar levels stable. They are a good source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, cognitive decline and blood triglycerides. Brussels sprouts can be roasted, boiled, sautéed or baked. They are a good addition to pasta or stir-fries.
Guava (español: guayaba) is a tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. Psidium guajava is a small tree in the myrtle family, native to Mexico, Central America. Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves and white flowers with five petals and numerous stamens. The fruits are many-seeded berries. I was a newlywed and had just moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, when I tasted my first guayaba. I was hooked. When ripe, the guayaba, or guava, is very sweet and delicious, peeling, seeds and all. Just wash and eat it like an apple. They are also made into a popular candy called ate. (pronounced ah-tay). Guayabate is one of my favorite sweets. Among the claims for guavas are that they improve heart health; help lower blood sugar levels; relieve painful symptoms of menstruation; benefit the digestive system; are good for your skin; may aid weight loss; may have an anticancer effect; help boost immunity.
Nutrition Facts: 1 raw guava (100 g)
calories 63 carbohydrates 14.32 g fat 0.95 g fiber 5.4 g sugars 8.92 g vitamin A 624 IU vitamin C 228.3 mg
Zucchini (español: calabacita), also known as courgette, is a summer squash in the Cucurbitaceae plant family, which includes melons, spaghetti squash, and cucumbers. It can grow to more than 3.2 feet (1 meter) in length but is usually harvested when still immature — typically measuring under 8 inches (20 cm). Although zucchini is often considered a vegetable, it is botanically classified as a fruit. It occurs in several varieties, which range in color from deep yellow to dark green. Zucchini is delicious raw or cooked. Since the skin of the plant contains high levels of antioxidants, it is best served unpeeled. Zucchini can be grated, sliced, or stuffed. It is delicious boiled, steamed, grilled, baked, broiled, or breaded and fried. It is a healthy ingredient in salads, soups, and breads, and a tasty addition to many favorite dishes. Zucchini contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Cooked zucchini is particularly high in vitamin A. It is rich in water and fiber, promoting healthy digestion. Zucchini’s fiber may increase insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels, potentially reducing risk of type 2 diabetes. Zucchini may lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease. It contributes to healthy vision and may lower risk of age-related eye conditions.
Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of sliced zucchini (113 g)
calories 19 carbohydrates 4 g copper 8% DV fat 0.4 g fiber 11 g folate 8% DV magnesium 10% DV manganese 16% DV potassium 8% DV protein 3% DV thiamine 5% DV vitamin A 40% DV vitamin B6 7% DV vitamin C 14% DV vitamin K 9% DV
The blackberry (español: zarzamora) is an edible fruit produced by many species in the genus Rubus in the Rosaceae family. The taxonomy of the blackberries has historically been confused because of hybridization and apomixis, so that species have often been grouped together and called species aggregates. Blackberries are delicious just as they are with no more preparation than washing. They make a delicious and healthy addition to smoothies, fruit salads, or green salads. They are rich in fiber, manganese and Vitamins C and K. They are credited with improving brain and oral health. With a Glycemic Index (GI) of 25 and a Glycemic Load (GL) of 4, blackberries are an excellent food for weight loss and diabetes control. There is promising ongoing research that indicates blackberries fight cancer and help prevent heart disease. The leaves are rich in tannin and have antibacterial properties. They have been used medicinally since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. They are made into an astringent tea which is used to relieve sore throats, mouth ulcers, diarrhea and thrush.
Nutrition Facts: 3.5 ounces (100 g) of blackberries
calcium 29 mg calories 43 carbohydrates 9.61 g fat 0.49 g fiber 5.3 g folate 25 µg iron 0.62 mg magnesium 20 mg mangnese 0.9 mg niacin 0.646 mg phosphorous 22 mg potassium 162 mg protein 1.39 g riboflavin 0.026 mg thiamine 002 mg zinc 0.53 mg vitamin A 214 IU vitamin B6 0.03 mg vitamin C 21.0 mg vitamin E 1.17 mg vitamin K 19.8 µg
Broccoli (español: brocolí) (Brassica oleracea) is a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables. Broccoli may be eaten raw, but recent research suggests that gentle steaming is best for maximum health benefits. Steaming also eliminates the risk of contaminaton. Broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber, protein and Vitamin C. It also contains numerous other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. In fact, it provides a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.
Nutrition Facts: 1 cup (91 g) raw broccoli
calories 31 carbohydrates 6 g calcium 10 mg copper 10% DV fat 0.4 g fiber 2.4 g protein 2.5 g vitamin C 140% DV
When I switched to plant-based living after a lifetime of meals planned around a main course of meat, I immediately felt positive effects and found it surprisingly easy, even fun, to change my habits and explore new ways of enjoying food. Fruit and Stuff is a collection of some of the many things I have learned since I started the journey. Even if you are not ready to give up meat, you will benefit from adding more plant foods to your daily meals. I hope you’ll find something useful here. The most recent articles appear first on the Home page, and the tabs at the top of every page are for locating any article, past or present. The Glossary links to facts about plant-based foods, the Recipe tab will direct you to the recipe index, and the Resources consist of news and opinions about plant-based living.