When we talk about foods, we usually appreciate them for their colors. These colors come from the natural chemical components that they contain, and these same chemicals provide different benefits to our bodies.
Foods with the brightest colors of the rainbow tend to get all the fame. Nutritionists are very fond of telling us to “Eat the rainbow”. It’s still worth reminding ourselves of the variety of fruits and vegetables that fall into the pale or white category. This variety is quite wide: bananas (after peeling), cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, pears, and more.
If we consider the color palette, we will see that white has always been a discreet color, denoting absence. But in the realm of balanced nutrition, foods of this color have much more to offer than we might think. Let’s take a look at all the properties behind 20 white-colored foods.
What is the Reason for the White Color in Foods?
According to a study conducted by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, foods with white flesh owe their color and properties to the presence of substances such as flavins. Flavins have a wide range of health benefits.
White foods are also rich in potassium, which has antibiotic, expectorant and diuretic properties. Another nutrient we find is calcium, responsible not only for the health of our bones and teeth, but also for reducing blood pressure. White foods have healthy amounts of phosphorus and magnesium, minerals that regulate the work of the heart.
All these nutrients help the body with cell renewal. They protect the cardiovascular system by controlling blood glucose and triglyceride levels, fight inflammation and infections, and improve the immune system.
The List: 20 White Foods
Although their best-known characteristic is their high potassium levels, bananas are perfect for lowering blood pressure. This characteristic is excellent for reducing cardiovascular damage. They are anti-inflammatory and contain vitamin B6. According to recent studies, they are also perfect for calming anxiety and relaxation.
There are a variety of ways to eat bananas. They make excellent smoothies, and are used in baking, and baked and fried. They are also great as a topping for oatmeal in the morning, or desserts at the end of the day.
Ripe bananas can be stored in a fridge. The skins may discolor, but the fruit will remain edible and keep fresh for longer. Otherwise, store in a cool place which is out of the sun. Don’t leave unripe bananas too close to other fruit, as this makes them ripen more quickly.
One cup of cauliflower provides almost the entire recommended daily amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, and may reduce the risk of heart disease. This bunchy vegetable is also a good source of choline, a nutrient that helps with the maintenance of the nervous system. People who consumed large amounts of choline may also develop a better memory.
In addition, this vegetable is a source of dietary fiber and contains no carbohydrates. It’s a valuable part of a balanced diet.
Cauliflower has become very fashionable lately. It has become a substitute for pizza dough, mashed potatoes, tacos, rice, and even grilled cheese. But cauliflower is more than just a substitute for your favorite carbohydrate.
Cauliflower helps with weight loss and protects against heart disease and diabetes. It also increases energy and improves skin health. Among its properties are antioxidants, fiber and vitamins C and B6.
You should store cauliflower in a hermetically sealed bag with a paper towel inside to absorb moisture. Whole cauliflower heads last four to seven days in the refrigerator while cut cauliflower pieces last four days.
Chickpeas are legumes that contain a considerable amount of zinc. Zinc plays a vital role in strengthening communication between brain cells and the hippocampus, the brain region essential in long-term memory.
Chickpeas are also champions when it comes to other minerals. They are rich in manganese (which aids in wound healing), copper (blood vessel formation and skin elasticity), phosphorus (solid bones and teeth), and magnesium (for a healthy immune system).
Chickpeas are an essential ingredient in the cuisine of many different cultures around the world. Falafel is flour made from chickpeas, and is the main component of hummus. It’s a great “bulker” for soups, stews and curries.
4. Egg Whites
While eggs don’t always make it onto a list of healthy foods, egg whites have a lot going for them. The whites high in protein, but they are low in calories, fat and cholesterol, as this is stored in the yolk. Bodybuilders and athletes, or those on a weight-reducing diet, often eat a lot of egg white.
Egg whites are good sources of riboflavin, selenium, and potassium. They also contain choline, which is good for the nervous system. The manganese and magnesium found in egg whites can protect from fatigue.
Because of their high protein/low fat content, you can eat more egg whites in a day than the recommended intake of whole eggs.
Garlic contains antioxidants that delay cell damage and protect against free radicals. This bulb is said to reduce cholesterol levels as it counters the forming of fatty deposits in the arteries. This in turn reduces blood pressure and strengthens cardiovascular health.
Garlic is good, says popular culture, and is used in a large number of dishes. Studies show that it protects against some cancers. The benefits of garlic are attributed to allicin, a compound used by nature to protect this vegetable from insects, fungi, and bacteria.
This superfood also has diuretic effects, allows blood to flow better, is anti-inflammatory and can prevent type II diabetes. It also works against intestinal parasites and has healing properties against colds and the common flu. According to a study by the American Institute of Cancer Research, garlic may even reduce the chances of developing colon and rectal cancer.
Jicama, also known as Mexican yam bean, or Mexican turnip, is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, making it perfect for people with diabetes.
It is low in sodium, fat and calories. It helps regulate cholesterol, triglycerides, and strengthens the cardiovascular system due to its high potassium content.
The phosphorus content in jicama improves kidney health and has diuretic properties. It also improves calcium assimilation, contains thiamine, manganese, magnesium, iron, among other minerals.
You can use jicama as you would other vegetables. It’s good in a stir fry, in relish, in salads, and more.
The bacteria that this fermented milk develops are very healthy, especially for the immune system, because they reduce inflammation and increase antioxidant activity.
Like yogurt, kefir is considered a probiotic as it provides beneficial live microorganisms to the intestinal flora. This reduces the risk of hypertension, and promotes gut health. It has about the same amount of protein as milk, but contains less lactose.
Kefir reduces the levels of endotoxins, harmful substances that contribute to inflammation in the body. In addition to restoring the balance of four bacteria in the gut, scientists have found that it also improves the presence of an enzyme in the brain, essential for good functioning of the nervous system.
If you don’t like the taste of a drink made from kefir, you can use it in delicious recipes instead. Try it in smoothies, baking, salad dressings, and ice cream.
Milk is the “varnish of the bones”, which it protects with calcium. Children should drink three to four units of milk every day so they develop strong bones and healthy teeth.
The daily consumption of milk is essential in any person’s diet since it is a complete food. It provides calcium that is easily absorbed into the body. It’s also an important source of milk proteins including amino acids, vitamins (A, D, and B complex), and minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus).
It is a powerful energy source since lactose is the sugar in milk and behaves as a carbohydrate. This generates energy and has a beneficial effect on the intestinal absorption of calcium and magnesium. Lactose also acts as a prebiotic contributing to the growth of beneficial microorganisms. A prebiotic is food for good gut bacteria.
The high level of calcium in milk protects against diseases such as osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease.
It also increases muscle mass. Milk provides carbohydrates, through lactose and good quality proteins. Drinking milk after exercise provides the necessary nutrients for muscle regeneration and mass muscle development.
Mushrooms are fungi that are nutritious and taste good too! White mushrooms contain vitamins B2 and B3, so they provide energy. According to a report published in the Journal of Nutrition Magazine, white mushrooms boost white blood cell levels, protecting the immune system. They are rich in minerals such as calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and sodium.
These are minerals that help control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and have antioxidant properties. Mushrooms have large amounts of fiber, so they improve gut health and prevent colon cancer and gastric diseases.
There’s something very attractive about a “rainbow salad” that shows off some white mushrooms as a contrast to the color.
Oats are a cereal with a very high fiber content and have one of the highest percentages of proteins found in cereals. Oats are also rich in B vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, vitamin E, zinc and silicon.
Oats provide numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They also contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, substances such as lecithin, phytosterols, avenasterol or beta-sitosterol that help lower cholesterol.
Oats contribute to stabilizing blood sugar and protect against colon, breast, or prostate cancer. They also strengthen the nervous system, promotes the ability to concentrate and are useful in cases of gastritis, constipation and flatulence.
This vegetable can help prevent cancer, protect the heart, reduce cholesterol, prevent colds and flu, strengthen defenses and also help treat high blood pressure. It’s undoubtedly healthy, and it can be included when preparing many different types of meal. It is perfect for regularizing digestive functions. It is a diuretic and works as a depurative.
Onions make you cry and give you bad breath, but they provide an excellent range of health benefits. They may prevent bone density loss. In addition, they are high in quercetin, a plant compound associated with blood pressure control, and a fat-soluble plant pigment that helps protect vision.
They also contain a compound called allicin, the most common phytochemical component in onions. This substance has antimicrobial activity and has been associated with favorable effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Keep in mind that allicin is only produced when the onion is raw, so it is advisable to consume it this way to maintain its properties.
Parsnips are one of the vegetables with the highest content of soluble fiber. This is the type of fiber that helps reduce the levels of good and “bad” cholesterol. It is also rich in potassium and folate (vitamin B). Both minerals protect the heart by regulating blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
This vegetable has vitamins B, C, E and K. It also contains minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. It is rich in omega 3, omega 6, carbohydrates and vegetable protein.
Because it is easily digested, it is ideal for people with gastrointestinal problems, it is used to soothe stomach pain and gas. It also has diuretic properties and helps the kidneys to function properly. Its consumption is recommended during pregnancy and lactation, due to its high levels of folic acid.
Pears are a delicious and slow-ripening fruit. They are one of the few fruits that only ripen after they have been extracted from the tree.
Pears help regulate cholesterol levels and improve digestion. They also contain a large amount of copper, fiber, potassium, and vitamins K and C.
Pears contain anthocyanins which are thought to protect against pancreatic cancer. Cinnamic acid is found in pears and also in cinnamon bark (hence the name). Studies show that cinnamic acid has various health benefits and is linked to a reduced chance of developing cancerous tumors.
Popcorn is a favorite with people who are watching their weight. It is low in calories and is an excellent source of fiber, which plays a role in reducing cholesterol levels and controlling blood sugar levels. Popcorn also contains exceptionally high amounts of polyphenols: concentrated chemicals that help fight cancer.
The husk, the part of the popcorn that stays in your teeth, has the highest concentration of fiber and polyphenols. Remember to keep a toothpick handy, and go easy on the butter and salt.
Carbohydrates usually give food a bad reputation, and that is the case with potatoes. However, they are highly nutritious, and among their beneficial components, are vitamin B6, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
This is a versatile food as it can be prepared in many ways: roast, mashed, fried, boiled, and more. Avoid adding extra ingredients in recipes, such as cream or butter, and season them instead with healthier options such as pepper and olive oil.
Potatoes are high in vitamins and antioxidants, as well as energy, and low in fat. They are a good source of fiber.
The ideal place to store them is a ventilated bag in a dry and cool place.
Salt is one of the world’s oldest foods. Scientists claim that both primitive man and animals instinctively licked rocks for their taste and nutritional benefits.
It prevents iodine deficiency, an ailment school children and pregnant women can suffer from. Salt can prevent stunted growth and enhance intellectual development.
In addition to enhancing the flavor of food, it provides essential properties for the proper functioning of the body. It stimulates the appetite and promotes the rapid elimination of liquids, awakening a need for energy in the body that is satisfied with food. Salt also balances fluid levels and helps the body stay hydrated. If the amount of salt is excessive, the sensation of thirst will increase and motivate water consumption.
Finally, salt supports the nervous system. Adequate salt intake is essential for muscle relaxation and also for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
17. White Asparagus
The low carbohydrate content of white asparagus makes it suitable for those on weight-loss diets and for people with diabetes. It contains substances to combat constipation and quality nutrients such as flavonoids.
Rutin, a substance in asparagus, gives it anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, improves circulation, reduces hypertension, and protects the liver. It also contains zeaxanthin, which protects the retina, and quercetin, preventing cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, and hypertension.
Asparagus also have beta-carotenes, which have antioxidant properties and protect against some cancers —lung, mouth, and stomach — and inhibits the growth of cancer cells. They also prevent heart disease and strengthen the immune system.
This vegetable is also rich in vitamins A and C. And there’s more. Thiamine protects the nervous system; niacin regulates metabolic, circulatory and muscular activities; and riboflavin, which combats stress. They also contain a high percentage of amino acids: among them are glutaminic acid and cysteine. Together these form a powerful antioxidant, glutathione, which helps reduce free radical damage and reinforces vitamins E and C.
18. White Rice
Rice is one of the main accompaniments in the preparation of many recipes. It’s usually served with meat, chicken or fish and it has many health benefits. Although brown rice is better nutritionally, white rice can still offer some health benefits.
It is an excellent source of energy. Rice is a cereal that is composed of starches which makes it a powerful source of energy with low levels of fat. It is recommended for people who have high physical activity.
It is rich in nutrients. A serving of rice provides B vitamins, which are necessary for the proper functioning of our body.
It has high iron content and provides high levels of water. Due to its high iron concentration, rice consumption is a good option for pregnant women, as it will help prevent diseases such as anemia. Because it is a grain that absorbs water during cooking, rice provides good hydration to the body.
19. White Tea
White tea is not strictly white! It is a pale-yellow color, but it has made it onto this list because it has so many benefits that it would be a shame not to flag it up. White tea is minimally processed, retaining many health advantages over other teas. It is harvested very early, when tea buds still have their white hairs, and that is where its name originates.
White tea is rich in antioxidants, micronutrients and polyphenols. These substances are beneficial for our bodies, as they help strengthen the immune system and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Research published in Nutrition and Metabolism proves that white tea, being less processed, inhibits the creation of fat cells and helps burn fat.
It also lowers cholesterol levels, is good for fighting dental plaque and preventing tooth decay. Finally, it contains catechins, which, in addition to reducing cortisol, are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
White tea often contains lower caffeine than other teas, but if you are concerned about your caffeine intake, you should check out the brand you buy as caffeine levels in white tea can vary.
Yogurt is one of the best sources of calcium, known for its bone-strengthening properties. In addition, this white food contains a high amount of protein and is rich in potassium, which helps maintain blood pressure.
Yogurt is also rich in probiotics, beneficial bacteria that strengthen the immune system and are very important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Probiotics are especially useful in restoring balance in gut health after illness, or after taking antibiotics.
A Harvard School of Public Health study claims that long-term consumption of plain, unsweetened yogurt helps with weight loss.
Many yogurt products contain added sugars. To obtain the best benefit it is best eaten plain, or with a healthy addition, such as fruit, spice or even some nuts to add flavor.