Eat a Rainbow of White Food
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
A healthy heart, lowering the risk of some cancers and easing inflammation.
Why Should I Eat Them?
White isn’t exactly a colour of the rainbow, but white foods still contain important phytochemicals called anthoxanthins (or flavonols). One of the most common anthoxanthins is quercetin, which is found in good amounts in onions and shallots. Research shows that quercetin may lower the risk of heart disease and block the release of histamine, helping to ease the symptoms of allergies like hay fever. Plus, it’s thought to inhibit the enzymes that generate substances such as prostaglandins, which cause inflammation and the resulting pain and so may help to reduce the pain and swelling associated with inflammatory conditions like osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Garlic contains an antioxidant called allicin that has been found to act as a natural antibiotic and may help to reduce blood pressure.
According to the National Cancer Institute, many studies have provided evidence that the benefits of onions and garlic come from their sulphur compounds which give them their characteristic pungent smell. These compounds in onions and garlic may help to lower the risk of cancer.
In fact, of 37 studies in humans, 28 showed that garlic had some cancer preventive effect. However, all the available information comes from observational studies rather than clinical trials and most experts agree more research needs to be done before any definite conclusions can be drawn about the benefits of garlic and onions.
How To Eat More White Food...
Add onions and garlic to stir fries, pasta dishes, stews, casseroles and curries
Make your own onion and garlic dip using reduced-fat crème fraiche.
Try roasting onions in a little olive oil and serve them as a vegetable accompaniment.
Add finely chopped onion to tuna, egg or grated reduced-fat cheese for tasty potato toppings or sandwich fillings.
Serve salads with pickled onions.
To find out more:
It’s easy to get white food into your diet with the help of WLR. Use the WLR Recipe Database to cook up some delicious recipes and add them to your WLR Food Diary to track your calorie progress. Try it free for 24 hours.