It's easy to get into a dietary rut, automatically buying the same fruits and veggies every time you shop. But mixing it up is good for your health. The New York Times just re-posted a list from 2008 of nutritionist Jonny Bowden's 11 favorite foods that are easy to find, but that consumers often don't pick up. Many of the veggies you can purchase at your local farmer's market (cabbage, for instance, is in season now). Oh, and since we're talking about produce: Environmental Working Group measured pesticides in fruits and veggies and developed a handy shopping guide (now available as an iPhone app) that tells you which to buy organic, and which conventionally-grown ones are okay if organic isn't available.
From The New York Times:
1. Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
2. Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
3. Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
4. Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
5. Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it.
6. Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
7. Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
See the rest of the list here.