White foods are often associated with refined carbohydrates and processed foods, which gives them quite a bad wrap. However, some naturally white foods can help boost your health and wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll be going over 13 of the best foods to include in your diet, including their nutrients and health benefits.
I’ll also share some practical tips to help you make use of these foods when preparing your dishes.
Why Are White Foods White?
The characteristic color or, rather, lack of color in white foods is due to various reasons often rooted in their genetic makeup and biochemical composition.
Genetically colorful fruits and vegetables have a range of pigments that give them their various colors. For example, red, orange, and yellow foods often contain pigments like carotenoids and anthocyanins. White foods do not have these pigments. Instead, they contain compounds called anthoxanthins.
These compounds are water-soluble pigments whose color may vary from white or colorless to creamy to yellow.
Onions and cauliflower are some white foods containing high levels of anthoxanthins.
White Foods Nutrition Facts
While nutrients may vary from one food to the other, here are the common nutrients in white foods:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Fatty Acids
- Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
- Soluble Fiber
- Insoluble Fiber
30 Healthy White Foods and Their Health Benefits
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, along with brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, and kale.
It’s a good source of vitamin C, with one cup of chopped cauliflower offering about 85% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
This makes it a great choice for boosting the immune system, among other vitamin C benefits.
It’s also a great source of dietary fiber, an essential nutrient for supporting healthy digestion and preventing various digestive problems.
Cauliflower also stands out for its cancer-fighting properties, thanks to the sulforaphane it contains.
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-containing compound that offers significant health benefits, including inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
This white vegetable also contributes to healthy bones with its vitamin K content.
To add cauliflower to your diet, try roasting florets with olive oil and your favorite seasonings for a delicious and healthy side dish.
You can also make cauliflower rice or mash it as a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes or blend it into a creamy soup for a nutritious and comforting meal.
The next food on our list is garlic, commonly used to savor dishes due to its distinctive aroma and flavor. These characteristics are due to the presence of its active compound, allicin.
But more than a culinary delight, allicin can offer numerous health benefits. For one, it’s a heart-healthy superstar as it has been shown to lower blood pressure. This can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular conditions.
Garlic is also associated with improved cholesterol levels. In fact, a study found that one clove of garlic per day lowers cholesterol levels by approximately 10%.
Beyond its heart benefits, garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a natural ally against infections.
Incorporate garlic into your diet by sautéing it in olive oil as a fragrant base for a wide range of savory dishes, from pasta sauces to vegetable stir-fries.
Alternatively, roast whole garlic cloves to create a rich, mellow flavor that can be spread on bread or mixed into mashed potatoes for a delicious twist on traditional recipes.
3. White onions
Onions are nutrient-dense foods that come in various colors, including red, yellow, and white.
White onions are a culinary staple that can offer a wide range of benefits alongside their distinctive flavor.
They are a good source of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that can boost the immune system, guard against infections, and support skin health.
It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, which aids digestion and promotes a sense of fullness, potentially assisting in weight management.
Also, white onions contain a type of fiber called prebiotic that helps feed the beneficial gut bacteria.
These onions also contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to the prevention of chronic diseases.
Add white onions as a flavorful base for soups, stews, and stir-fries.
You can also enjoy their sharp and tangy taste by pickling them as a zesty condiment for sandwiches, tacos, or salads, enhancing the overall flavor of your meals.
Mushrooms, including varieties like white button mushrooms, are a source of umami flavor and numerous health benefits.
Mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants like beta-glucan, that protect the body from oxidative stress.
Beta-glucans can also enhance the immune system activity, boosting your overall health.
Incorporate mushrooms into your diet by sautéing them with garlic and herbs as a flavorful topping for grilled vegetables or as a side dish.
They also make a fantastic addition to stir-fries and salads, lending an umami-rich depth of flavor to your dishes.
5. Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans are the creamy white beans popular in Italian cuisine.
They are packed with plant-based protein and fiber and can help promote satiety and promote weight loss.
Also, these beans are a good source of potassium, which supports heart health by regulating blood pressure.
Additionally, cannellini beans contain folate, contributing to overall wellbeing.
Add Cannellini beans to your diet by tossing them in salads or mixing them into pasta dishes for an extra dose of plant-based protein and fiber.
You can also use them in soups or stews, where their creamy texture and mild flavor make a delightful addition to hearty, comforting meals.
Made from soybeans, tofu is a versatile plant-based source of protein with a mild and adaptable taste.
It’s rich in essential amino acids, like leucine, lysine, tryptophan, and valine, that offer various bodily benefits.
Tofu is also a source of iron, calcium, and magnesium, which contribute to overall health.
Additionally, it contains phytoestrogens, which may provide various health benefits, including supporting bone health and menopausal symptoms.
Incorporate tofu into your diet by slicing it into thin strips and adding it to stir-fries with a variety of colorful vegetables for a protein-packed and plant-based meal.
You can also blend tofu with fruits for a creamy and healthy dessert or smoothie that’s rich in protein and other essential nutrients.
Turnips are another white food with an array of nutrients while being low in calories.
It’s a good source of vitamin C, providing about 30% per cup (130 grams).
Turnips are also rich in fiber, supporting digestive health and providing a feeling of fullness.
Furthermore, they contain minerals like potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, and manganese, which is essential for bone health.
To incorporate turnips into your diet, try roasting them alongside other root vegetables.
You can also mash them as a nutritious alternative to mashed potatoes or add them to hearty soups and stews for a satisfying and nutritious twist on classic recipes.
Parsnips, often described as sweeter like carrots but with a nutty and earthy undertone, offer a unique flavor and a range of nutrients.
Like most white foods, they’re high in fiber, which aids in digestion and provides a feeling of satiety.
Parsnips are also a good source of vitamin C.
Additionally, they contain folate, a crucial nutrient for early pregnancy as it can help prevent neurological birth defects.
Folate also promotes a healthy heart, relieves depression, and can lower the risk of colon cancer.
To add parsnips to your diet, consider roasting them with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices for a flavorful side dish.
Alternatively, you can mash or include them in stews and soups, where their slightly sweet and nutty flavor enhances the overall taste of the dish.
Coconut, often called the “tree of life,” is a tropical treasure of health benefits.
One of its standout features is the presence of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of healthy fat that offers various advantages. MCTs are rapidly absorbed and metabolized, making them a quick energy source and potentially supporting weight management.
They have also been linked to improved brain function, as they can provide an alternative energy source for the brain, potentially benefiting individuals with certain neurological conditions.
Moreover, coconut’s dietary fiber aids digestion and contributes to a sense of fullness, making it a valuable addition to a weight-conscious diet.
Moreover, coconut contains essential vitamins and minerals that support skin hydration and repair, which is why it’s often used in skincare and hair care products.
Additionally, its consumption can improve heart health by increasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol, supporting cardiovascular wellbeing. With its versatility in the kitchen and a wide range of culinary uses, coconut is not only a delightful addition to various dishes but also a natural way to boost overall health.
Potatoes often get a bad rap due to their high carbohydrate content, but they have their share of nutritional benefits.
One medium-sized white potato provides a significant amount of vitamin C, supporting your skin health and immune system.
They also contain potassium, a mineral essential for regulating blood pressure and maintaining proper muscle and nerve function.
It’s essential to enjoy potatoes in moderation and prepare them in a healthy manner.
Baking or boiling potatoes with the skin on preserves their fiber content and nutrients.
Avoid excessive frying or loading them with high-calorie toppings.
When prepared mindfully, potatoes can be a satisfying and nutritious part of your diet.
These creamy white fruits are a fantastic source of potassium, which, as mentioned, is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and supporting heart function.
They are also packed with vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and promotes skin health.
Additionally, bananas are rich in dietary fiber, aiding digestion, among other thing.
Furthermore, bananas offer a quick and natural energy boost, thanks to their high carbohydrate content.
This makes them a convenient, portable snack, perfect for refueling during physical activities.
Their natural sugars provide an instant energy kick, making them an excellent choice for a pre- or post-workout snack.
Incorporating bananas into your diet is easy and versatile. Enjoy them as a quick and nutritious on-the-go snack, or slice them into your morning cereal or oatmeal for a natural sweetener.
Bananas also make a delightful addition to smoothies, providing a creamy texture and natural sweetness, especially when blended with yogurt and berries.
Lastly, get creative by using mashed bananas as a healthy replacement for sugar in baking, adding moisture and natural sweetness to recipes like muffins, pancakes, and even homemade banana bread.
12. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are a good source of healthy fats, like polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
They are also rich in essential minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium, which support bone health and muscle function.
Additionally, sesame seeds contain antioxidants and vitamin E, contributing to overall wellbeing.
To include them in your diet, sprinkle them over salads, stir-fries, or yogurt, or incorporate them into homemade energy bars and tahini sauce.
The last item on our list is cashews. Like sesame, they are loaded with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, which is essential for bone health and nerve function, and zinc, crucial for immune support.
Incorporate cashews into your diet by enjoying them as a convenient and satisfying snack, blending them into creamy sauces, or using them in both sweet and savory dishes, from desserts to stir-fries.
These 13 healthy white foods offer a compelling array of nutrients and benefits that should not be overlooked in a well-rounded diet.
From the cancer-fighting potential of cauliflower to the heart-healthy properties of garlic and the gut-supporting attributes of onions, each of these foods carries its unique advantages.
So their lack of color should not overshadow their nutritional profiles.
By incorporating white foods like mushrooms, cannellini beans, and tofu, you can diversify your meals and introduce a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to your overall health and well-being.
So, embrace the goodness that lies within these white foods and make them a delicious and nutritious part of your everyday eating habits.
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