Anti-Aging Alert: Summer’s Garden of Goodies

Summer is just around the corner. Whether you are a garden angel who loves to dig in the dirt, or a market mavin who would rather dig into a produce bin, summer presents us with a wealth of fresh produce, complete with anti-aging antioxidants!

But how much do you know about the seemingly endless benefits that fruits and vegetables have to offer? Find out by taking the “How Much Do You Know?” quiz. Take a minute or two and contemplate the following questions. Some of the answers may surprise you.

How Much Do You Know About Fruits and Vegetables?

Anti-Aging Alert: Summer's Garden of Goodies

  1. True or False? Along with strawberries, kiwi, and cantaloupe, all colored peppers are considered good sources of vitamin C.
  2.  True or False? While many people like corn, it offers little nutritional value other than fiber.
  3.  True or False? One medium apple contains more fiber than 1 medium pear.
  4.  True or False? Broccoli sprouts are higher in antioxidants than broccoli itself.
  5.  True or False? Pineapple is the only fruit containing an enzyme reputed to be beneficial for digestion.
  6.  True or False? Cooked carrots provide more nutrients than raw carrots.
  7.  True or False? Select only vegetables and fruits that are deep in color as they have the most health benefits.
  8.  True or False? According to the Food Pyramid Guide, one cup of a vegetable or fruit, regardless if it is raw or cooked, is considered a serving.
  9.  True or False? The iron in spinach is better absorbed in the presence of vitamin C.
  10.  True or False? Sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash are some of the best sources of antioxidant-rich carotenoids.


1. True. While citrus fruits are traditionally thought of as the best source for vitamin C, numerous fruits and vegetables are good sources as well. In addition to peppers, cabbage, broccoli, and even potatoes provide significant amounts of vitamin C.

2. False. In addition to fiber, corn is an excellent source of lutein, an antioxidant promoting eye health. Lutein helps guard against macular degeneration—a disease that can result in blindness and affects 7 million Americans.

3. False. While apples are a good source of fiber, pears are even better! One medium apple with skin provides 2.8 grams while a medium pear yields 4.1 grams.

4. True. With any type of sprout, make sure that the product is fresh. Thoroughly wash them prior to eating. In the past, contaminated sprouts have resulted in outbreaks of food-borne illness. Know your supplier!

5. False. While it is true that pineapple contains the enzyme bromelin, it is reputed to be beneficial for treating food allergies. Papaya, containing the enzyme papain, is said to help digestion.

6. True. It is believed that cooking the carrots helps to break down the outer structure of the cell walls, allowing more nutrients to be available to the body. (Note: Cooking is not the preferred method for all vegetables. In some instances, cooking may destroy some nutrients; hence, raw would be the better choice.)

7. This one is open to interpretation, depending on your viewpoint.Although some experts suggest that you select produce by color, I recommend you consume a wide variety, including the pale and colorless. Plants in general are excellent sources of phytonutrients, regardless of their color. (Consider the power of onions, garlic, and cauliflower, to name a few.) While the plants that are deeply colored have been identified as containing vast amounts of antioxidant compounds, it has been postulated that many phytonutrients are yet to be discovered. Hence, eating a wide variety of plants should increase the likelihood of getting a greater variety of beneficial compounds.

8. False. According to the Food Pyramid Guide, a serving of fresh fruit or vegetables is one cup. When cooked, the serving size is 1/2 cup. A serving of juice is ¾ cup.

9. True. When serving spinach, provide a source of vitamin C at the meal for optimal absorption.

10. True. They also are good sources of fiber. Pumpkin can also be added to this group. For a healthy dessert, try pumpkin custard (made with non-fat milk). You get the benefits of the pumpkin without the fat in the crust of pumpkin pie.

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