A Vitamin a nutrient needed for healthy skin - it helps maintain the epithelial tissues that make up the skin’s surface, eyesight - inadequate intake can lead to poor vision in dim light and possibly age-related macular degeneration, and immune function - vital for development of immune cells. Top sources include sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, pink and red grapefruit,spinach and kale.

Acorn Squash

A variety of winter squash, acorn squash is so named for its nut-like shape. A 1/2-cup serving of baked acorn squash (103g) is a good source of heart-healthy nutrients such as fiber, magnesium,potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as manganese and thiamin. Acorn squash is also an excellent food for athletes, providing 20% of daily thiamin, low levels of which may impair sports performance. Choose a dark green acorn squash (with up to one-half the squash yellow-orange) that is firm, smooth-skinned and heavy for its size. It's wonderful stuffed or pureed in a soup. One-half cup baked contains only 57 calories.


Anthocyanins are phytochemicals that give some fruits and vegetables their red, blue and purple colors. According to preliminary research, anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, heart healthy, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenicproperties. Top sources of anthocyanins include cherries,pomegranate, plums, red cabbage, grapes, apples, and most berries.


As their name suggests, antioxidants combat the oxidation - the rust, if you will - of our cells. Fruit and vegetables are some of the best sources of antioxidant vitamins A, C & E, which can help repair, prevent or limit oxidative damage to our cells caused by free radicals. In addition to dietary antioxidant vitamins, our bodies make others, including glutathione, lipoic acid and melatonin.

Antioxidants take a nosedive after overindulgent meals, but fruit for dessert helps to undo the damage. In contrast, an American Heart Association review of studies on antioxidant supplements found  that they are largely ineffective in preventing heart disease.

The USDA ranks foods according to their antioxidant capacity and publishes an antioxidant list. Included areblueberries, cranberries,blackberries, raspberries, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts,cabbage, raisins, strawberries,  cauliflower, plums,  dates, apples,goji berries. black beans, spinach and prunes.


Butheina Alnounou