The white food choices

Garlic, one of the great white foods


White foods generally get a bad press: white bread, white pasta, white rice – refined carbohydrates, with only a minimal amount of nutrition that at best should be eaten rarely if not avoided. Eaten on a regular basis they can contribute to longer term health issues.  Yet there are white real foods that offer optimal nutrient uptake for health and well-being that should be eaten regularly.

Smart white food choices

An excellent source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre (important for digestive health and the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders) parsnip’s high fibre content also fills you up, while it can prevent the release of ghrelin (hunger hormone), so fighting off hunger pangs, that could aid with weight loss programmes or maintaining a healthy weight.

Parsnips are sweet and succulent and although higher in sugar content than carrots or turnips, they are packed with nutrients essential for health: phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, with all these compounds processing anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory functions.

Pureed parsnips are a great substitute for sugar in savoury recipes, indeed they were used as a sweetening agent before sugar cane was introduced to Europe.  Maximise health benefits of parsnips by steaming them with a drizzle of olive oil.

Tip: don’t store parsnips in the fridge, as its sugar levels rise at low temperatures, which could increase acrylamide, a cooking carcinogen produced during cooking.   


One of the most versatile real foods and widely recognised as health enhancing. Its sulphur compound, allicin, is what makes garlic a powerful health enhancer, that could help the body inhibit bacteria’s ability to grow and reproduce and lowering blood pressure.

One clove of garlic will top up your body’s need for vitamins A, B and C, while it’s also an excellent source for the minerals selenium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and iodine. The health effects of garlic are released when you chop, crush or chew the clove. Allow to stand crushed or chopped for 10 minutes before adding to cooking, or even better add garlic just before you finished cooking to preserve the allicin. Add garlic to soups, sauces for pasta and stews.

Cautionary note: If you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners consult with your doctor before including garlic in your routine nutrition.


An excellent source of vitamins C, K, folate and B6, cauliflower has health-promoting compounds not found in many other vegetables and could provide nutrient support for the body’s detox system, antioxidant system and anti-inflammatory system; chronic imbalances in any of these systems could increase the risk of cancer.

Cauliflower contains glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity, while cauliflower’s antioxidants could help lower the risk of oxidative stress in the body’s cells. Chronic oxidative stress is a risk factor in the development of certain cancers.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin K with anti-inflammatory nutrients helping regulate the body’s inflammatory response.  The high fibre content in cauliflower could also aid the digestive system.

Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, while the stem and leaves are also edible and are great in stews or soups. Eat cruciferous vegetables 4-5 times a week.

Other white real foods worthy of the white list

White onions, white cabbage, white asparagus (when in season), white radish, Jerusalem artichokes, white mushrooms, butter beans and turnips.

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          About the author

Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine and a dedicated campaigner for real food. Having researched food since 2009 she believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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