This is an excerpt from our recent Veggie Tales "The League of Incredible Vegetables" radio show. Jaimie Proctor, R.D., our Nutrition and Education Manager wrote it. Thought is was so good, decided to share her words of wisdom with you. If you want to listen to the whole interview with Larry the Cucumber (hilarious!) and Veggie Tales founder, Mike Nawrocki, please listen Tuesday 9am EST on W4WN radio. Or, look for Family Food Experts radio on iTunes.
CUCUMBER: (Larryboy aka Larry the Cucumber)
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘cool as a cucumber’ Well, cucumbers could have the super hero ability to stay cool under pressure. They truly have a cool and refreshing taste – try adding a few slices to your drinking water or blending some with honeydew melon and you’ll see what I mean. Their high water content plus the electrolytes they contain, make them great for hydration and also for your heart and muscles. Cucumbers also provide vitamin C and silicon important for healthy skin and strong nails and bones.
TOMATOES: (Thingamabob aka Bob the Tomato)
Next are lightning fast tomatoes! Their speed comes from potassium, a mineral needed for muscle contraction. Of course, when you move really fast your heart rate and breathing rate also increase. The lycopene in tomatoes acts as an antioxidant to protect your heart and lungs. And in case you didn’t know, the lycopene content of tomatoes actually increases when tomatoes are cooked!
ASPARAGUS: (Ricochet aka Junior Asparagus)
The next Super Hero veggie is asparagus, which has the power to create a protective shield like a force field. This shield is made of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, which protect the body from free-radical damage. And asparagus also contains glutathione, one of the body’s most powerful antioxidant defenders. In fact, glutathione can help get rid of toxins that may have slipped through that protective shield.
RHUBARB: (Vogue aka Petunia Rhubarb)
Rhubarb has the power of disguise. If you have ever tasted raw rhubarb then you know it is quite tart! That’s why it is often combined with fruit such as strawberries and cooked into sauces or pies. With a little sweetness from fruit and some added fruit juice or sugar, you may just think rhubarb is a fruit!
SQUASH: (S-CAPE aka Mister Lunt, a guord)
There are so many kinds of squash. Winter squash varieties such as butternut or acorn squash are very popular this time of year. And you may not know this, but they have super night vision (without any special goggles!) You can tell by their deep yellow and orange colors that they are some of the best sources of alpha- and beta-carotene, which our bodies turn into active vitamin A. Vitamin A is very important for vision, especially at night or in low light situations. And winter squash are also a good source of protective vitamin C.
BROCCOLI: Super power: Bones of steel. Broccoli ounce for ounce has as much calcium as milk! Plus broccoli supplies a number of minerals important for bone health such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. The vitamin C in broccoli is needed to form collagen, a component of bone (and connective tissue).
BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Super power: they are smart and have super fast reflexes. They contain choline and folate important for development of the brain and nervous system. And they are also a good source of B vitamins, copper, manganese, and potassium needed for nerve signaling.
PEAS: Super power: super strength. They supply iron and B vitamins for blood supply and delivering oxygen to muscles. And they also contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium needed for muscle contraction.
SPINACH & Dark leafy greens: Dark leafy greens are packed FULL of nutrients and could probably have all of the super powers listed above. But they could also have x-ray vision and a heightened sense of smell and hearing. Their high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin protect your eyes, especially the retina, by absorbing certain types of light. These carotenoids are also associated with a lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Dark leafy greens are also a great source of B vitamins, manganese, and copper for a healthy nervous system – to send signals from the eyes, ears, and nose to the brain. And all of the antioxidants in dark leafy greens protect the ears, nose, and nerves from damage due to free radicals.