Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: 5 healthy produce items you've probably never heard of

Posted at 7:23 AM, Mar 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 11:16:51-04

SOUTHWEST FLA. — There are five incredibly healthy produce items you've probably never heard of that you should consider putting on your grocery list.

“You ever go to a grocery store and you'll look at something, and look like what is that?" Coach Nino Magaddino, the owner of Max Flex Fitness, said. "You just have to put yourself out there.”

Fox 4 went to Sprouts Farmer's Market in Cape Coral, which sold all five unique produce items Magaddino recommends trying:

  • Gooseberries
  • Kohlrabi
  • Purple sweet potato
  • Pummelo
  • Daikon radish

Casey Humber, the Store Director at Sprouts, said these are all items their customers buy regularly. The Produce Manager, Patrik Kilary, said they get new produce in daily.
Maggadino said if you have a sweet tooth, you should try gooseberries.

“They call it nature's sweet tart," Magaddino said. “Sometimes you have that craving, or that sweet craving. And then you know that there's cookies in there or something. But if you want to grab something sweet, gooseberries would be great."

Magaddino said gooseberries packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants.

"Which help obviously with cold season," he said.

He said getting these nutrients through whole foods like gooseberries is better than through a multivitamin.

“They're crunchy. They're sweet. They have a really good texture, and they're just different. It's a different flavor profile that you're adding to your nutrition regimen,” Magaddino said.

He also said gooseberries help lower blood pressure and are good for your bone health.

He said another produce item to try if you're wanting to branch out is Kohlrabi.

“If you ever look where the root vegetables are, and you see this green bulb that’s got a leaf on it, that's what a kohlrabi is," Magaddino said.

It's a root vegetable he said is a good substitute for broccoli.

"A lot tastier, too," he said. "They're great if you roast them, peel them, dice them, maybe put a little olive oil, salt and pepper on there.”

He said they're high in Vitamin C, Potassium, fiber, and protein.

“A lot of our seniors are deficient in potassium and magnesium and all these minerals. So I think by eating different types of vegetables, you can get a lot a lot of the nutrients like potassium, magnesium, electrolytes as well," he said.

Magaddino also recommends trying Japanese purple sweet potatoes.

"Purple sweet potatoes are really packed with antioxidants," he said.

Blue Zones are parts of the world where people live the longest.

“If you ever look at any type of Blue Zones recipes, Japanese sweet potato is the highest-rated vegetable that's part of Blue Zones," he said.

They're a staple in Okinawa, Japan. Magaddino said they have four times the recommended daily value of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese and copper.

“It's just a great variation than just having a regular sweet potato or a baked potato, or even fries. So for me, I chop them up and I put them in my air fryer. They're delicious. You don't need to add anything to them. Salt, pepper," he said.

They have more of an earthy taste. He said you can also mash them and add coconut milk and a little salt to wow your family next time you're at the dinner table.

“It's kind of cool when you put something purple on your table and they're like, 'What is that?' And then people taste them and they're like, 'Wow, that's amazing,'” he said.

If you're looking for a new citrus to try, Magaddino recommends Pummelo.

“If you ever go in a grocery store and look for a grapefruit but you see a grapefruit that's like three or four times the size of a grapefruit? That's pummelo," he said.

The rind of the pummelo is a bit tougher than other citrus.

"They're like having a ruby red grapefruit. They’re a little bit sweeter. They're great in Vitamin C, Vitamin A. They're just they're just delicious," he said.

He also said they have a high protein value and are affordable. You can eat them on their own, or toss pummelo in a salad. You can also use the juice as salad dressing.

Magaddino also recommends trying daikon radish; a vegetable of Asian influence. He said they're milder and sweeter than radishes, and more tender.

“Daikon radish have good Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and they're great to kind of use in salads," he said.

Just add olive oil and rice wine vinegar. He said they're also high in potassium and magnesium, and are good for stomach health.

“These are the nutrients that sometimes, we talk about processed foods or even minimally processed foods, they're taking a lot of those nutrients out of there. So it doesn't really take a whole lot to prepare of these foods. They're well worth it," he said.

Max Flex Fitness works with the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, a Your Healthy Family partner, to help its patients with exercise.