Getting all the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat can be challenging for anyone—no matter what diet you follow. Not sure where you might come up short? In a 2009 research review, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) identified important nutrients of concern to vegans and vegetarians: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine.
I was first introduced to jackfruit in southern India, where the edible orbs dangle from trees like prickly green footballs. In hot and steamy South Asia, they’re eaten fresh, cooked, and dried, in both sweet and savory preparations. In the mainland United States and other non-tropical corners of the world, the fruit is more commonly found in cans at Asian markets, where you can buy it soaked in sweet syrup or packed in salty brine. I didn’t actually try jackfruit until years later, but when I did—wow! What a revelation.
If a beta-carotene contest were held, sweet potatoes and carrots would tie for first place. But beyond that, which of these veggies wins an overall nutrition showdown? First, a bit about why beta-carotene is so great. All green leafy veggies, squashes, apricots, and even green peppers contain high levels of this provitamin. (FYI: It is called a provitamin because it converts to active vitamin A once it enters our bodies.) The more carotenoids we eat from plant foods, the stronger the shield we build around our cells to fight toxic free radicals.
Nutritional yeast is one of the condiments we put on the table at every meal, sprinkling it over every plate of pasta, homemade pizza, and even salads.