50 Best Plants on the Planet

Eat these natural superfoods to become a stranger to your doctor. Photo: Angie Cao

LOS ANGELES, Calif. March, 2013—How can you get the most bang for your nutritional buck? Cathy Thomas and the organic produce company, Melissa’s World Produce, have done the homework for you in this new guide to the 50 most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, 50 Best Plants on the Planet: The Most Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables, in 150 Delicious Recipes. The book is part encyclopedia and part cookbook. Each ingredient comes with three recipes, quick prep ideas and nutritional information.  Photographer Angie Cao captures the colorful beauty of the produce and products of the recipes.

Thomas, 20-year veteran food columnist at the Orange County Register, has written about food, recipes, trends and chefs. She has also studied and cooked with chefs in Orange County and beyond, all of which she tapped into to create the recipes for this book. It is her third written for Melissa’s World Variety Produce, the LA-Based company that is the nation’s largest distributor of specialty and organic produce. Her previous titles are Melissa’s Great Book of Produce published in 2006, and Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce in 2010.

Cathy Thomas

Cathy Thomas


While some of the ingredients: gooseberries, red currants, and chrysanthemum leaves, are hard to find, most—kiwis, asparagus, cabbage—are available everywhere. Don’t miss recipes for Salmon and “Noodle” (asparagus) Salad, Pan-caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Dried Cherries, and Cactus Pear Sorbet.

While the author’s top five most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables are derived in various ways experts often rely on information from www.nutritiondata.com

The author’s list includes some of the usual suspects and some lesser-known candidates.

1 - asparagus

2 - beet greens

3 - gai lan, aka Chinese broccoli

4 - cilantro

5 - rapini


1 - blackberry

2 - cantaloupe

3 - raspberry

4 - gooseberry

5 - guava

The 50 best plants are actually all vegetables. However, the book deliberately left out 15, to allow room for the top fruits, thus making the work more appetizing.

One superfood is the cactus leaf or nopal.  These contain anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory chemicals that fight cancer and vascular disease. The cactus also has isorhamnetin and kaempferol, phytochemicals to fight osteoporosis.

Another star is endive. Low in calories, high in vitamins A, C and E both the curly and Belgian leaves protect cells from damage and preserve skin health. Their large amounts of iron and calcium keep blood oxygenated and bones strong.

Like to know which vegetable lowers blood pressure? Boosts your metabolism? Add protein and fiber to your diet? Find all this and more in the pages of this book.

This cookbook is made available exclusively in a hardbound edition from Melissa’s Produce and can be ordered at 1.800.588.0151 or www.melissas.com for $35.00.  By April 2013, the cookbook will be nationally distributed to all major booksellers in the U.S. in a softbound edition and retail at $30.00.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Linda Mensinga

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer. Researching restaurants and hotels, she interviews the best and brightest chefs, not necessarily the most famous, to learn their secrets and recipes. Their talent and dedication never cease to inspire her. 

Mrs. Mensinga is happily food obsessed and fortunate enough to be married to a chef. 

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