If broccoli and spinach are the rock stars of the vegetable world, then celery and lettuce are the stage-hands, working hard out of the limelight. For years we've dismissed these pale staples as nutritionally barren, focusing our attention on their brighter, more colourful kin. Today we know better.
"We've done a disservice to a lot of common vegetables," says Dr Liz Applegate, nutritionist and author of Eat Smart, Play Hard. "All vegetables have nutritional value. And every vegetable contains potent chemicals that help it survive. When you eat them, you get those chemicals. We're always discovering new phytochemicals that may fight cancer and heart disease, so it's wise to eat a large variety of vegetables every day."
It's always been An ingredient that turns up the flavour volume in any dish that it's added to.
It's also "One of the richest sources of flavonoids in the human diet," according to researchers at Cornell University in the US. Flavonoids are plant compounds that fight bacteria, viruses and inflammation, and help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
It's always been A buttery, salty barbeque favourite and a reason to buy kitsch and colourful corn-on-the-cob holders.
It's also Rich in fibre as well as the B vitamins thiamin and folate. Each kernel is also brimming with ferulic acid, a known cancer-fighting phytochemical. Research shows the longer you cook it, the more potent it becomes, so fire up the coals and let it roast.
It's always been A spicy garnish that often goes uneaten, along with the decorative parsley on your plate.
It's also Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which means it has cancer-protective properties. It's also an excellent source of vitamin C and heart-healthy potassium and folate, plus the trace mineral molybdenum, which assists energy production in your cells.
It's always been An inexpensive way for restaurants and takeaway joints to offer a green salad with every meal.
It's also A source of vitamin K (one 75g serving provides up to 20 per cent of your daily needs), which helps to build new bone. A study of women aged 38 to 74, revealed that those who ate lettuce once or twice a day had a 45 per cent lower risk of hip fracture than those who ate lettuce one or fewer times per week.
They've always been Fungi that double up as a pizza topping and accompany a traditional fry-up.
They're also A good source of B vitamins that help convert food into energy. Mushrooms are also rich in the antioxidant selenium, and contain potent anti-tumour compounds called triterpenoids. Little wonder mushrooms have long been revered for their medicinal properties.
It's always been A low-calorie weight-loss standby, and a useful stick for scooping up peanut butter.
It's also A good source of energy-converting B vitamins such as riboflavin, B6 and pantothenic acid, as well as bone-building calcium and magnesium. It's also a great source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins A and C, folate and potassium, and blood- and bone-preserving vitamin K.
It's always been A refreshing addition to a summer salad and a cool treat for tired eyes.
It's also A good source of caffeic acid, which helps soothe skin irritation, and silica, an essential building block of connective tissue such as muscle, tendons, ligaments and bone. The flesh contains vitamin C, and the skin is rich in potassium and magnesium.