“Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, and variety is as important as quantity. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. Eat plenty every day”.
Fruit and vegetables should be an essential part of your daily diet. They are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy. They can also help protect against some diseases.
Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. These include vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folic acid. Folic acid may reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a substance that may be a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check. Eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables may even promote weight loss. Their low glycemic loads prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger.
Vegetables, fruits, and Cardiovascular disease
There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more meals a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.
While all fruits and vegetables likely contributed to this benefit, green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens, were most strongly associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices) also made significant contributions.
Families of Fruit and Veggies
At least nine different families of fruits and vegetables exist, each with potentially hundreds of different plant compounds that are beneficial to health. Eat a variety of types and colors of produce to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. This not only ensures greater diversity of beneficial plant chemicals but also creates eye-appealing meals.
Fruits and vegetables are low in fat, salt, and sugar. They are a good source of dietary fiber. As part of a well-balanced, regular diet and a healthy, active lifestyle, a high intake of fruit and vegetables can help you to:
- Reduce obesity and maintain a healthy weight
- Lower your cholesterol
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Lower the risk of stroke
Types of fruit
The fruit is the sweet, fleshy, edible part of a plant. It generally contains seeds. Fruits are usually eaten raw, although some varieties can be cooked. They come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and flavors. Common types of fruits that are readily available include:
- Apples and pears
- Citrus – oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, and limes
- Stone fruit – nectarines, apricots, peaches, and plums
- Tropical and exotic – bananas and mangoes
- Berries – Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, and passionfruit
- Melons – watermelons, rockmelons, and honeydew melons
- Tomatoes and avocados.
Types of vegetables
Vegetables are available in many varieties and can be classified into biological groups or ‘families,’ including:
- Leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silverbeet
- Cruciferous – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
- Marrow – pumpkin, cucumber, and zucchini
- Root – potato, sweet potato, and yam
- Edible plant stem – celery and asparagus
- Allium – onion, garlic, and shallot.
Legumes or pulses contain especially valuable nutrients. Legumes need to be cooked before they are eaten – this improves their nutritional quality, aids digestion, and eliminates any harmful toxins. Legumes come in many forms including:
- Soy products – tofu (bean curd) and soybeans
- Legume flours – chickpea flour (bean), lentil flour and soy flour
- Dried beans and peas – haricot beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Fresh beans and peas – green peas, green beans, butter beans, broad beans, and snow peas.
Selecting fruits and vegetables
To maximize nutrients and appeal, buy and serve different types of fruit and vegetables. Try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and choose for freshness and quality. You should:
- Eat with the seasons – this is nature’s way of making sure our bodies get a healthy mix of nutrients and plant chemicals
- Try something new – try new recipes and buy fresh fruit or vegetables as part of your weekly shopping
- Let colors guide you – get different combinations of nutrients by putting a ‘rainbow’ of colors (green, white, yellow-orange, blue-purple, red) on your plate.
The potential benefits associated with eating more fruits and vegetable stack up quickly, reducing your risk of certain chronic diseases is only the beginning. You need to get the proper vitamin and mineral dietary intake to optimize your health, and fruits and vegetables can help you in that area. These daily food essentials are excellent sources for many of the nutrients that can keep you healthy and energized.
For more information on Fruits and Veggies click on the link: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-fruits-vegetables
And for some great recipes and articles click on the link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-mase-82679064/