Fruits and vegetables have always been an important part of the diet for all human beings and were always in addition to the meat of livestock and fish that has sustained mankind. While they always grew in the wild, mankind has made into a part of their forays into agriculture and now makes for a substantial part of most diets. There is now a growing tendency towards vegetarianism and veganism that places a greater emphasis on the consumption of vegetables and fruits.
Fruits and vegetables contain all the minerals and vitamins that are needed for good health and can go a long way in protecting from diseases. It is a well-known fact that sailors on long journeys across the seas became afflicted by scurvy, a sickness that resulted from the deficiency that was avoided if their often completely fish diets had an addition of fruits like limes. The eating of these agricultural products makes for a well-balanced diet, and regularly taken can make for a healthy and active lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables come in a lot of variety, and while most fruits can be eaten raw, as can many vegetables, they can also be cooked in a whole range of cuisines that each country society has managed to make it’s own.
What is the difference between fruits and their counterparts, the vegetables? Speaking botanically, fruits are those that have a seed-bearing structure that comes out of the ovary of flowering plants. Vegetables are part of the plant, like roots, leaves, and stems. So, technically, tomatoes and eggplants are fruits, though you will always find them in the vegetable section in your local supermarket. Tomatoes and eggplants have seeds that can help in propagating them again. Vegetables like potatoes, beets, and turnips are all roots of their plants. Spinach and lettuce, are leaves, while the stem is what celery and broccoli are. In culinary terms, fruits that are savory and not sweet are considered by chefs as vegetables.
“Eat your veggies” is a sentence that you will often hear in dining rooms, addressed to children who try to skip the goodness of salads and side dishes that their mothers often include as part of a meal. This is because they contain Vitamins from A to E, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and folic acid all minerals and vitamins that are very beneficial to health. Fruits also contain these vital ingredients but are more often part of the dessert or used as snacks in most households. Both of these are low in fat, sugar, and salt, and also can make for a good dietary fiber that is an important part of digestion.
A high intake of vegetables and fruits can make for good health, and it is commonly said that five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit can make an ideal diet. Canned and frozen fruits are best avoided as they often contain added sugar and salt. Diets that have sufficient quantities of these two edibles, can help to lower the risk for heart disease. the potassium in bananas can help in regulating blood pressure. Cardiovascular health is improved if you eat vegetables like cabbage, mustard greens, and broccoli, while lemon, oranges, and grapefruit are the fruits that can do the same. Studies have shown that the risk of some cancers can also help if you eat fruits and vegetables that give cancer protection. Eye health improves through the consumption of vegetables and fruits. Green leafy vegetables reduce the risk of diabetes. All fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber, and this can keep your digestive system in good shape. They can also be of great help in maintaining the right weight and reducing obesity. Blood pressure and cholesterol can also get lowered by their consumption.
Fruits are the fleshy part of a plant and often contain seeds. Most fruits are eaten raw, though some fruits can be cooked and turned into other products like jams, syrups, squashes, and pickles. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors with some of them even being used to indicate the colors themselves, like plum, peach, and orange. Apples and pears are common fruits, with limes, mandarins, grapefruits ad oranges making the citrus variety of fruits. Some fruits are called stone fruits as they contain a pit that needs to be discarded after eating the fleshier part, and these are plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines. Mangoes and bananas are fruits that only grow in tropical areas. Berries are wild-growing fruits that are well appreciated by men, birds, and animals and these are passionfruit, kiwifruit, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. and who does not like to eat the melons, watermelons, muskmelons, and rockmelons? And do not forget the avocadoes or the tomato that makes for fruit that is consumed as a vegetable and makes for a substantial portion of diets all over the world.
When you move to vegetables you have the leafy greens like lettuce and spinach. And who can forget Popeye the sailor and his diet of spinach that give him his phenomenal strength? Then there are broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage the cruciferous variety of vegetables. Marrow variety is zucchini, cucumber, and pumpkin, while yam, sweet potatoes, and the ever-popular and ever-present in most meals, potato are the root variety. Celery and asparagus are plant stems while shallot, garlic, and onions are the alliums. Legumes are pulses that contain very valuable nutrients. They always need to be cooked as this improves the quality of their nutrition, helps in digestion, and removes toxins. Many flours are made from legumes and vastly used in cooking like lentil, soy, and chickpea. Some legumes are dried and this allows them to be preserved and eaten. The fresh variety of peas and beans are green peas, green beans, snow peas, butter beans, and broad beans.
Vegetables and fruits also come in many colors, and it is said that the wider variety of colors that you have in your choice of fruits and vegetables on any day, the greater are its health benefits. The colors are often decided by the protective compounds that they contain, and that is why the greater the color variety the greater benefit that you get. Red indicates lycopene (tomatoes and watermelon) and this helps in fighting heart disease and prostate cancer. Green says it has zeaxanthin and lutein (spinach and kale) and can help against eye disease. Anthocyanins give a blue and purple color to blueberries and eggplant and can give the body protection from cancer. Cauliflower contains sulforaphane that gives it a white color and this can also protect against some forms of cancer.
All vegetables and fruits are seasonal though modern-day agriculture and the use of greenhouses and other aids have helped to grow them all year round. It is best, however, to rely on nature and eat those fruits and vegetables that are grown in particular seasons. This is the way nature ensures that you are constantly getting your share of the healthy minerals and chemicals that the plants contain. Vary your shopping and think constantly of new ways to eat and cook vegetables to add variety to your dining table. As we said, a rainbow of colors is the best way to ensure that you get all the benefits form your consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables and fruits can also be healthy snacks and can be easily carried in lunchboxes that you carry to work or to school. You can use them in salads, as stir-fries, as soups, or stewed or dried. Fruit juices will not have the same amount of nutrients, and canned varieties will contain a lot of sugar and are best avoided. Fruits and vegetables will give the best benefits if they are consumed raw. Cut off the inedible parts, though again this is subjective, and you will find that in many cultures, every part of the vegetable or fruit is consumed, and prepared differently to make it edible. The best ways of cooking are to stir-fry, bake, or steam, with frying leading to loss of nutritional values and increasing the consumption of fat. Overcooking can cause a loss of nutrients and must be avoided.
Keep fruit where it can be seen as it can tempt children to eat. Variety is the best and overdependence on any vegetable can have its ill effects. Studies have shown that an increased intake of fruits and vegetables can help in reducing weight, but this becomes more effective if it replaces other carbohydrates. Most vegetables and fruits contain fiber that is not digested and this indigestible fiber absorbs water as it goes through the digestive system. This calms the bowel and makes bowel movements regular, which helps in removing toxins and preventing constipation. The insoluble fiber gets bulkier and softer and this can help in decreasing the pressure in the intestinal tract and prevent many digestible problems. Fruits and vegetables have a lower calorie value when compared to the same volume of other high-calorie food and this can always be beneficial to your body.
Top Reasons To Eat Fruits And Vegetables
Today, many folks struggle with overweight and obesity. Unhealthy food choices, sedentary living, and stress are the main reasons behind these health conditions. If left untreated, obesity can trigger numerous health problems such as elevated blood pressure levels, heart stroke, fatigue, and lots more. To check obesity and potential issues, many people turn to diet programs. However, most of them don’t get any results. If you’re searching for a simple, sure-fire way to make your food healthier, consider adding fruits and veggies to your diet.
Benefits of Eating More Fruits and Veggies
A diet balanced with fruits, veggies lowers the risk of heart diseases. Potassium obtained through bananas keep your blood pressure in healthy conditions. Plus, the dietary fiber in vegetables lowers the cholesterol levels, keeping many diseases at bay.
The higher the intake of vegetables and fruits, the lower the risk of cardiovascular disease will be. As a thumb rule, add veggies such as cabbage, mustard green, and broccoli to your diet. You may also want to include fruits such as bananas, grapefruit, lemons, and oranges to your daily plate.
Promotes Effective Weight Loss
Probably, the most important benefit of adding fruits and veggies to your daily diet is healthy weight loss. Today, many folks eat processed meals and junk food. However, these food items contain fat and salt in concentrated quantities that contribute to overweight problems.
You may do away with this issue by switching to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables. Veggies and fruits contain low calories, which is why they don’t trigger unhealthy weight gain. Plus, they provide nutrients in higher quantities, necessary for the effective functioning of your bodily system.
Improves Your Eyesight
Are you experiencing issues such as blurry visions or reddening of eyes? Do you wish to keep your eyes sharp and healthy? If so, consider taking more fruits and vegetables. The intake of fruits, veggies will prevent macular degeneration and keep cataracts at bay. According to researches, Zeaxanthin and Luten found in veggies and fruits could offer positive benefits on eye health.
While it may sound unbelievable, it’s undoubtedly true. Fruits and veggies hold minerals and vitamins that foster healthy skin. They rejuvenate your body and avoid the instances of wrinkles and fine lines. By doing away with free radicals, vegetables and fruits retain the sheen and glow of your face and overall health. With enhanced health and appearance, you look much younger than your actual age.
The benefits stemming from the intake of fruits and vegetables are virtually limitless. Sound health, better fitness, improved vision, younger looks, and healthy weight loss are a few of the highlighting perks of eating veggies and fruits. If you want to tap on these various benefits, add more vegetables and seasonal fruits to your plate, and enjoy a better life.