As we are becoming increasingly conscious of our health, consumption of fruits and vegetables is showing an uptrend the world over. In fact, consumption of fruits and vegetables is finding more and more takers over those consuming other kinds of food including processed food and non-vegetarian food. A similar message can be found in my other article ‘Stay natural stay blessed’.
According to one study, eating at least six or seven portions of fruits and vegetables per day reduces the risk of early death by up to 42%, that of cancer by 25% and that of coronary disease by 31%. One portion is approximately 80 grams or 1 apple, peach, banana etc. However, vegetables are supposed to be superior than fruits at these qualities. Consequently, doctors now recommend at least 2 to 3 portions of vegetables in a day out of the six or seven portions. One should consume fresh or dried fruits, but consuming tinned fruits or packaged fruit juices has been observed to reverse all health gains and improvements made thus far, as these contain huge amounts of ‘added sugar’. My other article ‘You do not need to consume added sugar’ talks of unhealthy effects of consuming ‘added’ sugar which is thoroughly avoidable.
One important factor that has come into play lately has nothing to do with direct health benefits but with feeling of happiness associated with consuming fruits and vegetables. While the health benefits and improvement in health accrue over a longer term of 2 to 3 years, but the happiness one derives from their consumption is almost immediate without a time lag. Therefore, consumption of fruits and vegetables is connected with psychological well-being of individuals. Let us understand why is it so?
The answer lies in its constituents. While processed foods contain copious quantities of sodium (or salt) and added sugar apart from others while fruits and vegetables are absolutely devoid of such undesirable and unhealthy constituents. Fruits are known to contain dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin C and folate (or folic acid), however they are low in sodium, fat as well as calories. The most important thing is that they have almost no cholesterol. Therefore, squeezing fruits in your daily diet, helps in lowering calorie intake, reducing sodium as well as fats. These nutrients are also known to fight certain types of cancers as well as making huge improvements in overall health.
Dietary fibre present in fruits helps reducing blood cholesterol, obviates incidence of heart diseases and promotes cardiovascular health. It also helps with proper bowel movements that prevent chronic constipation. Fibre rich food includes lentils, oats, fruit peal and broccoli. Potassium contained in fruits helps maintain favourable blood pressure and prevent kidney stones. These fruits include bananas, melons, plums, grapes, oranges and dry fruits like peaches and apricots. Vitamin C helps growth of body tissues and repair of damaged ones. Vitamin C also helps in increasing immunity and faster healing of cuts and wounds. It also helps keeping teeth and gums in a healthy state. Vitamin C rich fruits include all citrus fruits like oranges, grapes and lemon, others are strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli. Folic acid, helps the body form RBCs (red blood cells). Most of you would know that folic acid also prevents the risk of neural tube defects in fetus during pregnancy. Folic acid is found in all leafy vegetables and peas.
Fruits are versatile foods and can replace undesirable processed foods that you munch between meals to satiate hunger pangs. Some nutritionists suggest eating at least three different fruits every day on an empty stomach a couple of hours before meals to derive maximum benefits. Are you still wondering which way to go? With numerous overall health benefits, going fruity and veggie is undoubtedly a better way forward.
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