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Vegetables and fruits are nature’s marvelous gift to the human kind. Vegetables and fruits are very important commodities in our daily diet. They are life-enhancing medicines packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many phytonutrients (Plant-derived micronutrients). Vegetables and fruits are available throughout the year and they can be consumed fresh and eaten raw. They are an absolute feast to our sight because of their colour and have a unique nutrient profile that helps the human body to be fit, rejuvenate, and free of diseases.
Composition of vegetables and fruit
Vegetables contain a high amount of water. They also contain carbohydrates, dietary fibre, protein, vitamins and other nutrients that are important for human health.
Lettuce, cucumbers and leafy vegetables contain about 95% water, therefore only 5% of their mass is dry matter. Hard vegetables like carrot and pumpkin have around 12-15% dry matter.
Carbohydrates are the main component of vegetables and fruit represent more than 90% of their dry matter. Carbohydrates are present as starch, sugars and dietary fibre. Starch is mainly found in root vegetables, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes.
The main sugars that are present in vegetables and fruits are glucose, sucrose and fructose. Although more usually associated with fruit, sugars are an important component of flavour in vegetables such as carrots, sweet corn and peas.
Dietary fibre compounds like cellulose, lignin, pectins and other substances are also found in vegetables and fruits. Dietary fibre in vegetables and fruits have several health benefits like lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
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