Medicinal benefits of vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are an important component of our daily diet as man cannot live oncerealsalone. Vegetables andfruitsare essential for balanced diet and good health. They not only add colour and variety to the diet but also provide significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates including roughage (fibre). Vegetables and fruits also possess medicinal values.
The following list highlights some key nutritional benefits of vegetables and fruits:
· Vegetables and fruits are rich in fibre. Fibre gives satiety and thereby decreases food intake.
· Fibre is good for the heart and intestines. It helps in regulating bowel movement and helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and lowers the risk of bowel cancer.
· It reduces blood cholesterol levels and thereby helps in the prevention of cardio vascular diseases and lowers the risk of stroke.
· Folate in spinach, beans, melons and orange prevents neural tube problem at birth.
· Potassium in fruit and vegetable sources like sweet potatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, prune juice regulates blood pressure.
· Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Excellent fruit and vegetable sources of vitamin A are sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, cantaloupe and red peppers.
· Vitamin C helps to heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy. Excellent fruit and vegetable sources of vitamin C are red and green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, oranges and mangoes.
· Vegetables and fruits (with the exception of olives, avocados, and coconut) are naturally low in fat. Substituting vegetables and fruits for higher calorie foods should be a part of any weight loss program and healthy diet.
· Every fruit and vegetable offers different nutrients, tastes and textures. For the best overall nutrition we have to choose a variety of vegetables and fruits.
· Keep cleaned vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator so they are easy to grab as a quick snack
· Add vegetables to curries, stews and soups.
· Drink 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavoured drinks which contain added sugar.
· Have fruit for dessert.
· Keep a bowl of apples, bananas and/or oranges on the table for quick grabbing
· Choose a salad made with a variety of vegetables and fruits instead of junk foods like French fries.
· While baking cakes use raisins, dates or prunes. This helps to increase fibre.
· Add lettuce, onions, capsicum and/ or tomatoes to sandwiches.
· Enjoy fruit smoothies or milk shakes for breakfast or snacks.
· Pack fresh or dried fruit for quick snacks to school.
Raw, whole or cut fruits can be served as an appetiser, as a salad or for dessert.
Fruits can be served in the form of juices or milk shakes.
Apples are served as stewed apples.
Fresh fruits can be preserved as jams,
marmalades, preserves and dried fruits