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NEED FOR INCLUSION OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN THE DAYS MENU
1. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals required for growth and maintenance of health and are thus termed as protective foods.
2. Roots and tubers provide energy.
3. Vegetables are low in fat and can be used liberally in low calorie diets for weight reduction.
4. Besides providing nutrients they add variety to the diet. They make the diet attractive by their texture, flavour and colour.
5. Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals. The term phytochemicals refers to the wide variety of plant compounds naturally produced by plants. They include plant pigments and flavouring substances. Fruits and vegetables with bright colours viz., yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple contain phytochemicals.
Beta-Carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are nutrients that function as antioxidants. An antioxidant is a substance that significantly reduces or prevents oxidation of fatty acids and protein thus preventing cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are unstable molecules resulting from normal metabolic processes. During these processes oxygen molecules lose an electron, which creates an unstable (molecule) thereby causing oxidative stress.
These free radicals attack healthy cells in the body in the hope of finding another electron to stabilize themselves. This process can cause damage to healthy cells.
Intake of fibrous fruits and vegetables are important as they :
give satiety and thereby decrease food intake.
help in regulating bowel movement.
low in calorie content.
reduce blood cholesterol levels.
promote chewing and decrease rate of ingestion.
Vegetable and fruits are used in the preparation of salads.
All vegetable have their own characteristic texture and colour. Vegetables can be grated, diced, cubed, or cut into a variety of shapes to prepare salads. The orange colour of carrots, the pale green of cabbage, the red colour of tomatoes, the green peppers and the white colour of cucumber, all indicate the variety of colours available to make attractive salads.
Vegetable used to prepare salads contribute vitamins and minerals to the diet. Vegetable salads are an important means of providing part of the need for fibre.
Fruit salad is a colourful, refreshing and light dessert. Pineapple, orange segments, apple cubes, papaya cubes, grapes, bananas, sapotas, mangoes, pomegranates are some of the fruits which can be used in a salad.
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