INCLUSION OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN THE DAYS MENU
Fruits and vegetables provide
vitamins and minerals required for growth and maintenance of health and are
thus termed as protective foods.
Roots and tubers provide energy.
Vegetables are low in fat and can be
used liberally in low calorie diets for weight reduction.
Besides providing nutrients they add
variety to the diet. They make the diet attractive by their texture, flavour
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.
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
Intake of fibrous fruits and vegetables are important as
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.
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.