Fruits & Vegetables
Five a day—that’s the magic number of servings of fruits and vegetables you are recommended to eat daily . And the more the better . There is no disagreement among scientists that fruit and vegetables can help prevent many chronic diseases . They are the richest sources of the healthy promoting antioxidants but they also contain numerous other phytochemicals (natural plant substances), many of which haven’t been identified yet, that act to stave off chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer . Fruits and vegetables contribute high dose nutrition in low-calorie packages . They help to fill you up and raise your energy level . They provide fibre that helps to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, reduce cancer risk and prevent intestinal problems . Fruits and vegetables have also been linked to helping control high blood pressure . One serving equals one medium sized fruit or vegetable, 1 cup (250 mL) of greens or 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) of fruit or vegetable or it’s juice .
True or False: When it comes to greens, the darker the leaves, the more nutritious .True . Try arugula, romaine or spinach instead of iceberg lettuce when making salads or topping a sandwich .
True or False: Fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen or canned .Often this is false unless the produce is really fresh . Canned and frozen produce is usually processed immediately after harvest so the nutrients are in a sense “locked in .” The only drawback to canned vegetables is the extra sodium added in the packaging process.
Tips For Upping Your Intake
- Have them on hand! The first step is to always have easy access to fruits and vegetables . Visit the store twice a week to pick up fresh produce .
- Keep canned and frozen fruits and vegetables on hand to use when fresh supplies run out and for convenience .
- If you’re short on time, buy pre-cut, pre-bagged vegetables . The packaging slows nutrient losses so they can be just as nutritious as fresh.
- Add fruit or fruit juice to breakfast . Top your cereal with fruit or mix into yogurt . Keep dried fruit on hand, such as dates, apricots and raisins for variety .
- Reach for fruits and vegetables when the snack attack hits .Choose fruit for snacks more often than crackers or low-fat cookies .Bananas and apples are great portable fruit . Keep a supply in the office for convenience .
- If you have trouble eating vegetables during the day, have a hefty serving with your dinner . To make it easier, have one kind of vegetable each night and change it from day to day .
- When cooking vegetables, make double the batch to have for leftovers another time .
- If your fresh vegetables are starting to deteriorate, cook them up in a stir-fry so they will last a couple more days .
- When having a meal, fill up one-quarter to one-half of the plate with vegetables .
- Make a big batch of vegetable soup, such as carrot or squash and freeze in containers .
- Keep frozen blueberries and strawberries in the freezer for an easy winter treat .
- If your bananas are ripening too quickly for you to keep up, slice them into a container and freeze . Enjoy them frozen as a smooth, sweet dessert .
- Consume fruits and vegetables daily that are dark green, yellow and orange in colour, which are high in antioxidants .Examples include oranges, kiwis, strawberries, cantaloupe.