It’s no secret that a healthy & balanced diet is one that includes lots of fresh fruits and veggies. The benefits of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs are endless, and the daily consumption of these vegetables have been known to prevent & even cure major diseases. While it’s necessary to include fruits and veggies in your diet, it’s also important to know how to treat your fruits and veggies right so you can get the best nutrients from them all the time.
Before we dive into how to treat your fruits and veggies right, let’s have a look at the benefits of fresh fruits & vegetables so we know what we are losing out on if we don’t treat them right:
Dr Ann Kulze says fruits and vegetables are necessary to help maintain a healthy body. Essentially, they are universal life-preserver foods.
The benefits of fruits and vegetables include:
- Cardiovascular health: A diet rich in fruit and vegetables can lower your risk for heart disease. Potassium, which can be found in bananas, may help maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Lower cancer risk: Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, and cabbage can help reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Reduces the growth of fibroids: Fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium such as bananas, cabbage have been known to stifle the growth of fibroid cells in bodies of women prone to fibroids.
- Improved vision: A study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) published in the archives of ophthalmology found that lutein and zeaxanthin present in certain fruits & vegetables could be responsible for the positive effects on eye health
- Reduced diabetes risk: Research shows that eating lots of leafy greens has been correlated with reduced diabetes risk. Furthermore, adding berries to your diet could also lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How to treat your fruits and veggies right:
- Eat them raw as much as possible: Fruits & Vegetables such as baby spinach, baby arugula, carrots, celery, apples, pears, berries etc. are great eaten raw. They make perfect additions to salads and smoothies. They can be juiced or enjoyed as a mid-day snack. Try my pink beet smoothie bowl aka Medicine in a bowl.
- Don’t overcook them: If you must cook your veggies, only add them at the last minute to whatever you are cooking them with and turn off the heat. The residual heat from the food will cook them just enough while maintaining the freshness and the nutrients. Light steaming/blanching of vegetable like broccoli, okra, asparagus etc. will also maintain their freshness & their nutrients.
- Wash your fruits & vegetables before cutting/slicing them: Have you noticed that whenever you slice your vegetables from the market then bring them home to clean, the water turns to this bright green colour?… Well, that is all the chlorophyll & vital nutrients getting washed away. Always wash your vegetables before cutting them so those nutrients remain intact in the veggies for your body and not the drain.
- Eat them fresh: When selecting your fruits and veggies from the market or store, try and buy them as fresh as possible. Watch out for discolouration of the leaves or the fruit & any signs of rot. Be that annoying customer that smells the fruit & vegetables before buying, because if it’s fresh, it will smell fresh. That way, you are not losing out on any vital vitamins and nutrients.
- Watch out for the dirty dozen: The dirty dozen are those fruits and vegetables that contain pesticide residues on them. Especially fruits & veggies that have been imported into the country. Studies have shown that nearly 70 per cent of fresh produce sold in the U.S. comes with high amounts of pesticide residues. We obviously don’t want or need pesticides in our bodies so it’s important to look out for fruits and vegetables on the dirty dozen list.
The Dirty Dozen List
The Clean Fifteen List: Relatively, studies have shown that these fruits and vegetables had significantly low amounts of pesticide residues, cabbage being the cleanest.
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melons
If you have you buy imported fruits & vegetables, make sure they are organic & it says so on the packaging. Otherwise, buy locally produced organic fruits & vegetables. If you must buy any of the products on the dirty dozen list, make sure you wash them well with salt & water before eating.
Having a love relationship with your veggies & treating them right, helps you get the full benefit from them…When you treat them right, they treat you right in return.