Adriel is fitness enthusiast with a passion for healthy foods and healthy living.
Importance of fruits and vegetables in our diet
Fresh vegetables and fruits provide numerous micro nutrients and macro nutrients.
Macronutrients are required by the body in huge quantities and they include:
The role of nutrients and special factors in fruits and vegetables in our bodies
Iron is a critical component during the formation of hemoglobin, the red pigment found in the red cells of blood. Hemoglobin plays a crucial role in the transport of oxygen to the body tissues. A significant reduction in the amount of hemoglobin in blood leads to anemia.
Micronutrients are required by the body in small quantities and include vitamins such as Vitamin A, B and C and minerals such as calcium and iron. Macro nutrients present are complex carbohydrates
Many fruits and vegetable have few calories. This makes them an ideal choice for weight loss diets. Some fruits also contain high amounts of calories making them ideal for bodybuilding and weight gain.
Vitamin A is fat-soluble and it isvital for clear vision in dim light, and for maintaining the health of the epithelial tissues. In vitamin A deficiency, the conjunctiva loses its brilliance and becomes dry.
In severe vitamin A deficiency, the cornea becomes necrosed leading to irreversible blindness in children.
Vitamin A also aids the body in resisting common infections. Carotenoids are abundant in fruits and vegetables that are orange, yellow or green such as carrots, mangoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient required for healthy bones and teeth. It also enhances iron absorption. Vitamin C deficiency is leads to bleeding gums, weakness, and abnormal bone growth. Vitamin C is abundant in fresh oranges, lime, lemon, guava, banana and tomatoes.
However, atmospheric oxidation degrades or destroys it.
The amount of glucose and fructose varies widely depending on the fruit. Most fruits are low in calories.
Fruits are an ideal choice in weight loss or weight gain diets.
Folic acid deficiency increases the risk of heart attacks due to the high levels of homocysteine in the blood.
Sources of folic acid include green leafy vegetables, nuts, liver and legumes.
Folic acid is a hemopoietic vitamin vital for propagation and maturation of red cells in our body. Folic deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemias. During pregnancy the intake of folic acid protects the fetus from some congenital defects. Folic acid also increases the body weight of infants.
Calorie chart of fruits
Vegetables provide phytochemicals and considerable health significance to the human body. Phytochemicals are required for delaying ageing and preventing the processes which lead to diseases such as cataract, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and cancer.
Fiber is a critical component of a balanced diet.
- Dietary fiber slows down the movement of food in the small intestines and thus helps to keep blood glucose levels in check.
Fiber also aids in proper bowel function by reducing constipation.
Fiber creates a feeling of satiety and therefore it aids in the reduction of consumed calories.
- Fiber protects the colon.
- Fiber binds with excess fat and aids in its elimination.
Antioxidants curtail the damage that reactive oxygen free radicals can cause to the cell and other cellular components.
Antioxidants help in combating diseases such as cancer, inflammatory joint diseases, diabetes, asthma and atherosclerosis.
Fruits and vegetables should be ideally consumed fresh. However, some fruits and vegetables can be consumed when they are dried or canned. It should be noted that preparing and cooking will lead to nutrient loss.
Different vegetables provide different antioxidants:
- orange vegetables provide beta-carotene,
- red vegetables provide lycopene,
- deep red vegetables provide betalines,
- blue and purple vegetables provide anthocynins.
How much should we consume?
It is recommended that people should consume at least 300 g of vegetables :
- Green leafy vegetables: 50g
- Other vegetables: 200 g
- Roots &Tubers: 50 g
- Fresh fruits (100g).
Excellent sources of antioxidants are fresh and raw vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
Vitamin C and carotenoids are also present in these vegetables are also potential antioxidants.
Fruits and vegetables are critical in our diets. Fruits and vegetables promote health and well being. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Fruits and vegetables give us energy, satiates our appetites and regulate the absorption of glucose in the blood. Fruits also aid in weight loss and weight gain.
Fruits and vegetables should be always included in a healthy and balanced diet.
Anemia causes paleness, fatigue and susceptibility to infections. Iron is abundant in green leafy vegetables. However, the absorption of iron is limited.
Food rich in Vitamin C should be consumed in conjunction to improve iron absorption.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Adriel Ananiel