Mom Was Right! Your Body Needs Fruits and Vegetables
3 Years Ago | By Apricot Power
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables!
”Eat all of those lima beans on your plate mister”, Mom said, “or no dessert for you.” So there I was, 3 hours later staring down a small pile of ice cold lima beans with any hope of desert fading with every agonizing moment. Just me and those pasty little kidney-shaped starch bombs.
Hey, I could wait out Mom; she’ll have to go to bed sometime, right? Even if I could sadly, I’d have found those mushy little legumes buried in breakfast somewhere, maybe in some nice, fluffy scrambled eggs. “Hmmm, I wonder what those green specks in my eggs are?”
As nutritious as I know lima beans are, the trauma I endured with my countless lima bean stand-offs scarred me for life. Fortunately, I enjoy most other vegetables, and that’s a good thing. It turns out Mom was right; our bodies need lots of vegetables (and a healthy amount of fruit too.)
Long, Healthy Life
Our bodies are amazing physiological marvels. If we do the right things such as eat enough good nutrition, get enough exercise and rest, and keep our mind and spirit healthy, our bodies will function efficiently and we can enjoy long lives. Unfortunately, the fast-paced lifestyle of many Americans generally means eating on the run and making poor food choices. But here’s the thing about fruits and vegetables, they can really make great, nutritious snack foods for people on the run.
Need something crunchy? There are plenty of fruits and veggies that will satisfy your snack attack. Here are a few to consider.
- Apples and pears
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Bell pepper slices
- Zucchini or cucumber circles
- Roasted chickpeas
- Broccoli & cauliflower florets
- Popcorn (It’s a whole grain!)
- Rice cakes & whole-grain crackers
- Nuts & seeds
Much Needed Nutrients
Fruits and vegetables are typically high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are also low in calories and sodium. Plus, eating a variety of them may help you control your weight and blood pressure. If you’re already eating plenty of fruits and veggies every day, you may be ready for the next step: include more color.
Just about all fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may help prevent heart disease and other illnesses. Fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A and C can be found in many fruits and vegetables. The best way to get all the various nutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors. And yes, white and brown count, too! Eat as many different colors as you can each day.
The Fruit Group
The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the “Fruit Group”. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. They may also be whole, cut-up, or pureed. In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the “Fruit Group”.
The table shows specific amounts that count as 1 cup of fruit towards your daily recommended intake. (In some cases equivalents for ½ cup are also shown)
The Vegetable Group
Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the “Vegetable Group”. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed. Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark-green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables. The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity.
In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the “Vegetable Group”. The table at the right lists specific amounts that count as 1 cup of vegetables towards your recommended intake. (In some cases equivalents for ½ cup are also shown)
*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.
Which Fruits and Vegetables Are The Best?
That’s an easy answer...all of them! The idea is to eat as many different types of fruits and veggies as you can to get all the different types of nutrients your body needs. For me, anything but lima beans.
What the Heck is...
There is a lot of confusion in the world of vitamins and supplements and their ingredients. This column focuses on a specific vitamin or supplement and its ingredients. This month we are featuring an ingredient called Stevia.
What is Stevia?
Stevia is natural origin sweetener first discovered in South America by the native people over 200 years ago. It is derived from a plant that’s related to the sunflower family. Stevia has no calories and is 200 - 350 times sweeter than sugar in the same concentration.
Are All Stevias the Same?
You will see stevia listed as “stevia”, “stevia extract”, “Rebaudioside A”, “Reb A”, “steviol glycosides” and other variations depending on the country and the manufacturer.
Stevia Rebaudiana or “sweet leaf” stevia is the most common. It really comes down to how Stevia is being used.
Reb-A is the “A” fraction, which has less bitterness. There are several glycosides A,C,D,F in Stevia, As you concentrate them the bitterness may increase. A Reb-A 95% can be very bitter.
Is it Safe?
More than 200 studies have attested to the safety of high purity Stevia extract for all members of the family, including pregnant woman and people with diabetes. Multiple major global regulatory organizations have determined Stevia is safe. It is approved as a sweetener in major markets worldwide, including more than 65 countries across the globe.
ApriSweet Dark Chocolate
Our new and improved ApriSweet Dark Chocolate uses a high-grade, double-fermented Rebaudiana extract. This sort of fermentation process drops the bitterness quotient dramatically. Since ApriSweet uses Erythritol and Stevia as co-sweeteners, finding the right balance between them was quite a challenge. Fortunately, our brilliant co-producer came up with a perfectly balanced, delicious formula unlike any other sugar-free chocolate in the world.
Appetite and Weight Control: Stevia is very low in calories That means people can eat foods like cakes, cookies, and candies made with Stevia and not have to worry about adding calories from sugars. Also helps control excess sugar content in children’s diets.
Regulates Sugar Levels: Ideal normal sugar replacement for diabetics and people on carb-controlled diets. They can now Stevia sweetened foods without having to worry about diabetic complications.
Regulates Blood Pressure: The glycosides in Stevia relax the blood vessels, increase urination, and facilitate the elimination of sodium from the body resulting in less stress put on the cardiovascular system.