fruit and vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables: Making a Difference in Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables make up a core part of a healthy diet. Packed with nutrition and essential vitamins, fruits and vegetables should be a large part of every meal; the food pyramid recommends you eat at least four servings of both per day. Of course, not every vegetable or piece of fruit is made equal, and some are certainly better for you than others. In today’s blog post, we explore which vegetables and fruits you should choose as well as debunking a few myths about these natural goodies.

In regards to vegetables, you should focus on eating leafy greens instead of starchy vegetables like potatoes. While potatoes have a long history of sustaining whole populations, nowadays with a plethora of vegetables available at any given time, you should consider grabbing a vegetable that will provide a bit more impact for your diet. Kale, broccoli, spinach, Brussel sprouts, peas and asparagus are all great choices. As an added bonus, you can prepare these vegetables in a number of ways, giving you plenty of options on how you want to enjoy these vegetables.

In regards to fruit, one key thing to keep in mind is that fruit contains sugar. While this sugar isn’t processed or added like you’ll find in candy bars, you should consider this when deciding on what to eat. Another thing to keep in mind: most of the nutritional benefits of fruit is found in the skin and pulp. Be wary of thinking that fruit juice is a sufficient substitute for biting into a nice piece of fruit. Checking the nutritional labels of fruit juice confirms that most juices contain as much sugar as a soda! Dried fruit is another instance of something that looks healthy but can be deceptively bad for you. A lot of manufacturers of dried fruit add sugar to make it taste sweeter. Be sure to look out for dried fruit that states no added sugar (but check the nutritional label just to confirm!).

A few tips on getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet:

  • If you’re looking for something sweet to eat after your meal, turn to a piece of fruit. You can enjoy grilled peaches, poached pears, and other treats instead of sugary ice cream or pie.
  • Instead of eating rice, try cauliflower rice. It tastes similar, has the same consistency, but is much healthier for you!
  • Some vegetables release sugars when they are cooked. Raw vegetables offer the most nutrition.
  • Be careful about getting vegetables at restaurants. Ask how they are prepared. Oftentimes, they are covered in butter (although buttery vegetables are probably still healthier for you than a side of French fries!)

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Drinking Problems: Why Juice Isn’t Always Better

We’ve known for a while that sodas should be regarded as a treat and not as your usual drink. Reaching for a glass of water versus a can of soda has far better health implications. However, many people have started drinking juice instead of soda, and while that may sound like a good choice, a new study from the University of Glasgow in the UK warns that juice may not be a good choice after all.

When we think about juice, we think about natural ingredients and potentially even health benefits; after all, juice contains vitamins and some juices claim to count toward your daily recommended portions of fruits and vegetables. This perception comes from the convenient labels on the front of juice containers that claim their nutritional value. However, many times juices fail to disclose how much sugar they contain.

In fact, the study from University of Glasgow found that individuals who drank 500 ml of grape juice every day for three months saw an increase in insulin resistance and waist circumference in individuals who were already classified as overweight. And even though fruit juice has more nutritional value than a soda, researchers were quick to point out that fruit or vegetable juice lack the “beneficial substances” found in the actual fruit or vegetables, like fiber. Dr. Gill, a member of the study, said “that drinking fruit juice is not significantly different than drinking other sugar drinks.”

So if you’re interested in the healthy choice, grab a glass fo water and have an apple along with it. Typically, an apple only has 50 calories, compared to 105 calored in 250 ml of soda or 110 calories in 250 ml of apple juice.