Fiber and vitamins
Fiber is usually one of the most used nutrients in advertising to encourage the consumption of processed products. The “high fiber” has become a common claim in breakfast cereals and cookies, especially those aimed at women.
But the truth is that it is not necessary to go to processed products to get a good daily fiber intake. Following the recommendations of at least three pieces of fruit and two servings of vegetables provides more than half of the 25g of fiber that adults should take.
On the other hand, every winter it is common to use food supplements to “improve defenses.” The components that perform this function are added vitamins or minerals, which “contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system”, according to the opinion of the European Union.
Fruits and vegetables also contain nutrients with the same function. This is the case of vitamin C, present in most of them. And also folic acid, which is in many vegetables, especially green leafy ones (spinach, artichokes, broccoli …).
The argument that supplements carry higher amounts of these nutrients is highly debatable. It is a mistake to think that the more vitamins, the more beneficial effect. In fact, abusing supplements can lead to adverse side effects.
Consuming the right amount of fruit and vegetables provides the recommended daily dose of vitamin C, almost all of potassium and folic acid. In addition to more than half of B6 and an interesting proportion of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5.
These vitamins and potassium are involved in many other physiological processes. Among them, the correct functioning of the nervous system, the heart and the red blood cells, in addition to the maintenance of the skin and vision. Even help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Not eating fruits and vegetables can be fatal
Despite what has been said so far, we should not be tempted to attribute spectacular properties to fruits and vegetables for the benefit of our health. No food possesses them.
What scientific studies do show is an indisputable relationship between fruits, vegetables and health. According to the World Health Organization, “an estimated 3.9 million deaths in 2017 were due to inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables”. Cardiovascular disease was the mediator of 2 million of these deaths from low fruit consumption and more than 1.4 million in the case of vegetables.
We also have evidence that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of all-cause mortality, reduces the risk of overweight / obesity, and weight gain. In addition, consuming fruit reduces the probability of suffering from hypertension.
There is strong evidence that vegetables and fruits help protect against various types of cancer that affect the respiratory tract and upper digestive tract. Although the evidence is limited, they may also protect against other types of tumors. On the contrary, low intakes could be a risk factor for colorectal cancer.
Tricks to promote its consumption
Contrary to some hoaxes that circulate, we can eat fruits and vegetables at any time of the day. In fact, a good idea is to always have them in sight so that, in a fit of appetite, we can take them without looking for much.
It is common to have fruit for dessert, but it can also be a very good snack for lunch and a snack. If one day we are lacking in fruit, we can even start lunch or dinner with it.
This strategy can also be interesting with vegetables, and it works especially well with children who have a hard time eating this food. Of course, what always works best for them is to see that mom and dad take them and enjoy it.
Making fruits and vegetables attractive is no longer a mystery with the help of the Internet, where we can find a thousand and one attractive designs of dishes, salads and recipes. Of course, it is always better that they are seasonal.
As a suggestion, We propose to prepare a main vegetable dish a day, either fresh or cooked, and a salad for the two main meals. For cooking, it is preferable to steam or sauté. If we boil them, better with little water and use the broth for some other recipe.
It is indisputable that increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is an advantage for our health. Making it a personal priority is the best way to achieve these benefits.