Five helpings of nutritious and low-calorie fruits and vegetables daily is perfect for health and weight management
Fruits and vegetables give you high nutrition and low calories. They have enormous therapeutic value with their rich nutritional composition, high fibre and water content and boost immunity, improve stamina and protect us from several health problems such as poor skin and hair, obesity and chronic degenerative problems like heart disease, diabetes, cataract and cancer. Research shows diets containing substantial amounts of varied vegetables and fruits reduce chances of cancer by 20 per cent and of stroke and cardio vascular disease by 60 per cent.
Helps in weight management
Being low in calories and fat content and high in fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants with a high satiety value, they help in weight management. They work as fillers and can be treated as free foods with the exception of potatoes, sweet potatoes, jimikand and arbi, which must be used in moderation.
Keeps BP in control
Owing to their high potassium and low sodium content, intake of fruits and vegetables is recommended for BP patients. These natural foods protect you from heart disease by preventing accumulation of cholesterol in arteries. Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of Omega-3 fats, the kind present in fish, which prevents heart disease.
Maintain blood glucose
The fibre in fruits and vegetables plays an important role in maintaining blood glucose levels. Since diabetics are more prone to oxidative cell damage leading to complications of kidney, nerves and eyes, the antioxidants in vegetables and fruits prevent these.
However, excessive consumption of fruits or excessively sweet fruits and juices can impair glucose control. Diabetics need to restrict their intake of mangoes, bananas and potatoes. High fibre content provides bulk in the diet for good bowel movement, and helps in maintaining good gut health and prevents constipation. Being a reservoir of antioxidants, fresh fruits and vegetables boost immunity, prevent nutritional deficiencies like anemia and maintain good hair and skin health.
- Include at least five servings of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables daily.
- Have them in soups, salads, juices and desserts. Mix in chapattis and dal.
- Wash them thoroughly in saline water.
- Avoid eating cut fruits and salads outside the house to prevent infections.
- Choose cooking methods with minimum cooking time.