We all hear from childhood that it is imperative to eat fruits and vegetables, as they are very useful. Medical experts from all over the world insist on this: they believe that a person’s daily diet should contain at least 500 g of vegetables and fruits, best of all – seasonal.
But what do we really know about the gifts of nature, besides the fact that they contain a lot of vitamins? It turns out that there is more than one reason for eating as many different fruits as possible. What are the benefits of fruits and vegetables, we tell in today’s article.
Protect against disease
Scientist Colin Campbell has been looking for the relationship between disease and nutrition for 20 years: he studied the diet of millions of people and found that fruits and vegetables help in the prevention of various diseases.
So, rutin (vitamin P), contained in citrus fruits, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, preventing the development of atherosclerosis, and improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Eggplant and courgette reduce blood pressure. The thyroid gland is improved by tyrokinins contained in carrots, cabbage, lettuce. Beets are rich in betaine, which inhibits the aging of liver cells. Apples, rich in pectin, promote the elimination of bad cholesterol.
The list is endless: each plant has not one, but a number of useful properties. It is also proven that regular consumption of vegetables reduces the risk of cancer by as much as 30 percent.
Research by scientists has shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are less prone to depression. And all thanks to the presence of antioxidants in fruits, as well as folic acid and selenium – substances that increase the production of the hormone of good mood serotonin. Among the most effective natural “antidepressants” are beans, citrus fruits, spinach, romaine lettuce, bananas and apples.
Eating raw fruits and vegetables is especially beneficial, according to experts from the University of Otago in New Zealand. In their study, they found that subjects who ate the fruits raw had higher levels of psychological well-being than those who ate cooked vegetables and fruits.
Make it smarter
Food for the mind is not only about good books. Various vegetables and fruits are also very useful for the brain. This is especially important for those who are engaged in mental work, as well as for the elderly. Antioxidants in the composition of fruits prevent damage to brain cells and serve as an excellent prevention of atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Doctors consider apples, pears and apricots to be the best brain “helpers” (they are rich in iron, which helps to saturate the brain with oxygen necessary for normal functioning), carrots saturated with luteolin (a compound that reduces age-related memory deficit and the risk of developing inflammatory brain diseases), beets (it contains a lot of iodine, iron and glucose), as well as cabbage and spinach (they supply the brain cells with iron, vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid).
Who does not know the famous joke about rabbits and glasses. However, the benefits of carrots for the eyes are not a joke: beta-carotene, contained in the bright root vegetable, fights macular degeneration of the retina and cataracts. Fruits rich in vitamin C – for example, bell peppers, citrus fruits, watermelons, tomatoes – protect the retina from damage. Pumpkin, cabbage, and spinach, the champions in lutein, can help improve vision, while avocados and other plants rich in vitamin E are excellent cataracts.
No matter how much scientists try to create a substitute for vitamins from plant foods, the fact remains: useful substances are best absorbed from natural vegetables and fruits. In addition, they are much tastier than any vitamin complexes “enclosed” in tablets and capsules.
To maximize your benefits, try to eat seasonal, local produce to provide you with the nutrients you need at a given time of year. In addition, local fruits and vegetables are less often treated with harmful compounds than overseas “aliens”. It is also important to properly prepare food: for example, cooking contributes to the destruction of vitamins – much more of the benefit is stored in steamed vegetables.
Help to lose weight
Vegetables and fruits occupy an important place in almost every diet. The secret is that the fruits contain fiber, which gives quick satiety and at the same time – a minimum of calories. That is why vegetables and fruits can be eaten in any quantity and not be afraid of excess weight. In addition, fiber stimulates the intestines, improves metabolism and cleanses the gastrointestinal tract of harmful chemicals, toxins and carcinogens.
Rejuvenating apples are not only in fairy tales. And not only apples: all vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants that promote cell renewal, inhibit oxidation processes and thus help to prolong youth and beauty. If you want your face to always be fresh and smooth, lean on dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, romaine lettuce, sorrel (they improve skin turgor), as well as watery fruits – watermelon, melon – that saturate the skin with moisture from the inside.