Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts

Balanced Diet

Health professionals recommend that to stay fit and healthy you should aim to eat at least five different portions of fruit and vegetables every day. For some people though this can seem like a lot to take in. Luckily, there are simple ways to make this easier and help you to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

balanced diet

Breakfast

It has long been known that eating a low fat breakfast can help to keep you slimmer but it is also a great opportunity to get one or two of your five a day. If you’re eating cereal then why not try adding a chopped banana or a cupful of berries? Not only will the fruit count towards your daily quota but it will also help to jazz up your old favourites. If you prefer eggs and bacon then add some grilled mushrooms or a grilled tomato on the side. Omelettes are easy to make healthier too by adding any variety of vegetables that you like to the mix before cooking (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, sweet corn - whatever it is that you like).

Juice

There are hundreds of types of juices out there and most of them (especially those that are freshly squeezed) will count towards your five a day. Generally speaking, a 250 millilitre glass counts as one portion which makes it a quick and easy way to top yourself up. Fruit juice can also be bought in cartons that you can pack for lunch or just keep in your car or your handbag for a nutritious drink on the go.

Soup

Easy and quick to make soup is also a meal that is often crying out to have some veggies added to it. If you’re eating cream of chicken, why not add some mushrooms or a handful of sweet corn? Tomato soups work well with cooked kidney beans thrown in and lentils make a great addition to most vegetable soups. As well as upping the health factor of your meal the vegetables help to bulk it out which might help you feel fuller for longer.

Sandwiches

An old lunchtime favourite can easily be spiced up by adding in some salad or veggies. Shredded lettuce, chopped onions or sliced tomatoes work well with nearly everything or you could try being a little more adventurous with hot peppers, tasty olives or crunchy celery. Experimenting with sandwich fillings is also a good way to try things out whilst still keeping it familiar with your usual meats and cheeses.

Smoothies

All that you need is a blender! Making your own smoothies is a very easy way towards your five a day, simply take your choice of fruits (peeled and chopped) and add to low fat yoghurt in the blender. To up the health benefits even further you could try using a pro biotic yoghurt or adding a little linseed oil. If you’re vegan you could use soya yoghurt to achieve the same results. Once it’s blended you can keep your smoothie fresh in the fridge and serve on its own or over ice. Why not have a glass at breakfast with your veggie filled omelette or fruit loaded cereal for an extra dose of vitamin C to get you going first thing?

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Antioxidants Keep You Healthy

antioxidants
In the natural process of cell respiration – oxidation – an oxygen electron is lost and becomes a free radical, an unstable molecule that can go on to damage cells and DNA. Antioxidants disable free radicals by donating electrons. Free radicals also form due to air pollution, radiation, pesticides and smoking. Antioxidants are a broad category that includes phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber. People gain these antioxidants by eating fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, spices and herbs – a healthy way of eating.

Antioxidants Maintain Great Health

Scientists believe antioxidants lower the risk of cancer by preventing free radicals from damaging DNA, and ease heart disease by controlling inflammation. Antioxidants support the immune system and are anti-aging. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends consuming a wide variety of plant food, between five and nine half-cup servings per day, to keep in good physical shape. Barry Sears, Ph. D., of The Zone Diet fame, suggests eating five servings of fruit and 10 servings of vegetables per day.

Antioxidants Include Phytochemicals

A big part of antioxidants is plant nutrients – phytochemicals – and they are classified in many unusual-sounding names that have come into general use. Plants use phytochemicals for self-protection, and the plant food protects humans too. Scientists know there are thousands of plant chemicals, and are in the midst of their research. Brightly colored fruit and vegetable peels are especially laden with wholesome phytochemicals.

A popular phytochemical class is the carotenoids, which are further broken down into now-familiar-sounding nutrients like beta-carotene (for example, carrots and broccoli), lycopene (tomatoes and watermelon) and lutein (kiwi and romaine lettuce). Another large family is the flavonoids, which include the anthocyanidins (berries and plums), flavanones (citrus fruit), and quercetins (apples and red onions). Then there are the cruciferous vegetables containing sulforaphane (cabbage and cauliflower) and indole (Brussels sprouts and broccoli).

Actually, most fruits and vegetables are composed of hundreds of nutrients; for example, some of the known ingredients in red grapes are resveratrol, quercetin, and ellagic acid, while popular nutrients in kale include beta-carotene, lutein, quercetin, sulforaphane and indole.

Surprising Facts about Antioxidants

The National Institute on Aging, an arm of the United States National Institutes of Health, developed a measurement system for comparing antioxidant capacity in nutrients. The unit of measurement is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). It turns out that small amounts of herbs and spices are more heavily packed with antioxidants than larger amounts of fruits and vegetables. For example, just one teaspoon of ground cinnamon scores a 6956 on the ORAC scale, whereas a comparatively large half cup of broccoli rates a 620.

The top five antioxidants are found in beans and blueberries, according to the June 9, 2004 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rated just fruits, vegetables and nuts, and came up with this order:
  1. half cup of small, dried red beans
  2. one cup of wild blueberries
  3. half cup of dried, red kidney beans
  4. half cup of pinto beans
  5. one cup of cultivated blueberries
Number 17 on the USDA list is the common, humble and cheap russet potato. It was developed over 100 years ago and if grown in Idaho, USA, is called the Idaho potato. Besides rated highly for antioxidants, the lowly russet is nutritious. Nutritiondata.com analyzed a large, cooked potato that had seven grams of fiber, eight grams of protein, minimal salt and sugar and no sat or trans fats.

Although it had 290 calories, it was high in vitamin C. The trick is not to spoil this wholesome food with unhealthy condiments.

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Watery Vegs and Calories Dropping

Watery Vegs
Use in your meals vegetables that have a high water content. You can liquidate extra calories by eating vegetables high in H20. Several studies found that that when people ditched half the meat and rice in their meal for broccoli, they consumed 86 fewer calories and felt just as full. It means we can reduce our calorie intake without having to give up portion size. Study also showed that vegetables are satiating because they contain water, which bulks food up. For the wettest of the bunch, use red peppers, courgettes, cucumber, cauliflower and peppers – armbands optional.
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Proteins from Fruits and Vegetables Only


Fruits and Legumes
If you are on a diet of fruits and vegetables only, it is likely that your total protein intake will have about 5% of calories or even slightly higher. Adding a small quantity of nuts or seeds results in a slight increase in protein intake percentage.

For example:
  • A meal of 10 peaches (420 calories) yields 7 grams of protein.
  • Another meal of 10 bananas (1,085 calories) supplies 12 grams of protein.
  • A bowl of soup made from 3 tomatoes blended with 2 cucumbers calories) supplies more than 7 additional grams of protein.
  • A pint of fresh-squeezed orange juice (225 calories) offers nearly 3.5 grams of protein.
  • One medium head of lettuce (about 50 calories) provides about 5.5 grams of protein.
  • Even if we have only eaten 1,930 calories so far, the total protein consumed is 35 grams (over 6% of calories).
In this case it is recommended for total calorie consumption to be higher than most official recommendations. This is because an increased calorie intake when accompanied by a commensurate increase in fitness activity results in an overall higher level of fitness and health. It is this increase in calorie consumption, from an intake of fruits and vegetables, that assures the consumer of nutritional sufficiency. In nature, we would have to be healthy in order to survive. We would also eat fruits and vegetables, the most nutritious of all foods. In order to be well nourished, we are designed to consume the significant quantities of fruits and vegetables that would be eaten by a healthy, fit, active person.
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Vegetable Juices


Vegetable Juices

Beetroot. Beetroot juice has a strong taste and a dark, red colour and is usually mixed with other juices such as carrot, cucumber, apple or celery. It is an excellent all-round ionic and blood and kidney cleanser, as are the green beetroot leaves, if you can get bold of them. Cooked beetroots can he used for juicing, but raw are far belter. Beetroot juice is rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6 and folic acid (part of the B group), and the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. sodium and zinc.

Carrot. The thick, bright orange juice of carrots is a mainstay of mixed vegetable juices, as its sweetness combines well with other varieties of juice. Drunk on Its own it has a slightly spicy taste and is delicious with a few sprigs of fresh chopped herbs. It is renowned for its ability 10 cleanse the liver of excess fats, and can aid digestion. Carrot juice is very high in beta-carotene, particularly so in more mature carrots, and rich in the minerals calcium and magnesium.

Celery. Celery juice has a slightly salty taste due to its high sodium content, and is more watery than other juices. It is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system, and reduces cravings for sweet foods, both of which are beneficial during a detox plan. Celery juke also has a diuretic effect and helps tackle fluid retention. It is especially rich in the minerals sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, chlorine and calcium.

Cucumber. Cucumber juice has a mild diuretic effect which can help reduce fluid retention. Because it is so watery ii makes an excellent mixer for thicker, more concentrated juices, such as beetroot spinach and watercress. Cucumber is high in the minerals potassium, chlorine, sulphur and calcium, and moderately high in the vitamin folic acid (part of the B group vitamins).

Spinach. Spinach juice is chock-full of vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll. As a result it is an extremely effective cleansing and strengthening ionic, particularly for the liver, me gall bladder, and the bloodstream. Because it is so concentrated and strong to the taste, spinach juice is mixed with other juices or drunk sparingly. You should not drink more than a couple of spinach juice cocktails each week, because it also contains oxalic acid, which can prevent the mineral calcium from being absorbed. Spinach is especially rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid (pan of the B group of vitamins), beta-carotene, and the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
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