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Getting the most from healthy fruits and vegetables

Getting the most from healthy fruits and vegetables
Tony Robinson

Fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest of all foods, and
the great variety of these foods at the local grocery store
makes it easier than every to enjoy great meals and snacks
anytime the mood strikes you.

The latest food guidelines recommend that adults eat from five
to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. While that
may seem like a lot, it is an important goal to strive for, and
a very reachable one.

A serving of a fruit or vegetable is equal to:

1 medium sized vegetable or fruit (such as an apple,
orange or banana) 2 small fruits (such as kiwi fruit or
plums)  cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruits or
vegetables  cup of 100% fruit juice  cup of
dried fruit 1 cup of green salad

Eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is a great
way to start a healthier lifestyle. Diets high in fruits and
vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease,
diabetes, stroke and even some kinds of cancer. Diets high in
fruits and vegetables are also important in maintaining a
healthy weight.

Since different varieties of fruits and vegetables contain
different types and levels of nutrients, it is important to each
a good variety of fruits and vegetables. Eating a good
combination of yellow, orange, red and green fruits and
vegetables is a great way to ensure adequate levels of nutrition.

Fruits and vegetables are also an important source of fiber. One
way to maximize the amount of fiber you get from fruits and
vegetables is to eat the entire fruit and vegetable including
the edible peel. Eating fruits and vegetables whole, instead of
simply drinking fruit juice, is the best way to enjoy the fiber
these foods have to offer. Orange juice may be very healthy, but
it does not contain the same amount of fiber as a whole orange.

Getting sufficient fiber in the diet offers a great many health
benefits, including aiding in digestion, lowering levels of
cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of heart disease and
stroke, and reducing the chances of some forms of cancer. In
addition, fiber is though to play an important role in
controlling levels of blood sugar in diabetics. Fiber also helps
dieters feel full while limiting the number of calories you
consume.

Many people wonder if canned and frozen fruits and vegetables
are as healthy and nutritious as the fresh varieties. The simple
answer to this question is yes. Canned and frozen fruits and
vegetables contain just as many vitamins and minerals as their
fresh counterparts, so it is fine to replace fresh fruits and
vegetables with canned and frozen varieties when fresh ones are
not available.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are often less expensive, however,
especially when they are in season. In addition, local farmers
markets and produce stands are often great sources of the
freshest, most delicious fruits and vegetables at some excellent
prices.

How vegetables and fruits are prepared is just as important as
how they are chosen. It is important to rinse fresh fruit and
vegetables thoroughly under clean running water. This step is
important in order to remove any dirt, pesticide residue or
bacterial contamination. The outermost leaves of lettuce and
cabbage should be removed, and the outside of root vegetables
like carrots and potatoes should be removed, especially if you
plan to consume the skins of those vegetables. Vegetables and
fruits should be washed right before they are used in order to
keep them as fresh as possible.

The best ways to cook vegetables in order to maintain their
freshness are to boil, microwave or steam the veggies until they
are tender and crisp. It is best to use as little water as
possible when cooking vegetables. That is because overcooking
can destroy some of the valuable vitamins and minerals the
vegetables contain.

About the author:

Tony Robinson is a Company CEO, webmaster husband and dad. In
his busy lifestyle he has placed importance on health and
fitness. Visit http://www.eat-healthily.com for good eating tips
and techniques to assist you maintain a healthy lifestyle.


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Eat a variety of foods for a healthy lifestyle

Eat a variety of foods for a healthy lifestyle
Zaak OConan

Everyone knows that variety is important when it comes to diet. Not only is eating the same foods every day boring, but it is extremely unhealthy as well. That is because each type of food contains different nutrients, and different levels of those nutrients. The best way to eat healthy is to eat a wide variety of foods from all the food groups.

It is important to eat a good combination of meats, beans, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. All these foods contain important nutrients, and no vitamin pill in existence can provide the vast variety of nutrients your body needs every day.

Of course simply eating foods from a variety of sources is not enough. It is also important to make smart choices within those food groups. After all, nonfat yogurt and an hot fudge sundae are both dairy products! The best choice in that situation should be obvious, but other choices are more subtle.

Fortunately, the nutritional labels which are required on all packaged foods are a big help for those pursuing a healthier diet. Not only do these labels contain information on the number of calories, fat grams, etc., but they provide detailed information on the levels of many important vitamins and minerals as well.

When choosing healthy foods, small changes can have a huge impact. Simply exchanging fresh, low fat fish for higher fat meats can greatly lower the amount of fat in your diet and increase your level of health.

Replacing highly processed grains for more nutritious whole grain products can also have a great impact on healthy eating. In nutritional terms, less is often more – that is less processing and less refining. Processing and refining methods can strip many vital nutrients from foods, so choosing less refined whole grain foods is important.

Cooking techniques are also very important when maximizing the health benefits of the foods you choose. After taking the time to choose the healthiest, freshest broccoli in the supermarket, it would be quite a waste to slather that cooked broccoli with cheese and butter, for instance.

It would also be a mistake to overcook that broccoli, especially by boiling it in water for a long time. That is because vegetables can lose significant amounts of nutrients through overcooking. When preparing fresh vegetables, it is best to quickly steam them in the microwave or on the stove, using as little water as possible. Use only enough water to keep the vegetables from scorching.

When cooking potatoes, it is a good idea to eat the entire potato, including the skin. Potato skins contain significant levels of nutrients, including fiber, vitamins and minerals. Cooking a baked potato in the microwave, or on the grill, is a great way to make the skin moist and delicious. In addition, these methods of cooking minimize the need for high fat butter or sour cream to flavor the potato. In place of these high fat options, why not use a dollop of plain nonfat yogurt, or some low fat cottage cheese?

Choosing a variety of foods is important to a healthy lifestyle, but it just as important to limit the amount of certain foods. Foods high in sugar, and those high in sodium should be avoided as much as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that piece of cake or serving of potato chips as an occasional snack; it simply means limiting regular consumption of these high fat, low nutrition products.

When adopting healthier eating habits, it is important to make changes that you can stick with for the long run. After all, a healthy eating lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. Changing your shopping, cooking and eating habits are not easy, but the many benefits make healthy eating an important habit to get into.
About the Author

Zaak O’Conan discovers and presents useful information on how to enhance and/or repair your life, body and relationships. You’ll find his other articles on eating better and other ways how to improve your life at http://your-health-center.com


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