When you consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, you reduce your risk of heart disease, help prevent cancer and other serious illnesses. Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals that your body needs to maintain ideal overall health. An adult should consume 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables every day. One cup serving of fruit equals a full cup of 100% fruit juice, one small apple, a large banana, an orange or peach. One cup of vegetables could equal two large carrots, one large sweet potato or an ear of corn. Another suggestion is to just fill your plate with half fruit and vegetables.
Stop Throwing Away The Best Part
It might be easier for everyone to get these recommended servings if they did not throw out beneficial pieces of their favorite fruits and vegetables. Stop tossing those seeds, stems, skins and other parts of fruits and vegetables into the compost pile and start eating them.
The core and the skin are the healthiest parts of the apple
Apple peels are packed with more fiber and vitamins than the flesh of the apple. An antioxidant called quercetin helps support the lungs and brain. The core of an apple is a fibrous band thinner than the diameter of a pencil and not bad to the taste.
The seeds are also very nutritious however you will have to bite them to release the nutrients, in doing so you also release a not so pleasant taste. If you eat the apple from the top to bottom the core doesn’t even exist. If you go by the traditional “An Apple a Day” motto and you are tossing out about 30% of your apple priced around $1.30/lb then that is a waste of around $42 a year. No one likes to waste money so eat that whole apple and only toss out the stem.
Eat the stems of Silverbeet
Swiss chard (also known as silverbeet as well as many other names) is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is extremely rich in antioxidants such as; beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, lutein, quercetin, and kaempferol. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are believed to play a role in preventing the development of diseases. Swiss chard can regulate blood sugar, help strength bones and teeth, maintain a healthy circulatory system and promote hair growth. Most importantly those brightly colored stems have substantial amounts of glutamine which is an amino acid that helps maintain our bodies healing and repairing process. Chop and cook the stems up right with the leaves for an extra boost of healing powers.
Citrus peels have powerful healing properties
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits have compounds called flavonoids which have anticancer properties. Flavonoids have been proven to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and prevent the spread of tumors. Citrus flavonoids are also antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Flavonoids may improve blood flow through coronary arteries, reducing the ability to form blood clots and prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol. With very high doses of vitamin C and a good source of folate and potassium.
Citrus fruits help to protect the body from damaging free radicals and can help heal wounds. The peels of a citrus fruit have a chemical that may help lower cholesterol better than some prescription drugs. Other compounds in citrus fruit can help prevent heart disease and inflammation. Don’t want to eat a citrus peel, no problem just grated it into some of your favorite dishes for added flavor and a nutritious boost.
In regards to beetroot, both the root and leaves/stem are beneficial for your health
Beets are extremely nutritious and also happen to taste delicious. They are the second largest source of sugar after cane sugar. A few vitamins and minerals that beets and beet greens offer are potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene and folic acid. They are very beneficial to pregnant woman as the vitamin B helps promote new cell growth and help replenish iron.
Beets can cleanse and purify the blood and prevent various types of cancer. Beets contain betaine which is a substance that can be used in the treatment of depression. Another chemical found in beets is tryptophan, it can relax the mind and create a sense of well-being. Most people toss out the greens but beet greens provide the body with calcium, fiber and iron along with vitamins A and K.
Turnip greens (the tops) are the healthiest part of the vegetable
Turnips are a root vegetable that can be spicy and bitter. Turnip greens can also be eaten and they provide a higher concentration of nutrients than the turnip root alone. Turnips have a high level of antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help reduce the risk of cancer. A plant compound like glucosinolates help the liver process toxins, fight the effects of carcinogens on the body and might even hinder the growth of tumors.
They can help the body lower cholesterol and provide great amounts of folate, a B-vitamin that is critical to cardiovascular health. Turnip greens are an amazing source of two anti-inflammatory agents: vitamin K and omega 3 fatty acids. Vitamin K regulates the body’s inflammatory response systems and omega 3’s are essential building blocks for the body’s inflammation system and help reduce the risk of heart disease. Turnips and their leaves help promote a healthy digestive tract, strong bones and weight loss so be sure to devour those greens too.
Do not peel of the skin of the potato/sweet potato, it’s the healthiest part. However only eat the sweet potato leaves and not normal potato leaves, normal potato leaves are quite toxic!
Sweet Potatoes are loaded with vitamins and nutrients vital to overall health. High in vitamin B6 which can help reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with diseases like heart attacks and stroke. They also provide an excellent source of vitamin C which can help ward off colds and the flu. What most people do not know is that vitamin C plays a crucial role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. A great source of vitamin D which is important for our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones and heart.
Sweet Potatoes are full of iron which can help maintain red and white blood cell production, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein. Potato skins and the leaves provide niacin and phosphorus and a very good source of dietary fiber. As well as vitamin A, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium. Be sure to get those potatoes baked and chop those greens for that much needed increase of vitamins and nutrients.
Some other vegetables to look out for are carrot tops – more nutritious than the carrot itself and also raddish leaves but they are not very pleasant too eat (some varieties have furry leaves)
A tasty way to consume some of your favorite fruits and vegetables is in a delicious smoothie. Green smoothies can provide that boost of nutrients in an appealing smooth drink that taste great. You can experiment to quench your taste buds by adding left over or spare parts of fruits and vegetables.
When you think about a green smoothie you probably would use kale, spinach, romaine lettuce and collard greens. But there are other greens you can add you probably never thought about. Organic strawberry tops can be added along with the strawberries because there is no reason to remove the tops unless they are not organic. Radish and beet greens, as discussed above can offer a variety of minerals to your green smoothie. Parsley is loaded with iron, protein and fiber. The strong parsley flavor can easily be covered with pineapple, oranges or kiwi.
Smoothies are easy to make because you can use a mixture of just about anything. Kept cooled and in the correct container a smoothie will stay fresh for up to 24 hours making it portable for a great snack in the office. The extra fiber in a green smoothie can help you feel full and also help your digestive tract. A smoothie will not replace a meal you can drink it any time of the day and then eat your meals as well. Every time you eat or drink you are either feeding or fighting disease. Choose wisely and let food be you medicine.