Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Jane and I have been incredibly busy the last few weeks. And that means I’m really behind in my reading. It’s gotten so bad, that I’m tempted to just mark everything in my reader as “read” and start fresh. But then, there might be something really valuable that I might miss out on. For example, I just stumbled across an article in the New York Times which talks about the Best Way to Cook Vegetables. According to this article, raw is not necessarily better. I guess that makes sense… some things are probably more easily digested if they are partially cooked. But I always thought that the closer you could get to food in its natural state, the better off you’d be. That’s not necessarily the case. It depends on the nutrients you’re looking for. According to this article:

Boiling carrots, for instance, significantly increased measurable carotenoid levels, but resulted in the complete loss of polyphenols compared with raw carrots.

Not surprisingly, frying was the least nutritious way to prepare the vegetables looked at in this study. So, next time you’re at Johnny Rockets don’t count those french fries as a veggie! But it does help to eat your veggies with some fat. Lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene are absorbed in greater quantities when ingested with fat. That works for me… I love my tomatoes in guacamole! But I also really love my tomatoes right off the vine .

The overall recommendation here is to eat a large variety of fruits and vegetables daily, to help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and to help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol lower.

The latest dietary guidelines call for 5 to 13 servings – that is two and a half to six and a half cups a day. For a person who maintains her weight on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this translates into nine servings, or four and a half cups a day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

So make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies, prepared in a number of different ways. This will probably ensure that you’re getting all your nutrients. Or, as the old idiom goes, “variety is the spice of life.”

Don’t forget, we’re not medical professionals, so as always, seek nutritional advice from your practitioner of choice.

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