I remember a time where I had to go on a very low carb diet in which I had to cut out sweets. Initially, I thought if its not a candy or soda, eating fruit would have the same nutritional value of me eating vegetables. Watermelon, mango, grapes, and oranges should be fine if I am trying to cut sweets right? Well, no…while these fruits are not unhealthy, a fruit contains more macronutrients which are the energy-giving and structural caloric components of our foods, and include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Apples, bananas, oranges (normally what we think of when we think of fruits) are concentrated with the simple carbohydrates or simple sugars, fructose. Fruits in general have a higher concentration of fructose than vegetables.
Vegetables generally contains a higher concentration of the micronutrients: vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are essential for good health. In general I eat more vegetables to support the healthy functioning of my organs, because of vegetable’s higher concentration of micronutrients.
The rainbow of vegetables provides essential antioxidants such as vitamins A and C and minerals such as selenium, which fight free radicals that can cause cell damage. Green veggies are especially high in chlorophyll, which aids digestion and helps detoxify the liver. The cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, contain potent anti-cancer properties. According to a study published in the October 24, 2006 issue of “Neurology,” participants 65 and older who consumed at least 2.8 vegetables per day slowed their cognitive decline by 40 percent, possibly due to the high vitamin E content in veggies. Fruit consumption, however, did not affect cognition.
If you are looking to to give your body foods that will help it to heal itself and to strengthen the immune system, concentrating leaf, stem, and bud vegetables into your diet appear to be a good idea. By consuming more vegetables than other foods you will increase your intake of the nutrients that support good health, while reducing high caloric foods. This approach is helpful to people who are not highly active and who want to lose weight, because you are giving your body the chance to burn stored energy, while also providing your organs with nutrients that will operate more efficiently. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.