This week’s challenge is about eating the appropriate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that your body needs for optimum health. Nutritionists agree that to stay healthy a person should have a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Nine servings are considered optimal for most people. One serving size is approximately ½ cup. Most people have an easier time with fruit than they do vegetables, but it’s important to include vegetables because they are extremely high in vitamins and minerals and they are generally low in calories. Although fruits also tend to be high in vitamins and minerals, they are higher in sugar. It’s almost impossible to eat too many vegetables, but this is not the case with fruit. For this reason, we recommend a two to one ratio of vegetables to fruit.
Despite what you might see in commercials, fruit juice,V8, and other drinks made from fruits and vegetables aren’t nearly as healthy for you as the real thing. It’s much better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Here are some reasons why:
One 8 ounce glass of orange juice has well over 100 calories in it. It takes about two and a half oranges to make up that many calories.
You don’t get the other benefits the actual Orange has to offer like roughage and the additional vitamins and minerals contained in the roughage. The actual fruit will make you full so you are less likely to overeat.
What is processed food? It is food which has been chemically altered with additives such as flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc. Generally speaking, if any of the ingredients in food aren’t “natural,” it can be considered to be processed. Extremely processed foods (think Twinkies) aren’t really even real food at all. They are edible “food-like” substances.
Processed food isn’t all bad. Processing has made the world’s food supply much safer to eat, and has made the storage of food a much healthier and more viable option. Processing kills pathogens, and extends the shelf life of food. If there was a food shortage or even a famine, processed food items would be remain edible and could keep you alive a lot longer than raw food, which would be rotten within a few days.
Despite these benefits, a diet exclusive in processed foods will almost certainly lead to disease. Our bodies thrive on natural, fresh foods; there’s no doubt about that. Fresh and unprocessed foods contain beneficial enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed through processing. Just because a pill
contains the “nutrients” of a whole shopping list of vegetables, it doesn’t mean that our bodies would get the same benefit as we would from eating the vegetables themselves. Nutrients, enzymes, and other components of the foods we eat work synergistically. We really don’t know how well they work when they’re isolated from each other, or when we ingest synthetic versions.
So realistically, how can we minimize the amount of processed food that we consume? Here are a few examples and guidelines to apply whenever possible:Have an apple instead of applesauce or apple juice.