Which vegetables have no health benefits?

Fruits and Vegetables: Health Benefits and Storage

Fruits and vegetables are healthy. We get that on our way as children. But why actually? Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins and numerous minerals, but have a low energy density. Another component are the secondary plant substances. They make fruits and vegetables so valuable and healthy. More than 100,000 of these plant substances are known and they take on a wide variety of functions in the plant itself. Some are responsible for the beautiful color, some protect against predators and still others regulate the growth of the plant.

Fruit and vegetables: regular consumption offers many advantages © Tomo Jesenicnik - Fotolia

Definition: the difference between fruits and vegetables

Actually, we already know what vegetables and fruits are. But if you take a closer look, it is no longer so clear. Both vegetables and fruits are plant-based ingredients that can be consumed. The difference between fruits and vegetables can be seen botanical explain: Fruit usually comes from perennial plants. This means that an apple tree sheds new fruit every year for several years. Vegetable plants, on the other hand, have to be sown anew every year, such as cauliflower.

Fruit is also often called Fruit of the respective plant viewed. Vegetables, on the other hand, are “only” part of a plant. Cucumber, pumpkin and tomato are also fruits, but are commonly considered vegetables. On the other hand, rhubarb, which is the leaf stem and not the fruit of the plant, is often counted as a fruit. The botanical definitions and the general, everyday assignment of fruits and vegetables differ in a few exceptional cases.

Fruit and vegetables: 5 a day!

So there are many good reasons to eat enough fruit and vegetables every day: healthy, tasty, low in calories, cheap and it prevents diseases. Nevertheless, only a good half of all Germans consume enough fruit and vegetables a day. The rule of thumb is to eat fruit and vegetables five times a day. Ideally, three servings of fresh or lightly cooked vegetables and two servings of fruit. In total, it should be around 650 grams a day. Since this is difficult for many, here are some tips to make it easier for you to find them "5 a day rule" to implement and incorporate into your everyday life:

  • Always have fruit and vegetables close at hand when you get hungry. For example, with a fruit and vegetable basket next to the desk in the office.
  • Try to be vegetarian a few days a week. In this way you will be sensitized to new varieties of fruit and vegetables.
  • Many delicious products can also be conjured up from fruit and vegetables. Try it with jam made from fresh fruits, dried fruit, antipasti or delicious chutneys.
  • Cook recipes with a lot of vegetables, for example pan-fried dishes with rice or pasta. Peppers, carrots and broccoli with it and the vegetable requirement of the day is covered. Then an apple and a few berries for dessert - voilà!
  • Make sure you have a seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables. So you automatically have a varied menu.

Real good mood food

In an English study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, around 300 students kept an online diary of their mood and eating behavior. In particular, fruit, vegetables, biscuits, chips and cakes were asked about. There was a clear correlation between the amount of fruits and vegetables as well as that positive feelings. If the students ate more fruit and vegetables, they felt calmer, more satisfied and had more energy afterwards (and sometimes also the next day). This relationship could not be established for sweet and fatty foods.

The “Therapeutic” vegetable and fruit dose you can achieve, for example, a cup of raspberries in the morning, a salad at noon, a handful of raw vegetables in the afternoon and a dish with lots of vegetables in the evening. The research team wasn't sure whether it was just the nutrients in fruits and vegetables or whether the evaluation played a role: namely, that we feel better because we ate healthy. You have the opportunity to try it out for yourself. Fruit and vegetables always taste good and you can never overeat them.

Fruits and vegetables prevent diseases

For years we have been bombarded with nutritional advice from all sides. For example, to protect against cancer, we should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, use olive oil for the sake of the heart, and omit animal fat because it clogs the arteries. But ever new studies feed doubts about these recommendations. What's right now? There are only two dietary rules that are correct across the board and in the long term: If you don't eat anything, you starve to death. If you eat too much, you get fat. Everything else is constantly in flux. Some rules are true, others are completely out of thin air. Some are exaggerated, others not impressive enough.

Many studies have now shown that fruits and vegetables can prevent certain diseases. The phytochemicals absorbed through fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in particular. Fruit and vegetables are also said to have a positive effect on certain types of cancer. Lots of secondary plant substances namely have a positive effect on our cholesterol level, support the functions of our blood vessels, have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. For a healthy diet, try to take in as many of the phytochemicals as possible. For this, it is advisable to integrate pulses, nuts and seeds into daily meals.

What makes fruits and vegetables so valuable?

The beneficial effects of a plant-based diet can be seen within a few weeks Your skin's appearance. In addition, the vegetable diet leads to positive changes in risk factors such as weight reduction, lower blood pressure or improved blood lipid levels. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts not only provide your body with vitamins and minerals, but also with them phytochemicals. In contrast to vitamins and minerals, they are not essential for life, but they still perform important tasks in your body.

Researchers now know more than 100,000 different phytochemicals and are constantly discovering new positive effects on your health. Scientific studies repeatedly show that a high consumption of vegetables and fruits is the Risk of some diseases significantly reduced. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, osteoporosis, neurological diseases and eye diseases (macular degeneration) occur much less frequently with a high consumption of vegetables and fruit.

Secondary plant substances protect and strengthen the body

ingredientFunction and possible effectz. B. included in
CarotenoidsStrengthening of the immune system, protection of skin and mucous membranes, protection against cancerTomato, carrot, kale, fennel, spinach, chicory, paprika, apricot, mango, pumpkin
Protease inhibitorsProtection against cancer and cell damageSoybean, potato, grain
Lowering the risk of cancer
Cabbage vegetables, radish, cress, radishes, sauerkraut, mustard
MonoterpenesProtection against cancer, infections, antimicrobialCitrus fruits, spices such as caraway, anise, fennel, coriander, basil
PhytoestrogensProtection against hormone-dependent cancersLegumes, cereals, flax seeds, soy
PhytosterolsProtection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, lowering cholesterolSoybean, avocado, legumes, nuts, sesame, sunflower seeds
PolyphenolsProtection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cell damage, infections, inflammationRed cabbage, radishes, red onions, red salads, eggplant, cherry, grape, plum, strawberry, cocoa, red wine, coffee, black and green tea
SaponinsProtection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infections, strengthens the immune systemOats, legumes, asparagus, spinach
SulphidesProtection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cell damage, infections, inflammation, digestive disordersGarlic, onion, leek, chives

Cardiovascular diseases: carrots and tomato juice

People who eat a lot of leafy vegetables are less likely to have cardiovascular problems. This is the conclusion reached in 2011 by scientists at the University of Florence, Italy, after having worked for eight yearsLifestyle and eating habits observed by 30,000 study participants. More precisely: The risk was reduced in the group with the highest consumption (with a daily vegetable consumption of over 300 grams) by 46 percent compared to the group with the lowest consumption, i.e. with test persons who ate only 100 grams of green vegetables or less a day.

Many other studies around the world have come to a similar conclusion in recent years. This is also the case with a study by Georgetown University in Washington DC (USA) from 2013: More than 1,900 study participants showed that the risk of acute heart disease with every serving of green vegetables per day with regular consumption decreased by 12 percent. A key reason: green vegetables are rich in folic acid. And this B vitamin protects against vascular deposits which, in the worst case, can lead to a heart attack or stroke. So reach for lamb's lettuce, rocket, Swiss chard or spinach every day. It is worth it!

You can also protect your heart with colorful vegetables

In addition to green vegetables, the colorful varieties also offer you a certain protection. This was shown, among other things, in the Women's Health Study, which was carried out in numerous clinics in the USA in the 1990s and 2000s. Over 39,000 women took part in the research. The scientists investigated, among other things, the extent to which nutrition is Heart health influenced. The result: Eating tomatoes protects against cardiovascular problems.

Scientists from the renowned Harvard Medical School in Boston (USA) soon discovered that the Lycopene content in blood plasma the key factor is. Lycopene is a secondary plant substance that belongs to the group of carotenoids. It has an antioxidant effect, which means that the substance intercepts harmful oxygen radicals in your body. These oxygen radicals are partly responsible for aging processes on and in your blood vessels. You can absorb the red dye lycopene from tomatoes and tomato products, for example; but it can also be found in apricots or red grapefruit.

Therefore, you should eat plenty of carrots and peppers

Other carotenoids in vegetables also protect against cardiovascular diseases: This is proven, among other things, by a study by the University of California in Los Angeles (USA): The content of antioxidant substances measured in the blood and precursors of atherosclerosis over a period of 18 months.

The result: the more carotenoids in the blood (e.g. lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and α-carotene), the lower the risk of atherosclerosis. For example, there is a high content of these secondary plant substances in Carrots or red peppers. So it pays off for you to cook dishes with these delicious vegetables at least two to three times a week.

This is how fruits keep for a long time

Do you know that: You come home from shopping and don't really know whether the fruit you just bought is in the fridge belongs? With a few exceptions, a simple rule of thumb can help you: domestic food likes it cool, exotic fruits like it warm.

That means: apples are best stored at temperatures below 8 ° C. Bananas or citrus fruits, on the other hand, should be kept at room temperature, because cool temperatures would be Cell tissue of the tropical fruits damage. Kiwis are an exception: the small green fruits can be stored in the refrigerator without any problems.

High humidity protects apples

If you want to store apples that you may have picked yourself in the garden for a longer period of time, then it is best to look for a damp place. An apple quickly uses up its own water reserves and then becomes wrinkled. If you store apples at high humidity, feel free to do so dry out out. For example, unheated basement rooms are ideal storage spaces. Also, turn the fruit every now and then so that there are no bruises.

Beware of the plant hormone ethylene!

Some types of fruit produce a lot of ethylene. This plant hormone accelerates the ripening process, but ultimately also ensures that fruits go bad. Apples, just like apricots and plums, for example, emit a particularly large amount of ethylene. To a premature spoilage of neighboring fruits To avoid this, you should keep these types of fruit as isolated as possible. That means: If there is enough space, it is best to place apples in such a way that they do not touch each other.

By the way: You can also use ethylene to your advantage. For example, if you want your bananas to ripen faster, put them in a bowl along with apples. The ethylene given off by the apples accelerates the process Maturation process of the bananas. Tomatoes also give off a lot of ethylene. It is therefore best not to store tomatoes with other types of fruit or vegetables. Store tomatoes in a dry, airy place outside of the refrigerator. In addition: Wash fruit or vegetables just before consumption. This way it will last longer. Because after contact with water, the fruits are more susceptible to germs.

The temperatures in the refrigerator are so different

Air circulates in your refrigerator: warm air rises, cold air sinks. In the top refrigerator compartment, the temperature is around 10 ° C. Here you can stow food that does not need to be stored too cool. This includes jam, dressing or eggs. Temperatures of around 5 to 6 ° C prevail on the middle level. This is the best place to store dairy products.

In the lowest compartment you will encounter temperatures of around 2 ° to 5 ° C: Here should perishable foods lying, for example meat, fish or sausage. The glass plate over the fruit and vegetable drawers keeps out the cold. That is why the temperature in the fruit and vegetable compartments is only 8 to 9 ° C. Even in the refrigerator door it is only 8 ° C cold. Drinks can be stowed here, for example.

Stay with the original from nature!

The recommendation to eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible is still undisputed. Because the consumption of fruit and vegetables protects you indirectly against cancer and other diseases: Those who eat a lot of fresh greens are less likely to be overweight. And Obesity is considered a risk factor for the development of the disease.

Above all, however, fruits and vegetables have a positive influence on cardiovascular diseases. This is not only due to the secondary plant substances, but also to their high content of essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Scientific studies show that these substances work best when they are taken in together with many other phytochemicals and not as a synthetically produced individual substance in pills. So forget about it Food supplements and treat your body to the original from nature: Eat vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts.

If you want to dry fruits or vegetables yourself

Either dry the fruit and vegetables outside or in the well-ventilated attic, but not directly in the sun, near an oven or in the attic, or you can dry them in the oven or in special dehydrators. The latter method is more likely to be used in our latitudes, as our climatic conditions are very seldom suitable for drying. The drying temperature should be between 30 and 50 degrees lie. It is also best to use only fruits and vegetables of the very first organic quality for drying. Fruits and vegetables should be fully ripe and not have any damaged areas. Wash and clean your dry goods thoroughly, then dry them carefully. It is best not to peel the dry food, because you will lose many vital substances that are located directly under the peel. You shorten the drying time by chopping fruit and vegetables, but this in turn comes at the expense of the ingredients. You have to shrink apples and pears, otherwise they will never get really dry.

Now spread the dry goods side by side on grids or grids that you have previously lined with gauze. For example, the grids from your oven, grain and flour sieves or baskets with a wide woven base are suitable. Place your drying device a little higher so that air can get in from below. Make sure that the grids can be cleaned properly and will not rust. If the fruit or vegetables are suitable for this, you can also thread them, such as apple rings, mushrooms or peppers. If you are drying in the oven, stick a wooden spoon between the door and the oven so that the Moisture escape can. The drying time depends on where you are drying your dry food, what it is and how big the pieces are. You shouldn't need more than four days in the sun. It can take between six and twelve hours in the oven. Check the items to be dried regularly, possibly turning them over a few times.

Many types of fruit are suitable for drying:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Mulberries

Rule of thumb for the amount: For one kilo of dried apple rings you need about ten kilos of fresh apples.

Why lactic acid vegetables are so healthy

People have been using lactic acid fermentation to preserve food for ages. The Chinese made long-life sauerkraut out of perishable cabbage 6,000 years ago. At that time, our ancestors did not know that microorganisms had done the work in this preservation process and used lactic acid fermentation from the observation that this process apparently inhibited putrefactive and disease germs.

Acid fermentation is suitable for:

  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Bean

Of all types of lactic sour vegetables, the sauerkraut, which is considered typically German, is certainly best known to us. But all other types of cabbage such as savoy cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi and red cabbage are also suitable for fermentation.

Fermented foods are particularly rich in healthy vital substances

The principle of lactic acid fermentation is very simple and easy to understand: Lactic acid bacteria, which are naturally found on all vegetables, break down the carbohydrates (starch and sugar) contained in the vegetables into organic acids - above all lactic acid - under certain conditions. This not only makes the vegetables durable, but also inhibits the growth of undesirable germs. Because the vegetables are not heated, they contain all of the vital substances and there are even more

Due to the influence of lactic acid:

  • Enzymes
  • vitamin C
  • Acetylcholine
  • Vitamin B12
  • probitonic lactic acid bacteria
  • from trivalent iron the more easily digestible bivalent iron
  • secondary plant substances

Since vitamin B12 is otherwise only found in animal foods, lactic acid vegetables are a good addition to a healthy diet for vegans.

The lactic acid promotes a healthy intestinal flora

During the fermentation process, new, active lactic acid bacteria are formed, which have a positive effect on the composition of our intestinal flora. Since 80% of our immune system is proven to be located in the intestine, the bacteria in lactic acid vegetables have a soothing effect on chronic inflammation, allergies and autoimmune processes. Overall, the immune system is stabilized by eating the fermented vegetables.

Because the carbohydrates, including the almost indigestible cellulose in vegetables, have already been broken down during the fermentation process, lactic acid vegetables are easier to digest and, despite their fiber, hardly causes flatulence.

With fermented vegetables you detoxify your body

The fermented vegetables not only develop the intestinal flora, they also provide important enzymes for digestion. As a result, the nutrients can be better utilized and more energy can be obtained from less food.

But the microorganisms contained in lactic acid not only help to break down the food better, they also help to bind toxins and accelerate their removal.

At the same time, fermented vegetables are safer than untreated ones because they do not contain the harmful E. coli germs that are often found in raw vegetables. The pathological pathogens are killed during fermentation, as the lactic acid bacteria are the stronger and displace the coli bacteria.

Products offered in stores are often not of much use

Unfortunately, if you feel like eating lactic acid and want to go to the nearest supermarket right away, I have to disappoint you: Industrially produced lactic acid vegetables do not have the health effects described. Most of the lactic acid vegetables sold in canned foods and jars are ultra-heated and pasteurized. This not only kills bad but also good bacteria and unfortunately many vital substances also fall by the wayside.

In addition, sugar and too much sodium are usually added to canned foods, which is not beneficial for health. To benefit from the health effects of fermented vegetables, buy fresh sauerkraut from the health food store or ferment your vegetables yourself.

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