We can classify the food we eat into three broad categories. Foods that give us energy, foods that help with growth, and foods that protect us from diseases.
Grains, potato, carrot, beetroots, and other root based vegetables provide us with energy.
Pulses and meat help with our growth.
Fruits and vegetables protect us from diseases and increase our immunity.
We need vitamins, and minerals for blood secretion, to strengthen the bones, and for the development of teeth. These nutrients are necessary to regulate various functions in our body. These Vitamins and Minerals are mainly sourced from fruits and vegetables.
We get Vitamins like Vitamin-C, Vitamin-A, Vitamin-B complex, and minerals such as iron, and calcium Almost all the fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients which are necessary for our good health.
Important Nutrients Present in Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamin-A is very vital for our eyes, skin, and growth of babies. Vitamin-A is present in abundance in orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables. Additionally, it is also present in many varieties of greens.
Vitamin-C is essential for teeth roots, gums, and also to strengthen the immune system in our body. Almost all the fruits contain Vitamin-C. In particular, it is rich in citrus fruits like orange, lemon, sweet lime etc. Gooseberry is one of the best sources of Vitamin-C. Apart from this, it is found in high levels in guava, custard apple, papaya, pineapple, and tomato. It is found in lesser to moderate levels in certain green vegetables and greens.
We need this vitamin to purify the blood, for maintaining healthy skin, to digest the food we eat, to prevent mouth ulcer, and to strengthen our eyesight. We can source Vitamin-B through greens.
Iron is one of the vital minerals for our body. It helps with transporting oxygen to the body cells. It makes up for nearly 70 percent of red blood cells called hemoglobin. Iron is rich in greens and green vegetables. Additionally, it is present in dry fruits like dates, and raisins.
Calcium is mainly found in our bones and teeth. It is very vital for our bone health. Apart from this, we need calcium for the healthy functioning of the heart, blood clot, muscle strength, and proper functioning of our nervous system. Milk and milk products are rich in calcium content.
Fibre plays an essential role in our regular foods. This is sourced through fruits and vegetables. Fibre is not present in meat. It helps with easing our digestion process and prevents constipation and colon cancer.
Fruits are generally considered as more expensive. It is true to some extent. Fruits that are imported from other countries and non-seasonal fruits are indeed expensive for our regular consumption. But on the other hand, there are seasonal fruits which are found in abundance during a particular season. These fruits are relatively less expensive and more affordable. Additionally, seasonal fruits satisfy the nutrition needs of that particular season. Some of the nutrients rich seasonal fruits are guava, mango, papaya, orange, and custard apple.
Citrus Fruits fruits like guava, sweet lime, lemon, are easily available during winter season. Consuming any of these fruits every day will supply us with needed levels of Vitamin-C.
On the other hand, there are also fruits that can be grown throughout the year, these fruits are also great for our health and are rich in nutrients. Banana, for example, is a great fruit to be had after dinner before going to sleep.
When we do not have properly balanced intake of fruits and vegetables, it leads to nutrition deficiency. So always plan your food beforehand and ensure it is nutrient rich. Fruits and vegetables must be consumed fresh as much as possible. Storing them in a warm place will lead to loss of nutrients. So always store the fruits and vegetables in cold and dry place. Majority of the nutrient contents in fruits and vegetables are present in its skin and the layer just below the surface of the skin. Consume it along with its skin, if it is not possible, just peel off only a thin layer of the outer skin.
Do not throw away leaves of vegetables like radish, carrot, and beetroot. Use them in your salads or use it as a part of your food preparation.
Wash off the greens before chopping them down. Do not wash it after chopping them down into small pieces.
Boil the vegetables in a closed container. Use only a little water that is needed to cook the vegetables.