Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Benefits of Vitamin K..

Vitamin K is commonly known to aid in blood clotting. When the body is injured, vitamin K initiates the process of healing by slowing and stopping the bleeding. For this reason, vitamin K is often given to patients before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding. Although this is the primary function of vitamin K, this vitamin has several more health benefits.

Vitamin K helps the body absorb the beneficial mineral calcium. Recent studies have suggested that vitamin K can help prevent or treat osteoporosis and the loss of bone density. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, it is important to make sure you maintain healthy levels of vitamin K.

Recent studies suggested that vitamin K also has preventive and treatment benefits for cancer. Several human trials have shown that vitamin K may have anticancer effects.

Vitamin K also prevents the hardening of the arteries, which aids in preventing heart disease and heart failure.

Vitamin K is present in many green, leafy vegetables. Many people do not eat the recommended amount of these foods to receive the benefits of vitamin K. For this reason, most people should take additional vitamin K, especially if you or your family has a history of osteoporosis or heart disease.

Benefits of Vitamin E..

Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage. Vitamin E also contributes to a healthy circulatory system and aids in proper blood clotting and improves wound healing. Some studies have shown that vitamin E decreases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and certain types of breast disease.

Other studies have shown that taking large doses of Vitamin E has decreased the risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Animal studies have suggested that vitamin E does slow the development of atherosclerosis, but the American Heart Association doesn't recommend using supplements until the effects are proven in large-scale, carefully controlled clinical trials.

Nutritionists categorize vitamins by the materials that a vitamin will dissolve in.

There are two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K and are stored in the fat tissues of the body for a few days to up to six months. If you get too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be stored in your liver and may sometimes cause health problems. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Other Vitamins:

  • Biotin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Some people take mega-doses of fat-soluble vitamins, which can lead to toxicity. Eating a normal diet of foods rich in these vitamins won't cause a problem. Remember, you only need small amounts of any vitamin.

Some health problems can make it hard for a person's body to absorb these vitamins. If you have a chronic health condition, ask your doctor about whether your vitamin absorption will be affected.

How Much Vitamin E Is Enough?

Women need 8 milligrams and men need 10 milligrams of vitamin E daily.

Sources of Vitamin E

  • Wheat germ
  • Vegetable oil and margarine
  • Avocado
  • Whole grain products
  • Egg yolk
  • Nuts
  • Liver
  • Peanut butter

Can You Have Too Much or Too Little?

It's almost impossible to have a vitamin E deficiency, but too much can cause nausea and digestive tract problems.

Vitamin Storage

If you want to get the most vitamins possible from your food, refrigerate fresh produce, and keep milk and grains away from strong light. Vitamins are easily destroyed and washed out during food preparation and storage. If you take vitamin supplements, store them at room temperature in a dry place that should be free of moisture.

The Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important part of a healthy diet. New benefits of this vitamin are being discovered every day, but many people still do not receive enough vitamin D to reap the wonderful benefits it can provide to their health. Vitamin D is most famous for its contribution to joint and bone health by helping the body absorb calcium. It has been shown that people who take in enough vitamin D are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis and joint pain. This vitamin can also slow the affects of arthritis and lessen back pain in many individuals. Studies have shown that vitamin D can also prevent certain types of cancer.

Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins produced naturally by the body. However, in order for the body to produce vitamin D, it has to be exposed to an adequate amount of sunlight. Generally, an hour per week is more than enough, but surprisingly, many people are still not exposed to enough sun to produce beneficial amounts of vitamin D. Also, studies have shown that as we age, we tend to produce less vitamin D even with adequate sun exposure. These are the primary reasons why many adults have to monitor their diets to make sure they are taking in enough vitamin D.

Milk is often fortified with vitamin D, and you can also find good amounts of vitamin D in certain kinds of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil is an herbal supplement that is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are also widely available.

While it is important to have enough vitamin D in your diet, it is possible to take in too much vitamin D. This often happens when a person receives a good amount of sun exposure and consumes many foods that contain moderate amounts of vitamin D, but also continues to take a vitamin D supplement. For this reason, it is important to discuss with your doctor whether or not you require a vitamin D supplement as part of your diet.

Benefits of Vitamin C..

Vitamin C is a very popular treatment for colds and flu because it is well known for boosting the immune system.

Revered as an immune-booster vitamin C also aids in wound healing and is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage to the body. Vitamin C is also needed to build collagen, the substance that attaches the skeleton together, linking bones to muscles and keeping organs in place. Collagen is also responsible for keeping the skin smooth and wrinkle-free. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of other nutrients like calcium and iron.

Fact: Free radicals are destructive, unstable oxygen atoms that are normally produced by the body and production can be accelerated by outside toxins like pollution and smoking.

Daily Recommended Amount of Vitamin C

Daily amount needed for an adult is about 80mg, and an adult can safely take up to 1,000mg. Children should get about 15 mg to 45 mg per day. More can be supplemented for colds and healing wounds. Consult a health professional.

Fact: Vitamin C is often used as a food additive in the form of citric acid to provide color and as a preservative.

Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid literally means “acid that prevents scurvy”. Vitamin C deficiencies were first discovered on ships that were sailing to the “new world”. Often ships had barrels full of limes so that passengers could have lime juice every day to prevent scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy are rare, but milder symptoms can happen when intake is low. These include fatigue, weakness, bruising easily and depression. More serious symptoms are loose teeth and sore joints.

Some conditions can contribute to a vitamin C deficiency like diabetes, smoking, colds, flu’s, surgery, age, over consumption of alcohol, and breastfeeding. Often, supplementing is recommended for people with these conditions.

Can an Overdose happen with Vitamin C?

An overdose is extremely rare because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, but it can happen if too much is taken at one time. The symptoms of an overdose are nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Vitamin C should not be taken in high quantities for a long period of time. Often this can result in reversing some of the antioxidant benefits, and can actually act as a pro-oxidant. Also, because vitamin C aids in iron absorption, this can lead to an iron overdose. Be careful with high-dose supplements of vitamin C.

Where to get more Vitamin C

Vitamin C is in most fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources are citrus fruits, and tropical fruits like papayas, kiwis, and mangoes. Other fruits and vegetables that are a good source of vitamin C are cantaloupe, kale, strawberries, yellow bell peppers and tomatoes. Add strawberries to boost vitamin C intake

Benefits of Vitamins B..

Vitamin B is a complex of eight water soluble vitamins active in cell metabolism.

They include Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2, also called Vitamin G), Niacin (Vitamin B3, also called Vitamin P), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine and Pyridoxamine (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7, also called Vitamin H), Folic acid (Vitamin B9, also called Vitamin M) and Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).

Athletes, who use a lot of vitamin B, are very sensitive to a shortage of these vitamins. This is the result of a large literature study into the subject published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. A shortage of vitamin B has an immediate negative impact on athletic performance, recovery capacity and the immune.

The Power of Vitamin B

Everyone craves for tremendous brainpower. Some of us tend to have this mentality that such brainpower is out of our league. But in actual fact, it is not! It can all be achieved with a regular intake of Vitamin B.

B = Brain

Vitamin B is the key nutrient that one can rely on to boost brainpower. Majority of us should know by now that Vitamin B comes in different forms and each form has its own ways of helping our brains cells to function properly:

Vitamin B1 or Thiamin: It helps the brain to absorb glucose, which can prevent your brain from any sort of mutilation.

Vitamin B2: It is also known as Riboflavin. Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin. This vitamin involved in vital metabolic processes in the body. It is manufactured in the body by the intestinal flora and is easily absorbed, although very small quantities are stored, so there is a constant.

Vitamin B5: It is also known as pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 might be helpful in the management of certain medical disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin B5 is also known as the anti-stress vitamin at times. It is one of the eight water soluble B complex vitamins. Vitamin B5 helps production of the cellular antioxidant glutathione, and is therefore an essential vitamin.

Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine: It aids in the development of neurotransmitters, which are created so that our brain cells can correspond with one another.

Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin: It helps develop myelin, a fatty covering that gives padding to the nerve fibers, protecting the nerves in the brain from harmful germs.

Without this vitamin, you can end up facing memory loss.

Benefits of Vitamins A in our life..

We all know that there are certain substances called vitamins and minerals that we are supposed to consume in certain amounts each day in order to achieve and maintain good health. But if you haven’t been in a health class in a few years you may have forgotten the benefits, recommended daily allowances and sources of these substances. Consider this article a refresher on the first in the alphabet of vitamins, vitamin A.

What we know as vitamin A is actually a family of fat-soluble vitamins such as retinol, which is considered one of the most usable forms of vitamin A. It is found in animal products, such as eggs and liver.

Plant sources of vitamin A have what is known as provitamin A carotenoids, which are the dark pigments in plants such as dark leafy greens. This provitamin A carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A, which is important for vegetarians and others who might not eat the animal products that are rich in this vitamin.

Carotenoids have been in the news a lot lately, particularly forms such as beta carotene, lycopene and lutein, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from damage caused by pollution, aging and other factors. While lycopene and lutein are not provitamin A carotenoids, they are still important to a healthy diet and have been shown to have health benefits such as preventing heart disease and protecting eye health. Beta carotene is the carotenoid most easily converted into vitamin A. One source for beta carotene that everyone probably is familiar with is carrots.

Vitamin A is beneficial to the body because it helps cells. It aids in cell division and differentiation (helping a cell know what job it is supposed to do or what it will become) and maintains the surface lining of the intestinal, urinary and respiratory tracts. It also plays a role in immune-system support, helping your body fight off disease by producing white blood cells. Vitamin A also plays a role in reproduction, bone growth and in vision (your mother wasn’t kidding when she told you to eat your carrots so you could see well).

But how much vitamin A is enough?

The recommended daily intake is measured in micrograms, a very small unit of measurement. Toddlers need about 300 micrograms, older children about 400, pre-teens 600, teen and adult men about 900 micrograms, and non-nursing or pregnant women need about 700 micrograms a day. The needed amount goes up slightly during pregnancy and jumps dramatically (to about 1,300 micrograms) when nursing.

How much is that when you’re talking about actual food? You can get 100 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin A from a cup of raw cantaloupe. A standard serving of canned chunky vegetable soup will probably give you slightly more than 100 percent. A carrot gives you 400 percent and 3 ounces of cooked beef liver gives you 610 percent (chicken liver would give you 280 percent of the recommended allowance). Other animal sources of vitamin A include eggs and whole milk.

If you don’t want to resort to eating liver, there are many vegetables that are high in vitamin A. In addition to cantaloupe and carrots, servings of sweet potatoes, spinach and mango will give you more than 100 percent of the daily allowance of vitamin A. Other good sources are kale, fortified oatmeal or cereal and tomato juice.

Don’t worry if your diet includes a lot of these foods. It takes a fair amount of vitamin A to make you sick, and it usually has to be consumed over a long period of time. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, the excess is stored in the liver, so that is where damage will occur if you get too much vitamin A for a long time. A common cause of what is called hypervitaminosis A is getting too much A through supplements or from animal products. The vitamin A that comes from beta carotene is not associated with this ailment, so if your big doses of A come from veggies, you should be fine.

The upper tolerance level has been measured at more than twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Consuming more than this won’t necessarily make you sick, but you might want to cut back if you’re regularly eating a lot more than that, or stop taking any vitamin supplements containing vitamin A if you get enough through food.

Signs of acute vitamin A toxicity include nausea, lack of muscle coordination, headache, dizziness and blurred vision. Hypervitaminosis A can cause liver abnormalities, birth defects and bone loss that could result in osteoporosis.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the industrialized world, but in developing countries this lack can cause xeropthalmia, damage to the cornea, and it often causes children to go blind. Night blindness is often thought of as one of the warning signs of vitamin A deficiency. Lack of vitamin A can also make it harder for the body to fight infection, which can lead to other health problems, particularly pneumonia and other respiratory or diarrheal infections.

Vegetarians who do not consume animal products may need to supplement (make sure the vitamin A pills you are using come from a vegetarian source) or make sure to eat a variety of vegetables, including dark leafy greens and other dark vegetables each day. It is certainly possible to get enough vitamin A from vegetables without using supplements or fortified foods, but if you don’t like greens or carrots you may need some extra help.

Some studies suggest that diets high in vitamin A and beta carotene can reduce the risk of lung cancer. Others show that high doses of vitamin A may interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption, thus increasing risk for osteoporosis. Most of these studies had to do with supplements and animal products eaten at more than three times the recommended allowance for vitamin A, so it’s likely that this is not a major concern for people who get vitamin A in moderation or from animal sources.

Vitamin A is an important building-block of our bodies and it is easy to get enough from a variety of sources, even if you don’t like liver.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

World Food Day

Today is 16th October and its "World Food Day".

World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In 1980, the General Assembly endorsed observance of the Day in consideration of the fact that "food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity"

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945. The World Food Day and TeleFood theme for 2007 is "The Right to Food".

The right to food is the inherent human right of every woman, man, girl and boy, wherever they live on this planet.

The choice of The Right to Food as the theme for 2007 World Food Day and TeleFood demonstrates increasing recognition by the international community of the important role of human rights in eradicating hunger and poverty, and hastening and deepening the sustainable development process.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 first recognized the right to food as a human right. It was then incorporated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11) adopted in 1966 and ratified by 156 states, which are today legally bound by its provisions. The expert interpretation and more refined definition of this right are contained in General Comment 12 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1999). The Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security – the Right to Food Guidelines – were adopted by the FAO Council in 2004 and provide practical recommendations on concrete steps for the implementation of the right to food.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A balanced Diet..

Know What we need to be healthy in our diet..

You must have carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals salts and fibre in the correct proportions. If there is not enough protein, you will not be able to grow properly and you will not be able to repair yourself i.e. wounds will not heal properly. If you do not have enough energy containing foods you will feel very tired, you will not have enough energy. If you have too much energy containing foods you will become overweight. If you think that you are overweight you might try taking more exercise to "burn off" some of the excess food which you ate at you last meal.

A balanced diet must contain carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, mineral salts and fibre. It must contain these things in the correct proportions.

1. Carbohydrates: these provide a source of energy.

2. Proteins: these provide a source of materials for growth and repair.

3. Fats: these provide a source of energy and contain fat soluble vitamins.

4. Vitamins: these are required in very small quantities to keep you healthy.

5. Mineral Salts: these are required for healthy teeth, bones, muscles etc.

6. Fibre: this is required to help your intestines function correctly; it is not digested.

7. Balanced Diets: we must have the above items in the correct proportions.


Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy. They contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The first part of the name "carbo-" means that they contain Carbon. The second part of the name "-hydr-" means that they contain Hydrogen. The third part of the name "-ate-" means that they contain Oxygen. In all carbohydrates the ratio of Hydrogen atoms to Oxygen atoms is 2:1 just like water.

We obtain most of our carbohydrate in the form of starch. This is found in potato, rice, spaghetti, yams, bread and cereals. Our digestive system turns all this starch into another carbohydrate called glucose. Glucose is carried around the body in the blood and is used by our tissues as a source of energy. Any glucose in our food is absorbed without the need for digestion. We also get some of our carbohydrate in the form of sucrose; this is the sugar which we put in our tea and coffee. Both sucrose and glucose are sugars, but sucrose molecules are too big to get into the blood, so the digestive system turns it into glucose.

When we use glucose in tissue respiration we need Oxygen. This process produces Carbon Dioxide and water and releases energy for other processes.


Proteins are required for growth and repair. Proteins contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and sometimes Sulphur. Proteins are very large molecules, so they cannot get directly into our blood; they must be turned into amino-acids by the digestive system. There are over 20 different amino-acids. Our bodies can turn the amino-acids back into protein. When our cells do this they have to put the amino-acids together in the correct order. There are many millions of possible combinations or sequences of amino-acids; it is our DNA which contains the information about how to make proteins. Our cells get their amino-acids from the blood. Proteins can also be used as a source of energy. When excess amino-acids are removed from the body the Nitrogen is excreted as a chemical called urea. The liver makes urea and the kidney puts the urea into our urine.


Like carbohydrates, fats contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are used as a source of energy: they are also stored beneath the skin helping to insulate us against the cold. Do not think that by avoiding fat in your diet you will stay thin and elegant! If you eat too much carbohydrate and protein, you will convert some of it into fat, so you will put on weight. You must balance the amount of energy containing foods with the amount of energy that you use when you take exercise.

You must have some fat in your diet because it contains fat soluble vitamins.


Vitamins are only required in very small quantities. There is no chemical similarity between these chemicals; the similarity between them is entirely biological.

Vitamin A: good for your eyes

Vitamin B: about 12 different chemicals.

Vitamin C: needed for your body to repair itself

Vitamin D: can be made in your skin, needed for absorption of Calcium.

Vitamin E: the nice one – reproduction.

Mineral Salts

These are also needed in small quantities, but we need more of these than we need of vitamins.

Iron: required to make haemoglobin.

Calcium: required for healthy teeth, bones and muscles

Sodium: all cells need this, especially nerve cells.

Iodine: used to make a hormone called thyroxin


We do not /can not digest cellulose. This is a carbohydrate used by plants to make their cell walls. It is also called roughage. If you do not eat foods materials which contain fibre you might end up with problems of the colon and rectum. The muscles of you digestive system mix food with the digestive juices and push food along the intestines by peristalsis; if there is no fibre in your diet these movements cannot work properly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why are fruits and vegetables important for my health?

Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and provide essential nutrients and dietary fiber. They may also play a role in preventing certain chronic diseases. When compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts, as part of a healthy diet, tend to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

All fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables count toward your fruit and vegetable goal. Fruits and vegetables (with the exception of olives, avocados, and coconut) are naturally low in fat. Canned, dried, and frozen foods are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.

Fruits and Vegetables on the Go!

Busy lives can benefit from food that's nutritious, yet easy to eat on-the-go, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy and give the body many nutrients you need to keep going.

Try these!

  • Add fruit to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal (not just bananas, but also try apples, grapes, berries, peaches, or mandarin oranges).
  • Snack on mini-carrots or dried fruit at work instead of candy.
  • Add to your take-out dinner with fruits and vegetables from home.
  • Microwave a vegetable to add to your dinner or eat some fruit for dessert.

Here are some no-hassle, quick ways to get delicious fruits and vegetables on the table.

Salads and Sides:

  • Open and rinse cans of kidney beans, wax beans, chickpeas, and green beans, and toss with a low-fat or fat-free vinaigrette for an ultra-fast bean salad.
  • Try adding fresh herbs to vegetables before you roast, stir-fry, or steam them. For example, tomatoes go well with basil and oregano, and carrots go well with dill.
  • Broil sliced vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes for just a few minutes until they blacken around the edges. Serve warm with a low-calorie dressing of lemon juice, low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise, and black pepper.


  • Add 1–2 cups of frozen vegetables to canned soup before heating; serve on top of rice in a shallow bowl.
  • Use a 12-inch, pre-baked packaged pizza crust to create a 20-minute dinner; add sliced zucchini, fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and low-fat cheese and bake at 400° F until the cheese bubbles.
  • Add grapes, sliced apples, and pears to a chicken salad made with low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise.
  • Add tomatoes, radishes, and green bell peppers to a tuna salad made with low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise. 1
  • Top broiled lean meat, chicken, or fish with salsa. Each 1/2 cup of salsa counts as a 1/2 cup toward meeting your daily vegetable needs.

The Colors of Health: Just try these!

Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors, but their real beauty lies in what's inside. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, and white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.

Tips: Use these easy, fun tips to help you eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables everyday!


  1. Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Top with sliced apples or berries.
  2. Have fruit as a mid-morning snack
  3. Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast.
  4. Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas.

5. Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to your egg or egg white omelet.

6. Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.

Lunch & Dinner:

1. Place a box of raisins in your child's backpack and pack one for yourself, too.

2. Ask for more vegetable toppings (like mushrooms, peppers, and onions) and less cheese on your pizza

3. Add some cooked dry beans to your salad. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, add chopped apples, pears, or raisins

4. Add broccoli, green beans, corn, or peas to a casserole or pasta.

5. Have soup. You can stick with the basics like tomato or vegetable soup or mix up some minestrone or veggie chili to cut winter's chill. When possible, choose soups with less sodium.

6. Add lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber to sandwiches.

7. Order salads, vegetable soups, or stir-fried vegetables when eating out.

8. Choose beans, corn on the cob, or a side salad with low-calorie salad dressing instead of French fries.

9. Try eating at least 2 vegetables with dinner

10. Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.


1. Try hummus and whole wheat pitas.

2. Snack on vegetables like bell pepper strips and broccoli with a low-fat or fat-free ranch dip.

3. Try baked tortilla chips with black bean and corn salsa.

4. Stash bags of dried fruit at your desk for a convenient snack.

5. Keep a bowl of fruit on your desk or counter.

6. Drink a fruit smoothie made with whole fruit, ice cubes, and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.

7. Top a cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt with sliced fresh fruit.

8. For quick and easy snacks, stock up on fresh, dried, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables

9. Pick up ready-packed salad greens from the produce shelf for a quick salad any time.

10. Encourage your child to choose his or her own fruit when shopping.

11. Store cleaned, cut-up vegetables in the fridge at eye level and keep a low-fat or fat-free dip on hand.

12. Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.

Almost Everyone Needs to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables.

A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. To get the amount that's recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day.

Fruits and Vegetables Can Protect Your Health
Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

Nutrients should come primarily from foods. Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain not only the vitamins and minerals that are often found in supplements, but also other naturally occurring substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

For some people, fortified foods or supplements can be helpful in getting the nutrients their bodies need. A fortified food contains a nutrient in an amount greater than what is typically found in that food.

Some basic fruit and vegetable tips:

  • Try to eat more fruits and vegetables. If you need 2,000 calories a day to maintain your weight and health, aim for at least nine servings (4½ cups) a day.
  • Choose a variety of different fruits and vegetables. It's easy to get into a rut when it comes to the food you eat. Break out and try a wider variety - include dark-green, leafy vegetables; yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables; cooked tomatoes; and citrus fruits.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Vision

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables also keeps your eyes in good shape. You may have learned that the vitamin A in carrots aids night vision. Other fruits and vegetables help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases - cataract and macular degeneration - which afflict millions of Americans over age sixty-five. Cataract is the gradual clouding of the eye's lens, a disk of protein that focuses light on the light-sensitive retina. Macular degeneration is caused by cumulative damage to the macula, the center of the retina. It starts as a blurred spot in the center of what you see. As the degeneration spreads, vision shrinks.

Free radicals generated by sunlight, cigarette smoke, air pollution, infection, and metabolism cause much of this damage. Dark green leafy vegetables contain two pigments lute-in and zeaxanthin, which accumulate in the eye. These two appear to be able to snuff out free radicals before they can harm the eye's sensitive tissues. In general, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains appears to reduce the chances of developing cataract or macular degeneration.

Fruits and vegetables are clearly an important part of a good diet. Almost everyone can benefit from eating more of them, but variety is as important as quantity. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. The key lies in the variety of different fruits and vegetables that you eat.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Gastrointestinal Health

One of the wonderful components of fruits and vegetables is their indigestible fiber. As fiber passes through the digestive system, it sops up water like a sponge and expands. This can calm the irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decrease pressure inside the intestinal tract and so may help prevent diverticulosis (the development of tiny, easily irritated pouches inside the colon) and diverticulitis (the often painful inflammation of these pouches)

Fruits, Vegetables, and Cancer

Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. But because many of these were case-control studies, it is possible that the results may have been skewed by problems inherent in these types of studies, such as recall bias and selection bias. Data from cohort studies that follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer in general. Data from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study support this finding. Over a 14-year period, men and women with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables (8+ servings a day) were just as likely to have developed cancer as those who ate the fewest daily servings (under 1.5).

A more likely possibility is that fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, recently completed a monumental review of the best research on fruits, vegetables, and cancer. Here's what this 387-page tome concludes about studies in humans: "There is limited evidence for a cancer-preventive effect of consumption of fruit and of vegetables for cancers of the mouth and pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon-rectum, larynx, lung, ovary (vegetables only), bladder (fruit only), and kidney. There is inadequate evidence for a cancer-preventive effect of consumption of fruit and of vegetables for all other sites." However, considering all evidence from human epidemiological, animal, and other types of studies, it appears that eating more fruit "probably lowers the risk of cancers of the esophagus, stomach and lung" and "possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, colon-rectum, larynx, kidney, and urinary bladder." Eating more vegetables "probably lowers the risk of cancers of the esophagus and colon-rectum" and "possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, stomach, larynx, lung, ovary and kidney."

Keep in mind that this is for total fruit and total vegetable consumption and that, as pointed out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, specific fruits and vegetables may protect against specific types of cancer. For example, lines of research stemming from a finding from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggest that tomatoes may help protect men against prostate cancer, especially aggressive forms of it. one of the pigments that give tomatoes their red hue - leucopenia - could be involved in this protective effect. Although several studies other than the Health Professionals' study have also demonstrated a link between tomatoes or leucopenia and prostate cancer, others have not or have found only a weak connection. Taken as a whole, however, these studies suggest that increased consumption of tomato-based products (especially cooked tomato products) and other leucopenia-containing foods may reduce the occurrence or progression of prostate cancer. But more research is needed before we know the exact relationship between fruits and vegetables, arytenoids, and prostate cancer.

Fruits and Vegetables, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol

High blood pressure is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. As such, it's a condition that is very important to control. Diet can be a very effective tool for lowering blood pressure. One of the most convincing associations between diet and blood pressure was found in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study. This trial examined the effect on blood pressure of a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet reduced their systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by about 11 mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by almost 6 mm Hg - as much as medications can achieve.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can also help lower cholesterol. In the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Family Heart Study, the 4466 subjects consumed on average a shade over 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Men and women with the highest daily consumption (more than 4 servings a day) had significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol than those with lower consumption. How fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol is still something of a mystery. It is possible that eating more fruits and vegetables means eating less meat and dairy products, and thus less cholesterol-boosting saturated fat. Soluble fiber in fruits and vegetables may also block the absorption of cholesterol from food.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Cardiovascular Disease

There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.

Although all fruits and vegetables likely contribute to this benefit, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok Choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices) make important contributions.

Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables for healthy mind and body.

Like vegetables, fruits are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. They are easily digested and exercise a cleansing effect on the blood and digestive tract. They contain high alkaline properties, a high percentage of water and a low percentage of proteins and fats.

Their organic acid and high sugar content have immediate refreshing effects. Apart from seasonable fresh fruits, dry fruits, such as raisins, prunes and figs are also beneficial. Fruits are at their best when eaten in the raw and ripe states. In cooking, the loose portions of the nutrient salts and carbohydrates. They are most beneficial when taken as a separate meal by themselves, preferably for breakfast in the morning. If it becomes necessary to take fruits with regular food, they should form a larger proportion of the meals. Fruits, however, make better combination with milk than with meals. It is also desirable to take one kind of fruit at a time. For the maintenance of good health, at least one pound of uncooked fruits should form part of the daily diet. In case of sickness, it will be advisable to take fruits in the form of juices.

The three basic health-building foods mentioned above should be supplemented with certain special foods such as milk, vegetable oils and honey. Milk is an excellent food. It is considered as “Nature’s most nearly perfect food." The best way to take milk is in its soured form - that is, yogurt and cottage cheese. Soured milk is superior to sweet milk as it is in a predigested form and more easily assimilated. Milk helps maintain a healthy intestinal flora and prevents intestinal putrefaction and constipation.

High quality unrefined oils should be added to the diet. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C and F and lecithin. The average daily amount should not exceed two tablespoons.

Honey too is an ideal food. It helps increase calcium retention in the system, prevents nutritional anemia besides being beneficial in kidney and liver disorders, colds, poor circulation and complexion problems. It is one of the nature’s finest energy-giving foods.

A diet of the three basic food groups, supplemented with the special foods, mentioned above, will ensure a complete and adequate supply of all the vital nutrients needed for health, vitality and prevention of diseases. It is not necessary to include animal protein like egg, fish or meat in this basic diet, as animal protein, especially meat, always has a detrimental effect on the healing process. A high animal protein is harmful to health and may cause many of our common ailments.

"Eat your fruits and vegetables" is one of the tried and true recommendations for a healthy diet. And for good reason. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.

What does "plenty" mean? More than most Americans consume. If you don't count potatoes - which should be considered a starch rather than a vegetable - the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on one's caloric intake. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day.

Over the past 30 years or so, researchers have developed a solid base of science to back up what generations of mothers preached (but didn't always practice themselves). Early on, fruits and vegetables were acclaimed as cancer-fighting foods. In fact, the ubiquitous 5-A-Day message (now quietly changing to Eat 5 to 9 A Day) seen in produce aisles, magazine ads, and schools is supported in part by the National Cancer Institute. The latest research, though, suggests that the biggest payoff from eating fruits and vegetables is for the heart.