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Wellness

How To Eat More Vegetables And More Fruit

It’s not as if we have more nutrients to work with in the Western Diet, so why is there such a wide disparity between the amount of vegetables and fruits that people consume in the West and in developing countries? With respect to the latter, research indicates that fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a greater healthful effect that is not present in the West, despite the availability of more refined grains, fats and dairy.

How do we move away from the Western paradigm and embrace the concept of healthy fruit and vegetable intake in the same light as the more healthy Western diet? This is a topic that I can talk about for hours and hours, because it is one of the most widely misunderstood and ignored aspects of diet in general, and is absolutely integral to a successful lifestyle. It’s actually one of the most important things you can do to improve the health of the planet. And that is one of the things I am here to focus on today.

I am not going to attempt to define ‘fruit and vegetable’, because many of you have heard that term from school and probably have some ideas about what it means. There is a lot of controversy surrounding what the term ‘fruit and vegetable’ means, and there is really only one real definition we may hear: Vegetables and fruits are all vegetables and fruits are all vegetables and fruits are vegetables and fruits. Well, except that some of the term ‘vegetables and fruits’ in regards to fruits means that the fruit is on the ‘fruits’ side of the spectrum, but that’s all semantics anyway.

The best definition to give would be that fruits and vegetables contain the same amount of nutrients per serving. So when I say “I ate a small bowl of watermelon with my green salad”, you can safely assume that watermelon and my green salad have the same amount of nutrients in them. On the other hand, you can safely assume that a large bowl of potato chips has way more nutrition than a small, watermelon-and-my-green-salad bowl. Because my green salad contains less than 0.5 g of carbs per serving. A big bowl of potato chips contains at least 3 times as much.

Let’s go over a few examples of vegetables and fruits together, and how they compare with each other, shall we?

• Lettuce

Lettuce has some very high amounts of B vitamins and vitamin C, which means that one can eat quite a bit of the stuff each day. There are a few problems with eating a lot of lettuce (for example, it’s not a good idea to put a very large amount of it on a salad for guests who don’t normally eat salads), but the benefits are a large variety of vitamins and minerals that are important.

• Potato chips

Potato chips are actually a very unhealthy choice, and for the same reason! They have a very high amount of sodium and don’t provide the nutrients that a salad does. So don’t eat chips!

• Banana

A banana is great for the waistline due to its high fiber content (it’s the most nutritious fruit out there), but it’s not a great choice for health because it contains no fiber at all, nor is there a significant amount of magnesium or potassium, and in the case of potassium, all of the potassium in your body is contained in your bones, so it’s basically being thrown away.

So let me sum up what a balanced diet looks like, and what it means, by this last example:

Food:

• Salad:  

Fresh fruits   •       Bananas

• Fruit:     

•       Potato chips

•       Watermelon

•       Salad:   

•       -Lettuce

•       -Watermelon

•       -Bananas

Nutrients:

•       Watermelon: 

·       -Lettuce: 

·       -Potato chips: 

What about potatoes? I’ll be the first to admit that potatoes have plenty of benefits.