Fruits and vegetables are healthy. We get that as children. But why? Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins and numerous minerals, but a low energy density. Another component is the phytochemicals. They make fruit and vegetables so valuable and healthy. More than 100,000 of these plant substances are known and they perform a wide variety of functions in the plant itself. Some are responsible for the beautiful color, some protect against predators and others regulate the growth of the plant.
Real good mood food
In an English study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, about 300 students kept an online diary of their mood and eating habits. In particular, fruit, vegetables, biscuits, crisps and cakes were queried. There was a clear correlation between the amount of fruit and vegetables and the positive feelings. When the students ate more fruits and vegetables, they felt calmer, happier and had more energy afterwards (and sometimes the next day). This link could not be found for sweet and fatty.
For example, you can achieve the “therapeutic” vegetable-fruit dose if you eat a cup of raspberries in the morning, a salad at noon, a handful of raw food in the afternoon and a dish of vegetables in the evening. The research team was not sure whether it was just about the nutrients of fruit and vegetables or whether the evaluation played a role: that we feel better because we have eaten a healthy diet. You have the opportunity to try it yourself. Fruits and vegetables always taste and you can never eat too much of them.
Fruits and vegetables prevent disease
For years, nutrition advice has been pouring in from all sides. For example, to protect against cancer, we should eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, use olive oil for the heart’s sake, and omit animal fat because it clogs the arteries. But new studies are fueling doubts about these recommendations. So what is true? There are only two dietary rules that are comprehensive and sustainable: those who eat nothing starve to death. If you eat too much, you get fat. Everything else is constantly in flux. There is something true about some rules, while others are completely out of the blue. Some are overdone, others are not impressive enough.
Many studies have now shown that fruit and vegetables can prevent certain diseases. The phytochemicals, absorbed by fruit and vegetables, can mainly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fruit and vegetables are also said to have a positive effect on certain cancers. Many of the phytochemicals have a positive effect on our cholesterol levels, support the functions of our blood vessels, have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. For a healthy diet, try to absorb as many of the phytonutrients as possible. For this purpose, it is recommended to integrate legumes, nuts and seeds into the daily dishes.
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What makes fruit and vegetables so valuable?
The beneficial effects of a plant-focused diet can already be seen within a few weeks on the appearance of your skin. In addition, the plant diet leads to positive changes in risk factors such as weight loss, 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 phytonutrients. Unlike vitamins and minerals, they are not essential for life, but they still perform important tasks in your body.
Cardiovascular diseases: carrots and tomato juice
People who eat a lot of leafy vegetables are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the University of Florence, Italy, in 2011 after observing the lifestyle and eating habits of 30,000 study participants over eight years. More specifically, the risk was reduced by 46 percent in the group with the highest consumption (with a daily vegetable consumption of more than 300 grams) compared to the group with the lowest consumption, i.e. in subjects who ate only 100 grams of green vegetables or less daily.