As concerns about healthy eating have grown, so too has the interest in vegetarianism and veganism. Many nutrition experts recommend “eating low on the food chain”. In plain language this means eating more grains, vegetables and fruits, and fewer meats, … Continue reading
Recent changes in food guidelines have meant an increase in the recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. That is because eating nutrient rich, low calorie, low fat foods such as fruits and vegetables, has been shown to have a … Continue reading
Eating healthy is important for everyone, and one of the most important keys to eating a better diet is eating more fruits and vegetables. Many people are unsure how to use vegetables more effectively as part of their diet, but it may be easier than you think to provide yourself and your family with healthy, nutritious meals at a great prices.
One way to create wonderful meals that are healthier than ever is to take a stroll through the produce section of your local grocery store. Most major grocery store chains have huge produce sections, containing a wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables from all corners of the world.
Trying a variety of different fruits and vegetables is a great way to keep your meals interesting and exciting in addition to nutritious. It is all too easy to become bored when trying to follow a healthy diet, and boredom can lead people to abandon their healthy habits. Avoiding diet burnout is important to the long term survival of even the most sensible eating plan.
So if you’ve never had vegetables like collard greens, asparagus or kale before, why not give them a try. Not only can trying new things allow you to make great new discoveries, but it can increase your level of fitness as well. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale are rich sources of many important vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.
Another great way to increase the variety of vegetables you enjoy is to combine fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. While fresh vegetables are generally better and healthier, frozen and canned vegetables can be great alternatives for when the fresh varieties are out of season.
One of the best things about fresh fruits and vegetables is the great variety of flavors, colors and textures available. Eating a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits does much more than provide much needed variety. It also provides a great variety of nutrients. For instance, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables tend to be very high in beta carotene, while green leafy vegetables are often great sources of calcium and other important nutrients. So why not spice up your plain old green salad with a splash of color in the form of yellow peppers or orange carrot slices?
Many people wrongly think that they can make up for a crappy diet by using vitamin and mineral supplements. This mistaken belief is apparently very widespread, since sales of these supplements continue to break records.
When considering vitamin and mineral supplements, however, it is important to remember that foods contain many different minerals, trace elements and other micronutrients. That means that for every nutrient that has been discovered and synthesized, there may be ten, twenty or more of these micronutrients that have yet to be fully understood. That is why no vitamin supplement, no matter how complete, can truly replace a healthy, balanced diet.
In addition, vitamin and mineral supplements are quite a bit more expensive than a good selection of vegetables and fruits, and not nearly as tasty.
When changing your diet and eating for a healthier lifestyle, it is important to educate yourself about eating right, and go choose the right fruits and vegetables for your tastes. After all, the best diet is the one you can follow for the rest of your life.
One of the best ways to start eating a healthy diet is to choose the freshest fruits and vegetables. Not only do fresh fruits and vegetables taste better, but they are less expensive and more nutritious as well. Choosing a variety of in season fruits and vegetables every week is a great way to enjoy healthy and varied meals.
Of course your favorite fruits and vegetables will not always be in season, so it will sometimes be necessary to supplement those fresh fruits and vegetables with canned and frozen varieties. When choosing canned fruits, try to avoid those packed in syrup; choose canned fruits packed in fruit juice or water instead. They will be healthier and contain less sugar.
Adding fresh fruit, such as apple slices, mandarin oranges, nectarines and the like is a great way to make plain salads more interesting and more delicious. Combining fruits and vegetables is a great way to enhance your nutrition as well.
Study after study has revealed the importance of a balanced diet to good health. Eating a balanced diet, one that is rich in all the various minerals and vitamins needed for a healthy body, can present quite a challenge for vegetarians and vegans.
That is because maintaining a good balanced diet in the absence of one entire food group, such as meat and poultry, can be difficult. Meat and other animal products contain significant amounts of important nutrients, such as protein, calcium and B vitamins.
Vegan diets present an even larger problem, since vegans go a step farther and eliminate dairy products and eggs as well as meat. Vegans in particular often have trouble getting the vitamin B12 they need and often must rely on vitamin supplements for this important nutrient.
Of course that does not mean that vegetarians and vegans cannot enjoy good health. Many vegetarians and vegans can and do enjoy levels of health much better than their carnivorous peers. It simply means that vegetarians need to pay somewhat closer attention to their dietary needs, and to be on the lookout for signs of dietary deficiencies. The key to a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet, as with all types of diets, is practicing moderation, eating a variety of foods, and keeping nutritional needs in balance.
One of the most frequently cited concerns by family members and friends of vegetarians and vegans is how they will get the protein they need from a diet devoid of animal flesh. However, getting sufficient protein is usually not a concern for vegetarians, since most American diets tend to contain more protein than they need.
Vegetarians who eat dairy products can get all the protein they need from dairy products, from soy based products and from beans, nuts, lentils and seeds. There are many non animal sources of protein, so most vegetarians should not have a problem getting sufficient protein.
Even vegans, who eschew all animal based products, even milk and dairy products, typically do not have a problem with protein deficiency. That is because nuts, seeds, lentils, pinto beans, split peas, soybeans, garbanzo beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, navy beans and many more all have lots of protein.
Vegan meals are often rich in tofu and other soy based products, and these products contain sufficient protein to meet the needs of most vegans. In addition, the many bean based vegan recipes are excellent sources of protein. For instance, a cup of cooked beans contains the same amount of protein as a two ounce serving of meat.
As with protein, nutritional deficiencies are generally of no more concern to vegetarians than they are to the general population. Vegetarians who follow a balanced, nutritious diet should have no problem meeting their daily nutritional needs.
Vegans on the other hand, are more susceptible than vegetarians to nutritional deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D. That is because the most common sources of these important nutrients are all animal based, either meat or dairy products.
Of these three nutrients, the hardest to replace on a vegan diet is vitamin B12. The primary sources of vitamin B12 in the diet are all animal based. For this reason, vegans are generally advised to take vitamin B12 supplement, or to eat foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12. There are a number of such foods on the market, including nutritional yeast and soy milk.
Calcium is also a concern for vegans, since the primary sources of dietary calcium are milk and other dairy products. Again, calcium fortified foods such as some soy milk and certain cereals are important to maintaining a healthy vegan diet. The same is true of vitamin D, another primarily animal based nutrient.
The bottom line is that it is possible to maintain excellent health while avoiding meat and dairy products. The key is to follow a well balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and make smart food choices.