Vegetables and Fruits GroupAll consumable parts of plants come under the vegetables and fruits group. Water makes up an essential part of the component. For that reason, they make limited contribution to daily energy, fat and protein need. On the other hand, they are highly rich in vitamins and minerals.
They are rich in folic acid, beta carotene (which is a precursor of vitamin A), as well as in vitamins E, C and B2, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, fiber and other antioxidant components. Vegetables and fruits are the foods that help discharge harmful substances from the body.
Why should we consume vegetables and fruits? They;
- help with growth and development,
- promote cell renewal and tissue repair,
- contain essential components for skin and eye health,
- protect teeth and periodontal health,
- are rich in hematopoietic elements,
- are effective in creating resistance to diseases,
- make you feel full,
- reduce the risk of obesity or chronic diseases (i.e., cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, some types of cancer) related to malnutrition,
- help stimulate bowel movements.
For a healthy diet:Try to consume vegetables in a variety of colors. Different vegetables contain different nutrients. For that reason, a variety of vegetables must be consumed throughout the day. A balanced diet must be spread out through the whole day by consuming dark yellow vegetables (carrot and potato), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine lettuce, lettuce, chard and purslane), starchy vegetables (potato and green peas) and other vegetables (tomato, onion and green beans).
Fruits differ from each other depending on the types and amounts of nutritional elements. Therefore, they should be consumed alternately. Generally citrus fruits and strawberry are rich in vitamin C, fruits such as cherry, black grape and blackberry are rich in antioxidants and fruits such as banana and apple are rich in potassium. All vegetables and fruits must be consumed during their season when they are abundant, because they will have a high nutritional content and will be cheaper.
Prefer to consume vegetables and fruits raw. Do not peel off the edible skin. If you need to peel it off, do it as thinly as possible. Many of the vitamins and minerals are found, especially on the outer leaf, skin and the parts right under the skin of vegetables and fruits, they are found less on the inner parts.
Before consuming fresh vegetables, wash them under plenty of water, chop and cook with enough water.
When washing the vegetables, do not keep them in water for long periods of time. This is since some of the vitamins dissolve in water while waiting, and reduces the nutritional value.
Cut vegetables into large pieces right before cooking. Minimal contact with the surface reduces the loss of vitamins.
Vegetables with green leaves have a very high water ratio. They can therefore be cooked without adding any water at heats that can preserve water. The more water added to a vegetable dish, the higher the vitamin loss.
Cook vegetables for as little time as possible to preserve freshness. Vitamins B and some others such as vitamin C are easily lost during cooking.
Do not ever discard the boiled water of vegetables. Doing so will waste the nutrients (i.e., vitamins C, B2 and folic acid) as most of the dissolved vitamins are transferred into the water.
Water from the vegetables can be added to soups, meals and sauces.
Never add sparkling water to vegetables while cooking. Though doing so will give a greener tone to vegetables, vitamins will also be lost.
More fiber will be consumed by eating the whole fruits and vegetables, rather than drinking their juice and by eating the skin of fruits with edible skins.
In germinated potatoes, the amount of poisonous "solanine" increases near the skin. Thus, prevent potatoes from getting germinated. Do not consume excessively germinated potatoes. Solanine poisoning surfaces with symptoms such as digestive system disorders, sweating and fatigue.
Consume at least five portions of vegetables and fruits a day.
At least two portions of the daily consumed vegetables and fruits must include green leafy vegetables, or citrus fruits such as orange and lemon, or tomatoes.
Gassy side effects may be minimized by steeping or cooking well. Do not ever discard the cooking water.
Consume with foods rich in vitamin C to benefit from the minerals in the composition.
Dietary Guidelines for Turkey, 2004