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Eat Your Fruit and Veggies but Don’t Swallow the Hype

June 5, 2020
Dr. Dimitrios Vareldzis

Food makes news, but it’s hard to sort out the fads from the solid science of nutrition. Every week a new study warns us of danger, until a newer study lays that fear to rest. Not everyone has the same nutritional needs, and your body is a better judge than a supermarket tabloid of what’s right for you.

  • Potatoes got a bad rap for a time. Too “starchy,” said Grandma. Today’s generation gives them the respect they deserve. A healthful trend has developed toward serving potatoes with their skins on, providing the most fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and phytochemicals.
  • Manyvegetables are available now that were unknown to our grandparents. Take jicama (pronounced HEE-cah-muh). It’s low in calories, and rich in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Eggplant is a good source of fiber, and the purple skin is rich in antioxidants. But if you fry it, coat it first or heat the oil sufficient to create a thin crust that limits oil absorption. Better yet, turn your eggplant into vitamin-dense ratatouille.
  • One apple has four grams of soluble fiber needed for colon health and controlling blood sugar levels. It contains immune-boosting vitamin C and quercetin. Quercetin has antihistamine and anti-allergy properties.
  • Berries are brilliant. Blackberries have plenty of phytonutrients and vitamin K. Most berries are rich in the antioxidant lutein, which helps promote eye health and prevent macular degeneration.
  • Citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines are packed with antioxidants. Experts believe they may promote heart health and even reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases like cancer. They are dense with flavonoids, fiber, and vitamin C and may help to control appetite plus help with weight loss.
  • One cup of fresh, ripe papaya has only 60calories but provides 144 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. One enzyme in papayas has been shown to relieve gas from indigestion while another relieves inflammation.
  • Prunes have emerged from an image make-over as “dried plums.” These sweet fruits help promote digestive regularity and may also enhance bone density. They are richin vitamin K, antioxidants and boron, which also plays a key role in bone health.

The Mayo Clinic recommends adding nuts to your diet because of their benefit to your heart. Eating nuts can lower the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)thought to cause heart disease, improve the health of arterial walls, and reduce the risk of blood clots. Their Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, plant sterols, and vitamin E are a bonus.