Man uses a variety of food to fulfill their dietary requirements. The food that is utilized either belongs to animals or plant sources. However, during the last few decades, food trends have massively changed. The use of processed and junk food has become a routine in developed countries, and the people in developing countries are following them. According to World Health Organization (WHO), to live a healthy life each person should use 450 g of fresh fruits and vegetable on daily basis. However, the data shows the use of fresh fruits and vegetables is far less compared with the recommendations.
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of water, mineral, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber. Plant-based organic food is considered even safer as they are considered free from synthetic pesticides. Some fruits and vegetables, such as guava, citrus, and tomato, contain a considerable amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce the oxidative damage to the cell in the human body and keep us fresh and healthy. Oxidative damage is caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are produced during normal metabolic processes. According to a report, the use of grapefruit juice can improve the efficacy of medicine used to cure chronic diseases. Lycopene present in the tomato and carotene present in carrot also works as a powerful antioxidant and helps improve human health. Here we present some facts regarding the fruits and vegetables that are rich sources of antioxidants. This information may help choose the fruit or vegetable for consumption.
|Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)||Strawberry, Kiwi fruits, Orange, Pepper, Rosehips, Broccoli, Persimmon, Tomato|
|Tocopherols (Vitamin E)||Almond, Corn, Broccoli, Spinach, Peanut, Avocado|
|Carotenoids||Pineapple, Plum, Peach, Pepper, Mango, Melon, Tomato, Carrot|
|Phenolics||Blueberry, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry, Apple, Blackberry|
Fruits and vegetables have medicinal value and help cure some diseases. For example, Jaman and Bitter gourd help cure diabetes. Pumpkin and cucumber contain a high amount of water and fibers and have a cooling impact on human body. Watermelon improves digestion, cures constipation and cools the human body. Lycopene present in watermelon works as antioxidant.
Leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, and fenugreek are rich sources of minerals and fiber and help improve digestion. Avocado contains a high amount of edible fats (approximately 17%); interestingly the composition shows that these fats belong to unsaturated fatty acids; thus heart patients can safely use avocado. Dates and banana are excellent sources of carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
Apple contains minerals (particularly iron), sugars, and vitamins and considered a general tonic. The quote, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” literally speaks for intake of fruits and vegetables. We should use food as medicine; otherwise, time will come when we will be using drugs as food.
Dr. Muhammad Azher Nawaz, works as a faculty member at the Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Pakistan. His work is mainly focused on physiology and molecular biology of vegetables. Currently, he is working on the introduction and development of Vegetable Grafting in Pakistan. Details and published literature can be accessed here.
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