Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, April 29, 2013

5 Myths and Facts about Vegetables

As many of you know, I've been trying to eat a healthier diet as part of my goal to lose weight and get in shape.  To this end, I've been eating a whole lot more vegetables than I once was.

I had some ideas about vegetables when I first started out. I later found out that some of these weren't exactly right.  It occurred to me that lots of us might have the same misconceptions so I thought I'd list some of these myths - along with some statements that are true.

1. Fresh vegetables are better than frozen.  Not always! If that fresh produce in your grocery store was shipped across the country, it really might not be as fresh as you'd like - and not as nutritious.  Frozen vegetables are usually flash-frozen soon after they are harvested and might contain more nutrients than some of those store vegetables.  Of course you can't get any fresher than vegetables just picked from your own garden.  Local produce will probably be a lot fresher than the supermarket, as well, so check out your farmers markets.

2. Raw vegetables are better for you than cooked. Again, not always!  While it used to be thought that much of the nutrients were lost when vegetables are cooked, this may not always be true.* The best approach is to not worry about it too much.  Vegetables are still nutritious if cooked so if you prefer your carrots cooked rather than raw, then cook them. No big deal. You're still getting a nutritious dish.

3. The more colorful vegetables are the healthiest.  I'm afraid it just isn't this simple.  While dark green spinach is much better for you than iceberg lettuce, for example, this isn't always the case!  Celery contains protein and calcium so it's healthy despite being pale. (and low in calories, too!)

4. Vegetables are high in fiber. This is true and we should try to get plenty of dietary fiber in our diets.  Fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and help control blood sugars, to name a couple benefits. It can also help keep things moving through your digestive tract, if you know what I mean.

5. Vegetables are low in calories.  This is also true. If you're trying to lose weight, fill up with nutritious vegetables!  The fiber helps make you feel full on fewer calories.
*Tomatoes, oddly enough, actually may be more nutritious when cooked.  When cooked, they release more lycopene which can help your body ward off disease. 

Information for this post was obtained from
Become a Healthier You
Primer Magazine

Image found here.

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