Benefits of Eating Fresh Foods

  • Added:
    Sep 11, 2012
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    2673
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Today's life has become more convenient and more automated and in embracing the new convenience, we have lost our traditional habit of eating fresh foods.  More and more people are giving in to the habit of eating processed food rather than including fresh meats and vegetables into their meals for a healthy diet.  Fresh vegetables are a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals in addition to proteins and fat.  Many of these essential nutrients get destroyed during processing and preservation, therefore, preserved and processed foods lose many of the nutrients present in fresh vegetables.

Fresh vegetables contain vitamin A, C and E as well as the B-complex vitamins. Vitamin A is very important for vision and skin health, vitamin B-complex is essential for a variety of physiological functions. Vitamin C is very important for the immune system and vitamin E is the powerful natural anti-oxidant that slows down aging processes. However, it is important to keep in mind, that most of these vitamins are thermo-labile and get destroyed if vegetables are cooked at high temperatures or for a long period of time. In order to preserve these vitamins and take advantage of the health benefits they offer, it is important that we eat our vegetables fresh and raw. A good example could be carrot. It has plenty of carotenoids and vitamin A and it can be eaten raw in salads.

Minerals like Potassium is important for regulation of blood pressure and calcium present in many vegetables maintains bone health. However, it is important to know that mineral supplements seldom get absorbed as much as the minerals in vegetables because of the natural biological chaperones required for their absorption. For example, calcium only gets absorbed when it's coupled to vitamin D as cholecalciferol. Thus it is easily absorbed in a natural biological form when eaten in vegetables rather from supplement pills.

The recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables is nine servings and studies show that we typically eat one-third of that. People who want to eat fresh veggies are also limited by their availability during the winter months and are forced to consume frozen vegetables. While, the freezing in itself does not destroy vitamins and other nutrients, the process of freezing them microbe-free for long term storage actually involves steps that kill vital enzymes and key beneficial ingredients. For example, they are blanched in hot water and passed through steam when most vitamins are degraded. Similarly, cooking them at higher temperatures also degrades some vitamins. Cooking at high temperatures also generate undesired substances like free radicals. Specially, deep fried foods contain high amounts of free radicals caused by oil getting oxidized at higher temperatures. A study published in the revered journal "Scientific American" has found that vitamin C levels declined by 10% in tomatoes cooked for two minutes and 29% when cooked for half hour at 190.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

While eating frozen, processed or cooked vegetables should not be discouraged in view of the fact that eating veggies in any form is better than not eating at all, the health benefits of eating them raw or fresh definitely offers more health benefits. 

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As part of a healthy lifestyle it's important to eat fresh fruits, vegetables & meats. Processed foods have lost much of the beneficial vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need to perform optimally. One of the best places to find these are at health food stores. If you are looking for health food stores and can't find one locally you can always buy health food online.


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