All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

Vegetables

Vegetables is a broad term for parts of plants used as food - leaves, stems, roots, etc. The term vegetable is largely defined through culinary and cultural tradition, it usually excludes other plant foods such as fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but includes seeds such as pulses.

  • Illnesses from Contaminated Plant Foods

    When properly cleaned, separated, cooked, and stored to limit contamination, fruits and vegetables safely provide essential nutrients.

    Among foodborne illnesses, leafy vegetables accounted for the most of them. Many of those illnesses (46%) were caused by norovirus.

    A combination of four animal food categories: beef, game, pork, and poultry accounted for fewer illnesses, but for 29% of deaths. 

    Each year ~ 48 million people (1 in 6) get sick from food eaten in the United States. 

  • Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Bones

    The positive link between bone health and fruit and vegetable consumption has been attributed to the lower renal acid load of a diet high in alkaline-forming fruits and vegetables.

    Other important dietary determinants of bone health include micronutrients and bioactives found in fruits and vegetables.

  • 300 g More Fruits and Vegetables Reduce Risk of Dying

    A combined fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams per day reduces the risk of mortality by 10% and delays the risk of mortality by 1.12 years compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day.

  • Common Plant Toxins

    Food plants are known to produce a wide array of chemicals. The levels of many of the more toxic ones have been reduced by hybridisation, but many of these natural toxins are still present at low levels. Eating very large amounts of one type of such foods can possibly be somewhat toxic.

    Common Plant Toxins and Antinutrients

    Toxins (occurrence in plant foods) - possible effect on humans and animals in large amounts:
    • Cyanogenic glycosides (sweet potatoes, stone fruits, lima beans) - gastrointestinal inflammation, inhibition of cellular respiration.
    • Glulcosinolates (canola, mustard, radish, cabbage, peanut, soybean, onion) - impaired metabolism, reduced iodine uptake, decreased protein digestion.
    • Glycoalkaloids (potato, tomato) - depressed central nervous system, kidney inflammation, carcinogenic, birth defects, reduced iron absorption.
    • Gossypol (cottonseed) - reduced iron uptake, spermicidal, carcinogenic.
    • Lectins (most cereals, soybeans, other beans, potatoes) - intestinal inflammation, decreased nutrient absorption.
    • Oxalate (spinach, rhubarb, tomato) - reduces solubility of calcium, iron, and zinc.
    • Phenols (most fruits and vegetables, cereals, soybean, potato, tea, coffee) - destroys thiamine, raises cholesterol, estrogen-mimic.
    • Coumarins (celery, parsley, parsnips, figs) - light-activated carcinogens, skin irritation.
  • Vitamin A in Fruits, Vegetables and Seaweed

    Estimated mean requirement and safe level of intake for vitamin A, in Retinol Equivalents (RE) (1 RE = 1 mcg. of retinolor 6 mcg. of beta-carotene):

    • Adolescents, 10–18 years: 330–400 (mcg RE/day, mean requirement), 600 (mcg RE/day, recommended safe intake)
    • Adult females, 19–65 years: 270 (mcg RE/day, mean requirement), 500 (mcg RE/day, recommended safe intake)
    • Adult females, 65+ years: 300 (mcg RE/day, mean requirement), 600 (mcg RE/day, recommended safe intake)
    • Males: 300 (mcg RE/day, mean requirement), 600 (mcg RE/day, recommended safe intake)

    Food sources, examples (RE per 100 grams).

    Fresh fruits and raw and cooked fruit vegetables:

    • Mango - 523
    • Apricots - 260 (dry - 730)
    • Cantaloup 322
    • Squash, cooked 714
    • Red pepper, raw - 580

    Root (tubers) and green vegetables, flowers:

    • Carrots, raw - 2574
    • Sweet potato, cooked - 2180
    • Dandelion, raw - 1400
    • Spinach, raw - 674

    Seaweed:

    • Spirulina - 28333
    • Nori - 4895
  • More Fruits and Vegetables, Organic or Not

    Steve Savage, an agricultural scientist:

    Eat more fruit and vegetables! And don’t worry about whether it is organic or not. The fact is, we know less about what is on organic produce than on conventional.

  • Phytochemicals, Colors, Antioxidants

    Thousands of phytochemicals have been identified in the plant foods we eat. The more phytochemical-rich foods eaten, the lower the risk for diseases such as cancer and heart disease. One serving of fruit or vegetables may contain more than 100 different phytochemicals. It is important to eat a variety of raw and cooked vegetables to gain the most benefit from phytochemicals. 

    Phytochemicals contribute to the pigments of fruits and vegetables:

    • Red - lycopene found in tomatoes, watermelon, & pink grapefruit, 
    • Orange - beta carotene found in carrots, mangoes, & cantaloupe, 
    • Yellow - beta cryptothanxin found in pineapple, oranges, & peaches, 
    • Green - indoles found in broccoli, cabbage, & kale, 
    • Purple - anthocyanins found in blueberries, grapes, eggplant & cherries,
    • White - allicin found in garlic, onions, & chives.

    The most well known phytochemicals are the antioxidants. Colorful plant foods are loaded with antioxidants so eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to protect the body from oxidative damage, and therefore reduces the risk of numerous health conditions.

  • Toxins in Root Vegetables and Greens

    Several different glycoalkaloids are produced naturally by potatoes, the most common being solanine and chaconine. Low levels of glycoalkaloids produce desirable flavour in potatoes. However, exposure to elevated levels of glycoalkaloids when eating potatoes can cause a bitter taste or a burning sensation in the mouth - indicating a state of toxicity. Glycoalkaloids are not destroyed by cooking; even by frying in hot oil. The majority of this natural toxin found in potatoes is in the peel, or just below the peel. Greening of the potatoes may be indicative of the presence of the toxin. Red skinned or russet potatoes may camouflage the greening.

    Avoid eating potatoes that show signs of greening, physical damage, rotting or sprouting. Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place at home, such as a basement, and away from the sun or artificial light. Wash potatoes before cooking and peel or cut away green areas prior to cooking. Potatoes with pronounced greening or damage should be discarded. 

    Off-flavours such as a bitter taste, aftertaste and/or petroleum-like flavour have been associated with the consumption of fresh carrots. In contrast to sweet flavour, these off-flavours are usually as a result of stored carrots being exposed to ethylene. Ethylene is a normal fruit ripening hormone that may react with natural chemical compounds found in carrots creating off-flavour sensory attributes. Thus, carrots should not be stored with ethylene-producing commodities such as apples, avocados, bananas, pears, peaches, plums, cantaloupes, honeydew melons and tomatoes. Carrots properly handled and stored in perforated plastic bags at a low temperature retain the most acceptable taste. 

    Cyanogenic glycoside toxin is also found in the cassava root and fresh bamboo shoots, making it necessary for them to be cooked before canning or eating. Cassava is classified into two main types - sweet and bitter. Sweet cassava is defined as having a concentration of cyanide less than 50 mg per kilogram of fresh weight, while bitter cassava has a concentration greater than 50 mg per kilogram. The sweet cassava only requires cooking in order to reduce the cyanide content to non-toxic levels. However, the bitter cassava contains more toxins and should be prepared and cooked properly prior to consumption. Grating the root and prolonged soaking of the gratings in water will leach out the cyanide, reducing the levels of toxin. In addition to soaking, cooking will further detoxify the roots before consumption. Cyanogenic glycoside found in fresh bamboo decomposes quickly when placed in boiling water, rendering the bamboo shoots safe for consumption. It has been found that boiling bamboo shoots for 20 minutes at 98 C removes nearly 70 percent of the cyanide, while higher temperatures and longer intervals remove up to 96 percent. The highest concentrations are detoxified by cooking for two hours.

  • Secondary Metabolites in Leaves and Stems

    Leaves and stems of plants, green vegetables or leafy greens, are widely consumed by humans. The protein contents are higher than in fruits, and they contain low amounts of sugar.

    Some green vegetables produce secondary metabolites that have bitter or astringent properties and may produce toxic alkaloidal and other compounds such as hemoglutenens. Others produce intestinal enzyme inhibitors, such as lectins, which bind to mucosal surfaces and inhibit digestion, especially that of proteins. 


    Plant secondary metabolism produces a large number of specialized compounds (~ 200.000) that do not aid in the growth and development of plants but are required for the plant to survive in its environment. Specialized compounds from secondary metabolism are essential for communicating with other organisms in mutualistic (e.g. attraction of beneficial organisms such as pollinators) or antagonistic interactions (e.g. deterrent against herbivores and pathogens). They further assist in coping with abiotic stress such as increased UV-radiation.

    The broad functional spectrum of specialized metabolism is still not fully understood.

    Well known specialized compounds include alkaloids, polyphenolsincluding flavonoids, and terpenoids. Humans use quite a lot of these compounds, or the plants from which they originate, for medicinal and nutraceutical purposes.

  • Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruit and vegetable consumption is a focus of research and nutrition education, but there is no universal agreement on the meaning of 'fruits and vegetables'. Foods that require specific instruction include rice, dried beans, potatoes, tomatoes and fruits and vegetables in mixtures and condiments. 

    Fruit and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, and their sufficient daily consumption could help prevent major diseases. A recently published WHO/FAO report recommends a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, as well as for the prevention and alleviation of several micronutrient deficiencies. 

    Fruits and vegetables are universally promoted as healthy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend you make one-half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

    Fruits and vegetables include a diverse group of plant foods that vary greatly in content of energy and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables supply dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals to the diet and are sources of phytochemicals (phytonutrients) that function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and antiinflammatory agents and through other protective mechanisms. 

    FruitsVegetables

Carl Sagan

A sharp distinction between humans and “animals” is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them–without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeeling toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.

Body Weight, Obesity, and BMI

Body weight - person's mass or weight. Body weight is measured in kilograms, pounds, or stones and pounds. Body weight is the measurement of weight without items located on the person

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health.

People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI) is over 30 kg/m2, with the range 25–30 kg/m2 - overweight. 

BMI, body mass index - a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height. 

Obesity increases the likelihood of diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food intake, low levels of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility. A few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications, or mental illness. Evidence to support the view that obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is not generally supported.

On average, obese people have a greater energy expenditure than their thin counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass.

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