The importance of vegetables, fruits and berries in human nutrition is well known. They are tasty, nutritious and healthy. Vegetables and fruits do not have a great energy value, but they are suppliers of the most important nutrients (nutrients needed for normal metabolism), on which human health depends directly. Vitamins, minerals, easily digestible carbohydrates, dietary fiber – this is not a complete list of useful substances that are rich in these gifts of nature.
Vegetables and fruits are indeed a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K.
Vitamins are the biocatalysts of many biochemical reactions that take place in the body.
With a lack of vitamin A suffers from vision, immunity, skin, nails and hair deterioration.
Retinol is essential for hormone synthesis, bone growth, cartilage tissue and collagen formation.
Vitamin B1 actively participates in the processes of energy and plastic metabolism, supports normal functioning of the nervous and digestive systems.
Vitamin B2 is necessary for the full work of the nervous system, to ensure the function of vision, maintaining the health of the skin and mucous membranes, production of hormones and maturation of red blood cells.
Vitamin C is involved in more than 300 biological processes. Ascorbic acid is best known for its ability to strengthen the immune system.
Of course, vitamins are not all useful components that are contained in fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables and fruits – the main suppliers of dietary fiber, playing an important role in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, the normalization of fat metabolism, removal of cholesterol from the body. Food fibres are not digested or digested in the gastrointestinal tract, but are processed by the useful microflora of the intestine.
Depending on the solubility in water, dietary fibres are divided into soluble (e.g. some gummi, pectin) and insoluble (cellulose, cell wall residues, etc.).
Basic functions of dietary fibres:
Cleansing. Eating fibres have the property, like a sponge, to absorb harmful compounds (toxins, poisons, heavy metal salts, radionuclides) and take them outside the internal environment of the human body. This contributes to the normal vital functions of the body as a whole.
It is digestive. Eating fibers improve intestinal peristalsis, helps this organ to get rid of decay products in time. In addition, dietary fiber increases the degree of assimilation of nutrients by the human body.
Immunomodulatory. Cellular tissue takes an active part in the restoration of intestinal microflora, and it is in the intestines concentrated lion’s share of immune cells – more than 80%.
Normalization of metabolism. Thanks to dietary fiber really significantly reduce blood glucose and “bad” cholesterol. In other words, fiber counteracts atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension.
It’s a fight against overweight. Food fibres purify the body not only from dangerous to human health and life, but also from excess lipids and sugars. Besides they reduce the speed of assimilation of the listed compounds by organism. Thus, fiber helps to reduce weight.
Appetite control. Filling the stomach in a swollen state, fiber for a long time deprives people of the feeling of hunger.
Nutrition for microbiota. Dietary fiber plays a role as a kind of food for a number of intestinal microorganisms that synthesize vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, immunoglobulins.
Prevention of oncological diseases. If you eat foods rich in dietary fiber regularly, you can protect yourself from cancer, especially – digestive organ cancer.
Few people know that in addition to vitamins of minerals and fiber, useful fruits and vegetables also contain minor components, which serve to protect the body from harmful environmental effects.
And although there are very few of them in food, they perform the most important functions: regulate metabolism.
Deficiency of these nutrients and biologically active components leads to a decrease in the body’s resistance to adverse environmental factors, the formation of immunodeficiency states, the chronization of diseases, reduced quality of life.
In the body these useful substances are not synthesized, and they can be obtained from products of plant origin.
Natural minor components include the following compounds: flavonoids, food indole, organic acids.
Flavonoids participate in strengthening the walls of capillaries, prevent bleeding and reduce blood pressure, protecting against hypertension, reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, they help the body to fight against allergies and tumour processes, protect against free radicals, neutralize toxins.
Food indoles are able to regulate and stabilize the human immune system and protect against toxic compounds. Indoles are powerful anticarcinogenic compounds that help prevent cancer of the breast and other organs.
Organic acids (amber, apple, citric acid, etc.) give food a pleasant taste, quench thirst, improve the activity of the digestive tract, normalizing the acid-alkaline balance (pH of the environment) and thus contributing to a change in the composition of the microflora in a favorable way (reduce rotting), activate intestinal peristalsis, reducing the risk of developing many gastrointestinal and other diseases. Organic acids contained in cranberries and cranberries have antiseptic action.
Chronic deficiency in the intake of these biologically active phyto compounds can dramatically reduce the body’s adaptive capacity.
It is the combination and synergy of all components is due to the effective revitalizing effect of fruits and vegetables for the body, so it is necessary to eat them regularly.
It is recommended to consume at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily. But since fruits and vegetables are not equal in terms of different nutrients, it is advisable to prepare a weekly menu so that a wide variety of plant products are present on the table daily. And not only fresh fruits and vegetables are useful, but also frozen and dried, which retain their unique properties.