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20 Incredible Facts About Eating Fruits And Vegetables That You Probably Didn’t Know

20 Incredible Facts About Eating Fruits And Vegetables That You Probably Didn’t Know

Fruits and vegetables have been in the human diet over the entirety of human history. We eat them raw, cooked, chilled, frozen, and in ever creative combinations with other fruits and vegetables. We drink them in juices and in the case of things like orange peel, we even use them as seasoning for other foods. As with everything that’s been around that long, there is a lot to know about fruits and veggies so let’s talk about some of them!

1. There is no such thing as negative calorie foods.

There is a long standing myth out there that you can eat some fruits and vegetables that require more calories to digest than they actually give. Unfortunately, this is total hogwash. There are foods out there that have very few calories. For instance, a stalk of celery has between six and ten calories. There is a metric called TEF (Thermal Effect of Food) that measures how many calories are used to digest food. Generally speaking, it’s only about 10% to 20%. That means a ten calorie stalk of celery still gives you eight calories even after digestion. Now you know!

2. Bananas are fascinating.

Bananas are a favorite fruit around the world. It tastes good, it’s high in potassium, and it’s delicious when placed in a dish with ice cream and chocolate syrup. It is also the most interesting fruit in the world. In the 1950’s, a disease called the Panama Disease all but wiped out an entire species of banana which motivated farmers to use the Cavendish banana which we all eat today. The bananas we eat are actually all cloned from a single banana plant in southeast Asia which means that every single banana is exactly the same banana. Also, bananas are technically herbs.

3. Fruits and vegetables are nutritious in every form.

It’s a wildly popular rumor that frozen veggies and fruits aren’t as nutritious as their frozen counterparts. This simply isn’t true. Studies by the FDA have confirmed that any decrease in nutrition from freezing vegetables is negligible at best. So you can eat it fresh, frozen, or even drink it and you’ll get the same benefits! Do keep in mind that if you drink it, it has to be 100% juice. A brand with only 10% is obviously not going to be more nutritious.

4. Fruits and veggies have a ton of fiber.

A lot of people knew this one already but what they don’t know are the benefits of fiber. It can help keep your bowel movements regular, help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and help you feel fuller for longer. Pretty much all of those things can lead to you feeling healthier, losing weight, and eating less bad food.

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5. Some fruits and veggies contain toxins.

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that eating fruits and veggies are required for a truly healthy diet. However, a little known fact is that some fruits and veggies contain toxic chemicals. The most widely known toxin in fruits is cyanide. As many people know, cyanide occur in low levels in apples. It can also occur in apricots, peaches, and cassava roots. Potatoes contain occasionally harmful amounts of a toxin called solanine. There are rarely enough in potatoes to cause harm and farmers grow them in a specific manner to keep the toxin low. Even so, if you’ve consumed any of these fruits or veggies, you’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals and they’re not from pesticides for once.

6. The world’s most hated vegetable is one of the best for you.

In many countries around the world, Brussels sprouts reign as the least enjoyable vegetable out there. Some claim that their bitter flavor prevents true enjoyment and cooking them to remove the bitterness is more of an art than a skill. What you likely don’t know is that Brussels sprouts are among the most nutritious veggies out there. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, has virtually no calories, no fat, no cholesterol, and it even fills you up. You can find a variety of recipes that help deal with the occasionally bitter flavor but you should definitely try to pack more of these puppies into your diet.

7. Broccoli contains more protein than steak.

Broccoli got a bad rap a few years ago when President George W Bush proclaimed that he would never eat it again. Sadly, that was probably a bad move because broccoli is actually quite good for you. Aside from the usual nutrition one garners from eating veggies, broccoli in general has a great deal of protein. Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than steak. Since it doesn’t come with all those saturated and trans fats or cholesterol, you can get all the protein you need with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Let’s not forget all of the other awesome nutrition it provides. Pumpkin seeds are also a good choice as they have more protein than a similar amount of ground beef.

8. Pineapples can destroy your taste buds.

Believe it or not, it’s absolutely true. A little known fact about pineapple is that it contains an enzyme called bromelain. If you read other sources they all say pretty much the same things. This enzyme breaks down proteins in your mouth, namely your taste buds. This can wreck your palate for the rest of the day until your mouth can heal itself. A fun fact that a lot of people throw around that the enzyme bromelain is used in meat tenderizer. Pineapple is a fruit and that means it’s great for you, but you should probably let a freshly sliced pineapple sit in the fridge for a bit before eating it so the enzymes can break down.

9. Peppers can encourage proper clotting.

Peppers are great even if most people use them as a spice rather than using them as a food. A little known fact about cayenne peppers is that they can promote the clotting of blood over wounds. According to experts, you can sprinkle some cayenne pepper into a wound where it will act as gauze. This will help stop the bleeding. Eating cayenne pepper can also help equalize blood pressure and promote clotting from the inside. That means it doesn’t matter if you eat it or literally put it on the wound, it will help it heal faster.

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10. Apples give you more energy than coffee.

In no way would we ever try to convince the coffee aficionados in our readership to give up their precious morning coffee. We’re not crazy. However, if you’re finding yourself a little low on energy during the afternoon then consider eating an apple in the morning with your coffee. Thanks to its high carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral content, apples have the perfect storm of nutrition to help you stay energized all day.

11. Watermelons can keep you hydrated.

Watermelons aren’t just giant and nutritious but they can also play a key role in keeping you hydrated. In the days before modern plumbing when water became plentiful, people used to carry around watermelons on long trips to stay hydrated. Due to its thick skin and the fact that it’s 92% water, explorers and desert-faring folks carried the fruit around so they had something to drink. This is why watermelons make great food for picnics, beach visits, or other outdoor activities that take place predominately when it is hot outside. Bring it along, it can keep you from getting dehydrated!

12. Grapefruits are a horrible idea if you take certain medications.

Grapefruits are among the most nutritious fruits out there for you. Unfortunately, they come with a little bit of a stigma. Okay, it’s actually a pretty big stigma because grapefruit can kill you. If you take certain medication, the chemicals in grapefruit can cause a bad reaction that can have fatal results. If you’re on medications, be sure to check with a medical professional before drinking or consuming any grapefruit because it could end very badly for you. We’d include a list of drugs you shouldn’t eat grapefruit while taking but it’s a fairly comprehensive list.

13. According to United States law, tomatoes are vegetables.

One of the most enjoyable parts of United States culture are the faces of awe you get when you tell someone that tomatoes are actually fruit because they have seeds. It is technically true and a lot of people don’t know that they have a fruit in their salad. However, in the late 1800’s, the US Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are to be considered a vegetable. This was because of a trade tariff back then that taxes imported vegetables but not imported fruits. The Supreme Court ruled tomatoes a vegetable so they could be taxed like a vegetable when imported into the country. So when you eat one, it’s botanically a fruit but legally a vegetable.

14. The skin usually has the most nutrition.

If you peel your fruits and vegetables before you eat them, you may be making a nutritional mistake. On many fruits and veggies such as carrots, apples, and cucumbers, a good percentage of the nutrition is actually stored in the skin. That means when you peel them, you’re actually peeling away nutritious benefit. The skins also contain a lot of fiber and we’ve already talked about all the great things that fiber can do.

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15. Eating fruits and vegetables to gain weight is really difficult to do.

All fruits and all vegetables are low in calories. You can eat two pounds of vegetables and barely crack 300 calories. This is why you hear nutrition professionals, doctors, and other health conscious people tell you to eat them for snacks. A back of chips contains fat, oil, and a lot of calories. A pound of carrots contains none of those things. It is absolutely absurd how much fruit and vegetables you can eat before the calories start stacking up. One stalk of celery is about ten calories. For the average 2,000 calorie diet, you would have to consume 200 stalks of celery. Good luck with that!

16. It does make you more healthy.

You hear it all the time that fruits and veggies can make you more healthy and help prevent disease. The unfortunate part is that no one tells you why. The list of reasons why are way too long but we’ll go over a couple of them here. As we discussed, the high fiber content can help you lower cholesterol which will help prevent all diseases that can be caused by high cholesterol. Eating fruits and veggies instead of sugary or fatty junk food can prevent weight gain which can prevent diabetes as well as virtually all other diseases and conditions that comes with being overweight. The list goes on and on. People don’t just say that fruits and vegetables can prevent diseases as a marketing tactic. They actually do these things for valid reasons.

17. Onions are ridiculously good for you.

Onions can make you cry and make your breath smell terrible. Believe it or not, the reason onions do those things are the exact same reason why onions are good for you. Onions contain over 100 sulfide-containing compounds. These contain a number of health benefits such as the prevention of asthma and some types of cancer. Onions are related to leeks, garlic, chives, and scallions. While they don’t all have the same level of health benefits, they do all have similar health benefits.

18. Chefs are trying to bring more purple veggies to the dinner table.

A new fad among chefs around the industry are purple vegetables. In some grocery stores you can find a lot of vegetables in purple including carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, corn, and asparagus. Purple vegetables have anthocyanins. Early studies suggest that this flavanoid has a lot of health benefits such as the prevention of heart disease, some cancers, improved general health, and could even protect our brains as we age. If you find some purple veggies, give them a try because they’re pretty awesome. You can also find anthocyanins in high quantities in blackberries.

19. Orange peels are amazing.

Orange peels have over four times the amount of fiber of the actual fruit. It also contains more antioxidants than the actual fruit. The only downside is that it’s difficult to find a way to eat it. The best way is to grate it up like cheese into an orange zest. You can use that to season all sorts of foods. This is how they make orange chicken in Chinese restaurants. Not bad for a part of the fruit that almost everyone simply throws away.

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20. The stalk, rind, or skin of a fruit or veggie is typically better than the actual fruit.

In most cases, the outside of the fruit or vegetable in question is more nutritious than the inside. This is depressing because the inside is usually the part that tastes good. Much like the orange peels mentioned earlier, there are creative ways to get these nutritious parts of the vegetable into your meals.

Wrap up

As we’ve stated numerous times already, fruits and vegetables rock. They’re low in calories, high in nutrition, high in fiber, and most of them taste pretty good. It seems like every year we find another new awesome thing that fruits and vegetables can do for us and our bodies. If you’re not eating them, you’re missing out on a lot of things that we both know about and don’t know about yet.

Featured photo credit: Johnston Health via johnstonhealth.org

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Joseph Hindy

A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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