Weekly Lesson #3 - Fruits/Veggies and Fiber
Weekly lesson #3 - Fruits/Veggies and Fiber
Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and there’s a lot of truth to that! Vegetables are a type of food that you simply can’t eat enough of. There are two big components of vegetables and fruit that make them so great:
Vegetables and fruit are great sources of micronutrients: vitamins (Vitamins C, B, A, D, K, E) and minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, etc.) Vitamins are in charge of many chemical processes in your body, such as regulating metabolic processes, bolstering the immune system, healing wounds, firing synapses within your brain, etc. They also comprise components of your body such as your bones, blood cells, skin, teeth, and mucus membranes. Minerals are comprised of electrolytes that help maintain fluid balance, regulate muscle contractions and nerve impulses.
Vegetables also contain phytonutrients, chemical compounds present in the colors of food that don’t have nutritional value, but do a lot of good in the body. They have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-stress, anti-hypertensive, metabolism-boosting properties, among many others. They are present in foods such as carrots (beta-carotene), spinach (lutein), tomatoes (lycopene), blueberries (reservatrol), apples/onions (flavanoids) to name a few.
There are two varieties: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps manage blood glucose levels and lowers cholesterol. It helps manage blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and increasing satiety - the feeling of being full! Insoluble fiber is not processed by the body and passes straight through you, helping in bowel movement regularity and reducing the risk of colon cancer. Fiber is also instrumental in increasing your gut health. 60-80% of your immune system is located in the gut. Over 40 diseases have been linked to bacterial imbalances in the gut (depression, arthritis, IBS, cancer), so maintaining a healthy gut flora is instrumental in your overall health!
Look for fiber in all unrefined carbohydrates, like the ones that we are having you incorporate in the challenge. We want to AVOID refined/processed ones! These have been shown to spike blood sugar levels, increase triglycerides, LDL, and insulin resistance.
Fruit is awesome as well; we don’t want to undercut their importance, however, it’s easy to consume a high amount of sugar with fruit. Look for portion recommendations below.
How Much Should I Be Eating?
Veggies - As laid out to you from your nutrition plan, aim for 6 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, ideally within each meal.
Fruits - Since fruit has a higher sugar content, we recommend 1-2 servings of fruit per day, and 2-3 servings on a day you exercise (30+ minutes of activity). (These count as a serving of one of your carbs if you are tracking portion sizing.) Fruit servings can vary depending upon the variety. If they are smaller fruits (cherries, berries), then one cupped palm would be a serving. If it’s a larger fruit, then treat each piece as one individual serving (a single banana, a single orange, etc.)
So moral of the story: you simply can’t eat enough veggies! The likelihood is that you’ll get sick of ‘em before over-eating them. Make it your goal to incorporate all of the colors of the rainbow every day!