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Fruits and vegetables: 12 myths to dispel
Fruits and vegetables: 12 myths to dispel
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Does pineapple burn calories? Does fruit at the end of a meal make you fat? Is the salad light? Does spinach contain iron?

Today Dissapore returns to the false food myths to dispel, and after food in general, carbohydrates, fish, chocolate, oysters, craft beer, nutrition and conservation we are talking about fruit and vegetables.

Beautiful theme rich in popular beliefs and different opinions, just think of the eternal dispute between supporters and detractors of organic.

But what are the main myths? Let's find out with the help of the book the Smart Food diet (Rizzoli, 357 pages, 16, 90 euros), the first Italian diet complete with a scientific trademark from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan.

# 1 - If organic, fruits and vegetables are more nutritious

fruits and vegetables
fruits and vegetables

A recent review of 300 scientific studies has highlighted a real difference between organic vegetables and those grown with conventional agriculture: in the former, higher concentrations of micronutrients and four times less pesticides were found.

But other massive reinterpretations of hundreds of studies have come to the conclusion that variations in nutrient intakes are not significant enough to affect health.

Maybe they are tastier, yes. Probably their production, without the use of pesticides, pollutes the environment less: it is not a little. However, from a scientific point of view, there is a lack of sufficient research to promote bio for health at the expense of conventional agriculture products.

The passion for organic has become a social phenomenon, with a psychological component typical of the time we live in.

Thinking that a fruit is grown as it once was (although this is not the case) refers to the romantic idea of a mythical past and hides a rebellion against the excesses of intensive cultivation, against unbridled consumerism. The boost is so powerful that you are willing to spend up to twice as much for an apple grown without chemical pesticides.

What cannot be shared even a little is the belief of some seconds that everything that is not bio poisons.

Synthetic pesticides are eliminated when fruit is washed, and better yet, dried. Even organic vegetables always need a good wash. Organic farming avoids pesticides and herbicides but can use them of natural origin.

For one thing, it does not provide for the elimination of fertilizers, including dung. You do!

# 2 - Spinach is high in iron

spinach
spinach

Not as much as you think. Legumes, nuts, green radicchio, seeds bring more.

However, dressing with lemon juice increases the availability of iron in spinach. The ideal would be to eat them raw or after a quick blanching because the heat degrades the folate, present in all green leafy vegetables.

# 3 - The salad is light

dandelion salad, marta
dandelion salad, marta

Sometimes it is, others definitely not. A salad with black olives, potatoes, mai, emmenthal and even avocado is a thousand-calorie bomb, more than spaghetti with tomato sauce.

To prepare a healthy and light single dish, it is worth combining lettuce and tomatoes with carbohydrates of your choice from potatoes or a wholemeal sandwich, proteins of your choice between borlotti beans, mackerel, shrimp, eggs, fresh cheeses, chicken or turkey breasts.

As a condiment a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon or vinegar (it would be better to give up the salt). It goes without saying that mayonnaise or packaged sauces are not recommended, while mustard is fine, if among the ingredients there are only mustard seeds, water, vinegar, salt and curcumin (vegetable dye extracted from turmeric) identified by the initials E100.

# 4 - Vegetables in a diet must be unsalted

Field herbs in salads
Field herbs in salads

Each meal requires a certain amount of fat. It can be a drizzle of oil raw or on other courses, or a handful of seeds or dried fruit. A lunch with a plain salad and a piece of bread makes no sense: it would mean giving up a bunch of vitamins.

This is the explanation. During digestion, ingested fats are broken down with the use of bile and enzymes into fatty acids. These, having passed the membrane of the intestinal villi, merge again to form super molecules of fats, the chylomicrons.

Under a kind of protein mantle, they contain everything: triglycerides, cholesterol and vitamins (A, D, E, K, F, Q), which is why we cannot absorb essential vitamins without fats.

# 5 - Do frozen vegetables retain their nutritional values?

Ready salad
Ready salad

They keep a good part of it: the ice crystals formed by the water present in the plants are very small and cause insignificant lesions to the cells. Rather than not eating vegetables because you don't have time or desire to prepare them, it's okay to use frozen foods, which are undoubtedly comfortable.

Among other things, there may be a greater loss of nutritional values in fresh vegetables kept for a long time in the fridge, or in the gardener's counter rather than in frozen ones, sent below zero as soon as they are picked.

However, in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard and herbs, freezing drastically reduces the folate content, which seems to be responsible for the protective effect against breast cancer.

While the vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, of which green leafy vegetables are rich, is not damaged: 100 grams of frozen spinach are able to satisfy the daily need for vitamin K.

It decreases the amount of glucosinolates, the compounds whose anticancer properties are studied in broccoli and cabbage.

Since they are water-soluble and sensitive to heat, the problem is not so much below zero as the bleaching process before storage in the freezer, or boiling for a few seconds in order to make the enzymes that cause browning inactive.

# 6 - Carrots should be excluded from the diet

carrots
carrots

Many (unreliable) diets advise against carrots. Come on and go, a lot of people are convinced: to be banned if you want to lose weight. Reason? A high glycemic index.

The glycemic index indicates how quickly the sugars present in the food are absorbed by the body. However, it does not consider the amount of sugars contained in the food, so it is useful up to a certain point. Instead, it is more important to evaluate the glycemic load, namely the amount of sugars consumed.

Carrots are the example par excellence: its sugars end up in the circulation quickly, but they are just 7.5 grams per ounce. In short, eliminating them does not do justice to common sense. Indeed, you should learn and munch them as an appetizer, with fennel and celery, to keep hunger at bay, instead of nibbling on bread and breadsticks. Fiber satiates you and makes you eat less.

Carrots are also good, they have vitamin A, important for regulating the vision mechanism, and beta-carotene, which keeps the lungs healthy and improves cholesterol levels.

# 7 - Raw or cooked tomatoes?

Raw tomatoes
Raw tomatoes

In season, both. Lycopene, one of the beneficial molecules of tomatoes, is better absorbed with prolonged cooking or with a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil.

# 8 - What about broccoli?

broccoli
broccoli

Their substances studied for their anticancer properties, gluconisolates, deteriorate with heat. Same end for vitamin C. The ideal would be to consume raw and chopped cabbage and broccoli, at most after a quick blanching.

# 9 - Are green beans vegetables or legumes?

green beans
green beans

They belong to the legume family, but have a nutritional contribution similar to a vegetable: low in calories, rich in potassium, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and dietary fiber.

Excellent as a side dish.

# 10. Are fruits and vegetables enough to reach the recommended daily levels of fiber?

fruits and vegetables
fruits and vegetables

Regular consumption of foods rich in dietary fiber brings many benefits, it is recommended to take about 25-30 grams per day for an average adult.

In general, fruit and vegetables are not enough to reach the level, one kilo should be eaten. This is why it is important to consume whole grains at least once a day, some nuts for breakfast or as a snack, legumes at least three times a week.

# 11 - Fruit at the end of a meal makes you fat

basket, seasonal fruit, restaurant
basket, seasonal fruit, restaurant

False legend. Only those who have some gastrointestinal problems will do well to eat it between meals. For others it is indifferent.

Indeed, there is some advantage in closing lunch and dinner with fruit, because vitamin C improves the absorption of the iron contained in vegetables and legumes.

# 12 - Pineapple burns calories

pineapple
pineapple

Pineapple does not burn calories, no fruit can do that.

It is true that it has a lot of fiber, capable of giving a sense of satiety, which contains an enzyme, bromelain, capable of degrading proteins and thus facilitating digestion, which provides just 40 calories per 100 grams. In addition, it is rich in vitamin C.

But focusing on pineapple makes no sense: varying the fruit allows the body to access the different micronutrients it needs.

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