Living: Eat fresh fruits and vegetables

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By Manuel Bautista-Macias

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Fruit and vegetables have their own important rules in terms of maintaining health.

Fresh produce provides good nutrients; fruits and vegetables provide a lot of fiber, both important for appetite control.

All kinds of fruits and vegetables in all colors are recommended, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator Vidya Sharma said.

“It’s always about the rainbow,” Sharma said. “It’s recommended.”

On average, five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables are recommended daily. Fresh fruits are preferable to canned or fruit juices, Sharma said.

Choose juice with pulp for the fiber; juice without the pulp has a higher concentration of sugar.

There’s really no fresh produce to avoid. Just eat more leafy green and yellow-orange vegetables.

Have a small or medium baked potato with the skin on because the skin contains all the fiber, making it more healthful, Sharma said.

Being a vegetarian has advantages because it eliminates saturated fats from animal products, Sharma said.

White meat, such as baked or broiled chicken and fish, is preferable to red meat, which has been linked to a higher risk of cancer.

Being vegetarian won’t help if a diet does not contain the right mix of foods, which can compromise health, Sharma said.

Beans are a great source for protein, but consume all types of beans because they contain different proteins. Nuts are high in proteins and fiber.

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provide a tracking system for level of physical activity and calories burned or eaten.

Local farmer markets provide fresh produce with fewer preservatives and harmful pesticides.

The farmers market also promotes locally grown products providing fresher produce. Produce exported from other states or countries can lose nutrients from too much exposure.

Frozen vegetables are an equally good option  because when the product is cut and packed it is at its highest nutritive value.

For more dietary information, visit usda.gov or eatright.org. For more on local farmer’s markets, visit sanantoniofarmersmarket.org.

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