Is eating vegetables every day healthy? Learn about how vegetables help your body, lose weight, and boost your metabolism.
Welcome to my podcast “How vegetables help your body and lose weight”. I hope you all had a great, healthful, and productive week. As always, you can check out my Living Well Community page on Facebook to look for ideas and tips on how to live a healthy, rewarding and above all, happy life. If you’re a new listener don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast, so you’ll be notified about my upcoming episodes. You can also join my blog that precedes each podcast by clicking on the link in my show notes. And also, this year I started to post the script for my podcast. It’s available on my website beyondyourscale.com in the blog section. If you’re a subscriber to my blog, you will automatically receive an email with the link to the script. Enjoy!
Today’s podcast follows up on my blog “Bittersweet Truth About Fruits and Vegetables” how fruits and vegetables can help your body, boost your metabolism, and promote weight loss.
But before I go on, I want to give you the google buster question for this podcast. Over 90% of the nation fail to this. What is it? As always, I will give you my answer at the end of the podcast or you will find it on my Facebook group “The Living Well Community”.
Everyone knows that plant-based food is healthy. But let’s go into more detail: What helps against what? How much do we need? What do vegetables do for your body? And which fruits and vegetables help you lose weight?
Have you eaten a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables today? No? My suggestion: Before you continue listening, get an apple or a carrot - it's best to buy both to keep in stock! Then you would have already managed two of the five recommended fruit and vegetable portions that we should eat every day in order to benefit from the numerous health effects of fresh food. And by the way, you've also taken care of the waistline: A new study by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health has now concluded that certain types of fruits and vegetables lead to greater weight loss than others. Congratulations! Apples, and carrots are part of it!
Fruits and vegetables: the fat-melting super stars!
If you are primarily concerned with losing weight, you should also pay attention to which fruits and vegetables end up on your plate in the future. The consumption of some varieties leads to greater weight loss, as the new US study with 117,918 participants between the ages of 30 and 40 recently revealed. These include:
Daily consumption of tofu and soybeans has the highest benefit for a flat stomach with an average weight loss of 1.1 kg (about 2 pounds) over a 4-year period – followed by apples and pears with a value of 0.6 kg and berries with 0.5 kg (about 1 pound). This might not sound like a lot, but if you compare it to an average lifetime weight gain for adult women of 22 pounds and adult men 19 pounds, it starts to make sense. So, just swap meat for tofu every now and then or choose an apple instead of the banana? It's not quite that simple: the subjects consumed the fruits and vegetables in question every day (!) for a period of 24 years. The weight was checked every four years, along with other parameters such as the amount of food and other eating habits. Study leader Monica L. Bertoia emphasized that especially apples, pears, berries, and non-starchy fruits and vegetables should be consumed more.
Americans aren't quite sticking to this yet - their favorites are mainly fruit juices and potatoes. But you can do better!
Pears as fat-burners? - It's not that simple! Thousands of bioactive substances are involved in the processes in our metabolism, the function of which is still largely unclear, such as secondary plant substances such as flavonoids or phytoestrogens. "The best thing is to get the whole colorful variety on your plate," according to health experts.
Getting enough fruit and veggies is not easy
I’ll have some seconds: it should be half a pound a day or “five-a-day” according to the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO). But studies show that only about a quarter of men and a third of women reach these levels. Is that why we suffer from vitamin deficiencies? For which diseases has the protective effect of green food been proven and what should you pay attention to when preparing it? Let me serve you the crispest facts and information.
What can you do today for a healthier tomorrow?
Plenty of fruit and various types of vegetables on your plate significantly promote your health. And as a side note: Incidentally, when it comes to eco-friendly products, the internet provides interesting details on the consumer behavior of Americans. But you can do more than just eat fruits and vegetables: according to a British study with over 20,000 participants, three additional rules extend life by around 14 (!) years:
• exercise regularly
• do not smoke
• moderate alcohol consumption (maximum two glasses of wine or a glass of beer per day).
What do fruits and vegetables protect against?
For starters, some common diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Experts at the German Nutrition Society examined hundreds of studies and checked their probative value according to a recognized assessment scheme of the World Health Organization (WHO). Only human studies were allowed. I have summarized the results and will include them in a table in the show notes.
Each illness was given a level of protection and a rating
High Blood Pressure
The blood pressure-lowering effect of high fruit and vegetable consumption is rated as convincing. There was good agreement across numerous controlled studies.
Coronary Heart Diseases
Proven protective effect. The American Heart Association, therefore, recommends increased consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Each additional portion of fruit and vegetables consumed daily reduces the risk measurably.
Good evidence from the studies. Vegetables probably offer better protection than fruit. However, the preventive effect of dietary fiber is not sustainable.
Most study results indicate a protective effect. In this case, however, fruit seems to offer better protection. There were no clear indications for vegetables.
Protective effect likely. With a few exceptions, the study results point in the same direction. The positive effect of fruit is better documented.
With a few exceptions, the study results prove the positive effect. Fruits and vegetables are likely to have the same protective effect.
Oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx cancer
Several studies indicate a protective effect but are insufficiently documented. Not smoking plays a much more important role than diet.
Kidney and bladder cancer
A protective effect is considered possible. For bladder cancer, the evidence for fruit is slightly better.
Breast and prostate cancer
Possibly some protection
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. So far, no connection has been proven between increased fruit and vegetable consumption and these diseases.
Several studies point to a risk-reducing effect of increased fruit consumption. No data has been recorded for vegetables.
Due to the small number of published studies, only a possible protective effect can be assumed.
Studies indicate a slightly risk-reducing effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
Due to a small number of studies, a protective effect can only be assumed.
Are vegetables as healthy when consumed raw?
An Italian study shows that valuable ingredients such as carotenoids, polyphenols, and vitamin C are not necessarily lost when heated. On the contrary: In the case of carrots, zucchini and broccoli, the overall antioxidant absorption even increased because the ingredients are made more accessible to the human body through cooking. This also applies to lycopene, the red tomato pigment. Ketchup and marrow contain a lot of it. Nevertheless, vegetables should be treated as gently as possible, i.e. freshly processed and only cooked "al dente" (firm to the bite).
How exactly do fruits and vegetables help?
Fruit and vegetables contain many important nutrients, but they also contain a lot of water and are therefore (mostly) low in energy. Therefore, they are good for your health. Based on scientific studies, researchers point out that a diet with a high proportion of plant-based foods not only keeps you healthy but can also prevent diseases. Here the most important reasons why fruit and vegetables should be on your daily menu:
Vitamins, minerals, and trace elements
People cannot live without vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They are necessary for the construction of cells, blood cells, bones and teeth. And they fulfill important tasks in metabolism and in the interaction of nerves and muscles. Vitamin A, for example, is important for vision, vitamin D for calcium absorption and healthy bones. Minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium also have important functions in the body. The body only needs trace elements (also called microelements) in very small amounts. Important trace elements are, for example, iron as a component of red blood cells and iodine for the functions of the thyroid gland.
Because the human organism cannot produce vitamins, minerals or trace elements by itself, they have to be ingested through food - especially vegetables and fruit rich in vitamins and minerals.
Dietary fiber is found almost exclusively in plant foods. The plant fibers are not or only partially digested by humans. High-fiber foods cause a long-lasting satiety effect and thus make it easier to maintain or reduce body weight. In addition, they stimulate intestinal activity and thereby promote digestion. Complaints such as constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis can be prevented. In addition, a high fiber intake lowers the cholesterol concentration in the blood and has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. A high intake of dietary fiber can help reduce the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, type 2 diabetes mellitus, colon cancer and dyslipidemia. According to the Mayo Clinic, women should therefore try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.
In addition to whole grains in muesli and bread, some types of fruit and vegetables are particularly good choices for fiber:
Two large apples (about 500g) contain almost 12g of fiber. Other high-fiber fruits include pears, currants, strawberries, oranges, and bananas.
One of the top vegetables is Brussels sprouts. One serving (80g, or 1 cup with 8 - 9 brussel sprouts) provides more than 3 grams of fiber. Cauliflower, carrots, red cabbage, green peppers and potatoes are also considered to be high in fiber.
Secondary plant substances
Fruit and vegetables are colorful, they taste and smell good. The so-called secondary plant substances contribute to this. Only in recent years have scientists recognized their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. They are also likely to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Around one hundred thousand secondary plant substances are known, including polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally present in plants. They are not essential nutrients but do possess antioxidant properties. A subgroup of the polyphenols are the flavonoids, which as plant pigments are responsible for the red, blue, light yellow and violet color of many types of vegetables and fruit. For example, they are found in apples, cherries, plums, berries, kale, eggplant, black and green tea.
Because polyphenols are not an absolutely necessary part of our diet and their health benefits are still debated, there are currently no official recommendations on how much of them should be eaten on a daily basis. Only olive oil (which contains hydroxytyrosol, a polyphenol) has been claimed to help protect blood lipids from oxidative stress. This beneficial effect is obtained with a daily consumption of about two tablespoons of olive oil (about 20 g). I suggest you use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil which retains most of the nutrients.
Can juice meet my needs?
Partly. With18 liters per capita (a little less than 5 gallons) in a year, Americans, compared to other nations, aren’t drinking very much juice these days. Which is a good thing, because you should be mindful of how you take your fruits. Fruit drinks diluted with water may contain up to 20 percent sugar and other additives. Even 100 percent fruit juice can be made from concentrate and just juice alone does not offer much of a change after pressing. The following applies to all juices: only a fraction of the antioxidant effect (3 to 10 percent) is retained. In addition, juices offer hardly any fiber and do not fill you up. The US department of health, therefore, recommends covering a maximum of only one of the five daily portions with juice.
Smoothies. Are they better than juice?
Yes, because they still contain valuable components of the whole fruit. However, the decisive factor is quality. The loss of active ingredients is lowest when whole, freshly harvested fruits are put in a blender. But that's not the case with all smoothies. There are also those made from juice, concentrates, and dietary supplements. Since not all smoothies are created equal, only a look at the ingredients will help.
Vitamin supplements. How good are pills and powders? Do they work?
For many people, a daily multivitamin pill is part of their daily diet. They hope that they will improve the delivery of vitamins and to keep them healthy for a long time. But according to an editorial in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine titled “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”, there is no reliable evidence that isolated vitamin supplements actually serve health or longevity. On the contrary, according to a study by the University of Colorado, some pills have long been suspected of even promoting cancer. I’ll address that in a moment. It is therefore advisable to speak with your physician before taking vitamin supplements, especially in the case of cancer, and definitely not as a replacement for fresh fruits and vegetables. After all, it’s called a “supplement” and not a “replacement”.
As early as 2007, an evaluation by the Cochrane Center in Copenhagen showed that the regular intake of artificial vitamins does not lengthen life as desired but shortens it.
The assumption was confirmed again and again in the following years. Some studies that wanted to prove the opposite even had to be stopped early. But what exactly happens in our body? This is what researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas found in 2015:
Vitamin supplements (antioxidants) may promote cancer!
The background: Free radicals, such as those caused by sun exposure or smoking, can be partly responsible for the development of cancer. Antioxidants such as vitamin C or E can help our body to scavenge free radicals. So it seems logical that the antioxidants in vitamin supplements should have the same effect on our health. However, the reality is different, as the researchers in Dallas confirm: In an experiment with mice, they were able to observe how the vitamin supplements work in the body. To do this, they planted skin cancer cells in mice and enriched the mice's diet with vitamin supplements.
The result: Vitamin preparations stimulate the formation of metastases and thus promote the spread of cancer. If vitamin supplements are taken in addition, more tumor cells survive in the body, and the number and size of the metastases increase. Although the results of the studies are based on animal experiments, the researchers are certain that the same effect would occur in humans. So, therefore, please talk with your physician, particularly in the case of cancer, before taking any vitamin supplements. You will find a link to the article in the show notes.
Vitamin supplements vs. nature
If you want to eat a healthy and varied diet, you should use fresh and natural sources of vitamins. "Fruit and vegetables provide a wide range of water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and folic acid, phytochemicals, and fiber with proven health benefits," according to health experts. "In contrast, isolated vitamins or antioxidants have no effect on all-cause mortality." The reason for this is the interaction of over a thousand different substances that are present in fresh fruit and vegetables. There are no excuses: eat your fruits and vegetables!
How can I eat more plant-based foods?
My tip: as a snack, eat fruit, such as an apple or kiwi, instead of a chocolate bar. Top each sandwich with lettuce leaves, tomato, or cucumber slices. Have vegetable wedges with sour cream as a TV snack. Eat a small salad before each main meal and/or include fruit as a dessert. And if none of that helps, always remember how easy fruit and vegetables can help you to be and stay slim!
One way to remember to eat your fruits and vegetables is the 5 a day rule. Here is how it can work for you. The aim of " 5 a day " is to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables. Two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables daily would be the rule for healthy eating. How you do it - fresh, deep-frozen, dried or even replacing one serving with juice - is of secondary importance. The focus is on enjoying at least 600g, or almost 1 ½ pounds of fruit and vegetables a day.
With these three examples of fruit and vegetable daily rations, the "Five-a-day" can look so delicious:
Half a pineapple (250 g) in the morning, five radishes (50 g) in the morning, asparagus as a side dish for lunch (200 g), in the afternoon a few grapes (100 g) and for dinner a small tomato (50 g). Altogether 650 grams of pure health.
Observe the traffic light rule, because the mixture of red, yellow, and green ensures the optimal supply of all healthy substances: in the morning an orange or glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (100 g), in between a carrot (150 g), at lunchtime sugar snap peas as a side dish (100 g), in the afternoon one Apple (150 g) and a cucumber salad (150 g) in the evening.
This is also an easy way to manage your workload: a banana (100 g) in the morning, a glass of beetroot juice (100 g) in between, broccoli as a side dish for lunch (200 g), an orange (100 g) in the afternoon and in the evening a salad from one chicory bulb (150 g).
I’ll address this in one of my next blogs on how to make this concept part of your daily life.
In conclusion, I will give you a translation of an interview I came across in an online magazine.
“Vegetable foods are more filling”. I thought I’d share that with you as it gives you good answers to very common questions.
‘1st question: Is our intake of vitamins at risk?
Most people are adequately cared for. Experience has shown that 10 to 20 percent of the population eat no fruit and vegetables at all. These are often single people who live mainly on sandwiches and ready meals. There may occasionally be a lack of vitamin C or carotenoids, especially if you are a smoker. Often there is also a lack of cooking skills behind it. Many simply do not know how to prepare vegetables or a salad.
Wouldn't then "Thee-A-Day" be enough for most?
No, because there is another reason for the Five-a-day campaign. Fruits and vegetables are among the foods with low energy density. This means that if you fill your stomach up with an apple and a banana, you will be full without taking in many calories.
And that's better than having a sandwich?
Exactly. We have a kind of saturation sensor in our stomach. If it is empty, a hunger hormone called ghrelin is released, triggering the “food search” impulse in the brain. Only when the stomach is filled to a certain extent does the impulse subside again. If you eat mostly foods with a high energy density, you run the risk of consuming more calories absorbed than consumed - with all the well-known negative consequences. The consumption of fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, causes a displacement effect compared to high-calorie foods and thus indirectly protects against obesity.
Ten years ago, did an apple contain more vitamins than it does today?
On average, not much has changed. When it comes to fruit, it depends more on the variety. A Red Berlepsch, for example, provides more than three times as much vitamin C as a Golden Delicious.
Are freshly harvested, local goods healthier than imports?
There are minimal differences in vitamin content in favor of local, seasonal products. But I think it's more important that we get a large number of types of fruit and vegetables in the winter months that we would have to do without for many months without imports.
And here is today’s answer to my google buster question “Over 90% of the nation fail to this. What is it?”
Only 9% of adults ate the recommended amount of vegetables and 12% of adults ate the recommended amount of fruit, according to a CDC analysis of data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Results showed that consumption was lower among men, young adults, and adults with lower incomes. I think, as I mentioned before, it might be partially because a lot of people don’t know how to cook or prepare vegetables.
Not in podcast….
The study also found variations by state. For example, adults meeting fruit or vegetable recommendations ranged from 6% in West Virginia to 16% in Washington DC.
Overall, there were no significant differences between different race/ethnicity groups for meeting the vegetable recommendations. However, in 10 states, a significantly higher percentage of people who were Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black met recommendations for fruit intake than did people who were non-Hispanic White.
The CD concluded, that continued efforts are needed to identify and address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. Previous studies have found that high cost, limited availability and access, and perceived lack of cooking/preparation time can be barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption.
So here you have it. Re-listen to this podcast, if you have to, and start or continue firing up your metabolism with fruits and vegetables. Picture yourself a year from now. You won’t regret it!
I will address the cost and best methods of preparing or cooking vegetables in one of my upcoming blogs.
I also want to remind you to leave me your email if you wish to receive a link to my blogs and podcasts. If you still feel overwhelmed keeping your health and weight in check, I want to remind everybody that I’d love to Skype or Zoom with you for more ideas of how I can help you start the new year right and create a Living Well, healthy, and happy lifestyle for you and your family.
Check out my great packages & as always, our first get together is free! You can find the link to all my personalized coaching services in the Show Notes. Take a look and let me know how I can help.
And, of course, I am continuing to work hard so you can join me for my upcoming digital course: “28 Days To A Healthier You”. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the journey how to live a better, healthier, and happier life. Don’t forget to check out my show notes and my website BeyondYourScale.com for tips, recipes and so much more information.
Take care for now and thank you so much for staying tuned. I love having you & look forward to getting to know you better soon! Have a safe & happy rest of the week.