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5 fascinating facts about fruit and veg

We all know eating fruit and veg is good for us, but here are a few fun facts to ponder while you’re crunching away.

One small thing: Next time you reach for the potato peeler, stop – a good percentage of nutrition is actually stored in the skin of vegetables.

Eating five to 10 servings of fruit and veg a day might sound impossible but there are plenty of great ways to include them in your diet. We explore some lesser-known facts about these two superfood groups, including why brussel sprouts really are good for you!

1. Some veggies are actually fruit

Fruit is defined as that part of a plant that develops from a flower and has seeds. This means that tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins and avocados are all, in fact, fruit. Fun fact: In the 1800s in the US, imported fruit was exempt from tax, but vegetables weren’t. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that tomatoes were vegetables in order for them to be taxed. Today, tomatoes are “legally” vegetables in the US.

2. The outside is often more nutritious than the inside

The flesh of fruit and veggies is generally the tastiest, but the skin and sometimes even the stalks are where the most nutrients are found. Orange peel, for example, contains more fibre and antioxidants than the flesh of the fruit. But who wants to eat orange peel? Try grating it and using the zest to season food, flavour smoothies or sprinkle over desserts. Don’t peel carrots, potatoes, apples and cucumbers (do wash them thoroughly though) to avoid discarding all those great nutrients

3. Grapefruit and certain medications don’t mix

Grapefruit packs a serious nutritional punch, but can be harmful if consumed in combination with certain medications. The chemicals present in grapefruit affect how the body breaks down and absorbs certain substances, including some statins, calcium channel blockers and oestrogen. So, if you’re on medication, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist before eating grapefruit.

4. Brussel sprouts are really, really good for you

Most people either love or hate brussel sprouts – with the majority leaning towards the latter. But there’s good reason to persevere. Brussel sprouts are packed with vitamins and minerals and are among the most nutritious veggies available. An 80g serving of brussel sprouts contains four times more vitamin C than an orange, for instance. Top tip: Overcooking brussel sprouts is what makes them smell (they contain high levels of sulforaphane). Try roasting, sautéing or grilling them – they’ll be sweeter, nuttier and yummier.

5. Pineapple destroys your taste buds – temporaril

Does your mouth sometimes burn or go numb after eating fresh pinapple? Or do you find that it affects the taste of other foods? Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down the proteins in meat and flesh by removing the molecules on the surface of cells – including those in your own mouth. (This, of course, makes pineapple useful for tenderising meat.) So before you tuck in, make sure the pineapple is ripe, slice it up and leave it to stand in the fridge for a while to allow the enzymes to break down a little first.

If you have a question for our dietitians, click here, or to find a dietitian in your area, visit adsa.org.za. To get in touch with us, email healthhotline@pnp.co.za.

References:
https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/20-incredible-facts-about-eating-fruits-and-vegetables-that-you-probably-didnt-know.html
https://www.rxlist.com/grapefruit/supplements.htm
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/16-things-you-did-not-know-about-brussels-sprouts-30726001.html
https://www.bonappetit.com/story/pineapple-tongue-burn-trick
https://www.livestrong.com/article/482836-pineapple-and-a-numb-mouth/