A Healthy You: Taking Care of Vegetables and Fruits
Cindy Gates RD, LD, CWC, CLT
Why We Should Be Eating More Fruits and Veggies
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is beneficial for lots of reasons, and new research suggests more servings of these foods may help you live longer, too.
In a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day was linked to a 42 percent lower risk of death from all causes. The study also found that these veggie lovers had a 31 percent lower risk of dying from stroke and heart disease and a 25 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.
Eating seven servings of fruits and vegetables was found to be ideal, but each additional serving was associated with a lower risk of death.
What better time to up your fruit and veggie intake? With spring comes an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are both delicious and good for your health. Be sure to pick up these up on your next trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store.
Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Best Flavor
We know now how important eating more fruits and veggies can be but many do know how to store fruits and vegetables. If a bowl of fruit is visible, we are more likely to eat. On the flip side, if we are storing our fruits and veggies in the crisper drawer, we are less likely to eat them since they are out of sight. The crisper drawer can be known as the moldy drawer. Keep your fruits and veggies in front of your refrigerator at eye level so more likely to eat. Also if you precut the fruits and veggies and put in a baggie or see thru container, you are more likely to eat.
Most people do not realize that fruits and veggies need to be stored differently.
Store in the refrigerator: Apples ( if longer than 7 days), berries, cherries, cut fruit and veggies, grapes, asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, herbs ( not basil), lettuces, mushrooms, sweet corn. Use within 3 days for maximum flavor.
Ripen on the counter first, then refrigerate: Avocados, kiwi, peaches, pears, plums. To prevent moisture loss, store produce in paper bag or perforated plastic bag on counter away from direct sunlight.
Store only at room temperature: Apples ( fewer than 7 days), bananas, citrus fruits, melons, pineapple, basil ( in water), cucumbers, garlic, ginger, onions, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes. Refrigeration can cause cold damage and prevent them from ripening to a good flavor and texture. Tomatoes can lose their flavor when refrigerated. Store potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic and onions away from direct sunlight.
Cleaning Your Produce
Rinse your produce under running tap water immediately prior to use, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Washing too far in advance removes some of nature’s natural preservatives. However, lettuces remain crispier when washed right away and then refrigerated.. Triple washed vegetables do not need to be washed again. Refrigerate cut up fruits and veggies within 2 hours.
So take care of your fruits and veggies so they can take care of you ! Next time you are at the grocery store or farmer’s market-be sure to look for your seasonal favorites such as strawberries, asparagus, and of course leafy greens.