||Vegetables and fruit are loaded with much-needed vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, 60% of adults in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark do not eat enough vegetables and fruit each day. Read on to get the real scoop on vegetables and fruit to help you increase your daily intake.
Myth: Organic foods are the safest and healthiest choice for you.
The Truth: Both organic and non-organic foods are nutritious and safe to eat when you are making healthy choices based on Canada’s Food Guide. Many factors affect a food’s nutritional value, such as where and how it was grown, stored, shipped and even how it was cooked. Organic foods may have more, about the same, or fewer nutrients than non- organic foods. Both organic and non-organic foods are grown and produced under strict regulations to make sure they are safe for you to eat. Like any food purchase, buying organic food is a personal choice.
Myth: Superfoods will keep you super healthy.
The Truth: Sorry! No food has superpowers to keep you healthy on its own. Even if a food is bursting with beneficial nutrients, your body needs more than that to be healthy. Unfortunately, there’s no official “superfood” definition. The term is sometimes used to market trendy, expensive foods, like goji and açaí berries, that don’t always live up to their superior claims. And some basic foods that aren’t called “super” such as apples, can be equally nutritious, less costly and more widely available. Enjoying a diet that is rich in a variety of healthy foods, not just the trendiest, is the key to good health.
Myth: Local vegetables and fruit are always more nutritious.
The Truth: Fresh produce tastes great, but there are many factors that affect its nutritional value. Crop variety, growing conditions, ripeness, storage, processing, handling and transport all affect the nutrition of vegetables and fruits. Produce grown closer to home that is picked when it’s ripe and eaten soon afterwards, might have more vitamins and minerals. In the warmer months, enjoy the local harvest and eat delicious, nutritious vegetables and fruit every day. If you have time and storage space, freeze or can local produce to enjoy its goodness throughout the year.
Myth: Frozen and canned vegetables and fruit are not as nutritious as fresh.
The Truth: Nothing beats the taste of fresh produce in season. Frozen and canned produce can be just as nutritious since it’s usually picked and packed at the peak of ripeness when nutrient levels are highest. Frozen or canned produce gives you benefits beyond health. It allows us to enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruit year- round and is a practical choice for people living in remote areas. It’s also sometimes more affordable than fresh produce. Cooking with frozen or canned produce can save you time in the kitchen. Read the labels: the healthiest choices are products that contain no added sugar, fat or salt.
Myth: It’s hard to eat all the vegetables and fruit recommended in Canada’s Food Guide.
The Truth: It’s easier than you think! Canada’s Food Guide recommends adults enjoy seven to ten servings of vegetables and fruit each day. That might sound like a lot, but serving sizes are not very big. For example, a medium fruit or half a cup of vegetables is all it takes to get one serving. And servings add up quickly! Eating one or two vegetables or fruit servings at every meal and snack helps you get all the servings you need for the day.
Myth: If a product is labeled “made with vegetables and fruit”, it is a healthier choice.
The Truth: Not always. There are many processed and pre-packaged foods on the market that are being advertised as “made with vegetables or fruits”. For example, fruit snacks, vegetable chips, and fruit “drinks”. Most of these products are high in sugar, salt, fat and contain little amounts of real fruit or vegetables. Processed and packaged foods also tend to be more expensive. Your best buy for health is whole, unprocessed vegetables and fruit.
Myth: I can’t grow my own food.
The Truth: Everyone can grow food anywhere! Growing your own garden can be rewarding and you may be surprised how much fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit you can grow. If you don’t have a big yard, try container gardening; all you need is a few containers or pots. If you have a large space, grow an extra row or two and donate your harvest to your local food bank. Most food banks accept fresh vegetables and fruit as many food bank users may otherwise not have access to these items.