Protective foods are boon. Rightly so because all the vegetables and fruits come under this category of food. We all know that during the present condition, immunity and disease fighting capacity of the body is the major concern. We all are talking about it and how we can achieve it. Protective foods are boon to us at all times. They provide us with immune booster nutrients and elements. Protective food include all the fruits and vegetables.
You know in today’s time, people are running behind supplements. They believe that those tablets will give them immunity and disease fighting powers. I will not say they will not but there are many side effects to any kind of artificial substance. But these two food groups will provide you with those substances in abundance and without any kind of side effects. SO let us now explore them in detail and understand why the are so so important in our diets.
Protective food- briefly about them
Like all the other food groups, fruits and vegetables are an integral part of our plates. Our everyday thalis are literally incomplete without these two food groups. These two food groups are grouped into this category because of their protective properties. Let us look at these two food groups one by one:
Vegetables are plant based food or parts of plants that we humans eat. Parts of plants that we consume are stems, leaves, roots. All the vegetables are categorized into various categories based on the kind of vegetable they are.
Difference in the three groups of vegetables
Vegetable exchanges in our diet is most variable in its nutritional contribution , and therefore that is why it is divided into three sub-categories. The three categories are Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables and Roots and tubers. They are divided as this due to differences in their nutritional content.
1) Green leafy vegetables
These are aka GLVs are leaves of the plants that are edible. They contribute 2.5 g of carbohydrates along with very important nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin-A and Vitamin-c. For vegetarians especially, these leafy vegetables are very essential as some of the vital nutrients are provided by it.
2) Other vegetables
This group is formed on the basis of 3.5 g carbihydrate provided by approximately 100-150 grams of raw edible portion of vegetables in this group. The vegetables in this group also contribute to all the major vitamins such as Vitamin-B complex, vitamin-A, Vitamin-C. They also contribute enough to nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants to develop good immunity.
3) Roots and tubers
The vegetables in this group provides 10 g carbohydrate per exchange which is the highest among the vegetables group. This group contributes in providing good quality carbohydrates in the diet without adding too much bulk to the diet.
Green leafy vegetable includes all the leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Fenugreek, Amaranth, Bathua and many others to list. They are highly nutritious and beneficial for our overall health. They not only add variety to our diets but also enhance its nutritional value. For vegetarians, these vegetables are the best source for Iron.
Other vegetables includes all the vegetables except for leafy vegetables and roots and tubers. These vegetables form the majority of this group. We all love various vegetables and they are the part of this group. This includes vegetables like Pumpkin, tomatoes, capsicum, beans, bottle gourd, bitter gourd and may more vegetables. These provide variety to our diets and provides high nutritional content to our diets.
3) Roots and tubers include vegetables like potato, yam, carrot, raddish. These are basically more starchy and contains lesser nutrients when compared with the other two groups listed above.
Benefits of vegetables and fruits in the diet:
1) Adding colors to our plates
Now imagine you are eating. All you have is boring white rice/ simple roti and maybe dal ( plain). After a point of time, you will feel monotonous and will never feel like eating. Is it not? But imagine a fried rice full of colorful vegetables. White rice mixed with maroon beetroots, orange carrots, green capsicum and beans. What will tempt you more?
Colors tend to play an important role in psychological factor of food. They tend to tempt people and make them feel good when they are eating food. Colors in general also bring positivism and good vibes to us and same applies to our food.
2) Rich in micro-rnutrients
Vegetables and fruits are complete packages for micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). They not only add colors to our plates but add nutrients to our body through it. When we talk about micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals are important in our body for various functions. The best source of these nutrients are fruits and vegetables.
3) Fibre rich
Many digestive issues like constipation and poor bowel movements occur because of lack of fiber in our diet. Through cereals such as oats, only some amount of fiber can be ingested in our body. For a continued and regular source, you must incorporate vegetables and fruits in your diet. It helps you fill up without adding unnecessary calories and keeps your gut in good state. Also read https://buzzofthehour.com/fibre-the-magical-component-of-our-diets/ for more information
4) Healthy snack
Whenever we are extremely hungry and feel like munching, we think of all the high fat, salt and sugar foods. What if we can have crunchy, tasty foods with extremely rich nutritional value? Yes we can and that in the form of fruits/ vegetables. In the next section we will talk about how can we make eating fruits and vegetables easy and interesting. They are tasty if eaten in right way, highly nutritious and will not lead to extra Kilograms gain.
5) Adding variety
Our diets with only cereals and pulses may provide energy and calories but will be monotonous. You should know that there is a difference between malnutrition due to calorie deficiency and malnutrition due to nutrient deficiency. With varieties of vegetables and fruits available to us, we can very well add a great variety pf nutrients and colors to our diet. Variety will help you in the intake of food in correct manner and will ensure you are in good health.
6) Reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases
Antioxidants such as flavanoids, anthocyanins etc are anti-inflammatory properties which save the body from oxidative damages. So, this will lead you to prevent yourselves from non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes etc. If you include good amounts of vegetables and fruits in your diets, this will lead to abundance of anti oxidantive, anti-inflammatory elements in your life. Therefore this way you can prevent yourselves from non-communicable diseases. So eat a lot of fruits and vegetables through your diet.
How to make eating vegetables interesting?
Vegetables can be boring for some people, if we be frank. There are many people who does not like vegetables at all, especially vegetables like Karela, Tori etc. If we talk about children specially, they do not feel like eating vegetables. They keep finding ways to actually discard vegetables even if we try to incorporate them in their diets.
If you do not have a health condition that demands you to reduce on certain spices and ingredients, you can very well make the vegetables interesting to eat in many different ways. Let us see how can the vegetables be incorporated in our daily diets so that we feel like eating them.
So let us now see ways in which we can make vegetables in interesting ways.
1) Make the same vegetable in different ways
We will see this through an example. If we have small brinjals, we can make it into different ways. One day we can make a chatpata brinjal rice, which is kinda famous dish in Bangalore called as Vangi bath. Then another day you can make Bharwa Brinjal by cutting it into pieces and using masalas in between , then shallow fry. We can also make Brinjal sambhar one day and a normal brinjal sabzi one day.
2) Make them interesting
No one likes to eat a bland Ghia, Tori, Tinda to be frank. Why not make them into interesting recipes and eat? Yes, we can definitely do that. For example, Ghia can be made into a chapata Ghia bharta and eaten with Roti. Another way is to make Kofta out of Ghia and eat it. You can also make interesting things by incorporating small amounts of foods with the foods liked by your children. This way they will not feel they are eating something which is not tasty.
Some examples are:
1) Incorporation of at least three kinds of vegetables in a tikki. Usually we make tikkis with potato alone. Why not incorporate other vegetables in it and not have to compromise on its taste also? Is it not a great idea? Indeed, it is.
2) Incorporation of small amounts of mashed pumpkins, cut vegetables as a part of sandwich fillings. Sandwiches can be really nutritious if the filling is made extremely healthy. You can make pumpkin spread for it along with which you can use your favorite sauce in small amounts with lots of vegetables.
3) Vegetable pulao is my favorite dish. To make pulao healthy all you have to do is to just decrease the amount of rice and increase the quality of vegetables in it. It will make it so so healthy. Eat it with raita with onion and tomatoes. That will make it into a complete and nutritious meal.
4) Stuffed parathas. These are love for everyone. Who does not like parathas yaar? Why not make it healthy? Eat parathas stuffed with green leafy vegetables like Methi, bathua and other vegetables such as Cabbage, cauliflower. Eat it with raita with onion and tomatoes. This way the intake of vegetables can be made interesting.
5) Karela is one food which is not eaten primarily because it is bitter. What if I say that you can eliminate its bitterness by say 80% and incorporate tangy spicy tasty instead? Yes you can do that. Make Bharva Karela with lots of onions. I am sure you and your family members are going to love Karela there after.
How to make eating fruits interesting?
Fruits are comparatively more acceptable than most of the vegetables. They can be made really interesting so that when we eat them, we feel relieved and satisfied. Let us see some of the ways that I tried to incorporate fruits into my everyday diet.
1) Fruit chat
Black pepper and oregano can actually make anything interesting. I take two to three variety of fruits. For example apple, berries, water melon. I toss it with a pinch of black pepper, salt and oregano. Trust me, it tastes wonderful.
Nowdays smoothies are very famous among the young generation. They taste really well and are kind of easy to make. Let us see an example of strawberry smoothie. Take three strawberries, add to it and grind well in a mixer grinder. Now you may add whipped cream to it and make it interesting. While feeding it to small children, you may also add some chocolate pieces to make it taste much better.
3) Crushers / juices
If you do not like having whole fruits for some reason, try having fresh fruits juices without straining it. It is almost as beneficial as the whole fruits itself. A glass of fruit juice along with your breakfast or evening snack can actually provide you with good amount of micro nutrients. You can also make it into interesting crushers as available at Burger king or Mc Donalds.
Example : Water melon crusher
Take a small bowl full of water melon pieces. Now add ice pieces to it, Grind very well and let it refrigerated. After a while take it out and drink whenever you want to.
Protective foods are boon to us. In today’s world we all are running behind artificial vitamins and mineral supplementation. We should rather concentrate on increasing the amounts of vegetables and fruits in our diets. They will provide us with all the vitamins and minerals that our body requires. I truly believe that natural sources are the best because they will never harm your body in any way and are more easily adaptable by our bodies.