In case you did not know, today, June 17, 2015, is ‘National Eat Your Vegetables Day.’

Since the optimum number of vegetables servings per day is five, here are five things you may not know about this nutritious food group:

Fruits and vegetables are nutritious in every form.

  • It’s a wildly popular rumor that frozen veggies and fruits aren’t as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. This simply isn’t true. Studies by the FDA have confirmed that any decrease in nutrition from freezing vegetables is negligible at best. So you can eat it fresh, frozen, or even drink it and you’ll get the same benefits! Do keep in mind that if you drink it, it has to be 100% juice. A brand with only 10% is obviously not going to be more nutritious.

Fruits and veggies have a ton of fiber

  • A lot of people knew this one already but what they don’t know are the benefits of fiber. It can help keep your bowel movements regular, help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and help you feel fuller for longer. Pretty much all of those things can lead to you feeling healthier, losing weight, and eating less bad food.

Some fruits and veggies contain toxins

  • There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that eating fruits and veggies are required for a truly healthy diet. However, a little known fact is that some fruits and veggies contain toxic chemicals. The most widely known toxin in fruits is cyanide. As many people know, cyanide occur in low levels in apples. It can also occur in apricots, peaches, and cassava roots. Potatoes contain occasionally harmful amounts of a toxin called solanine. There are rarely enough in potatoes to cause harm and farmers grow them in a specific manner to keep the toxin low. Even so, if you’ve consumed any of these fruits or veggies, you’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals and they’re not from pesticides for once.

The world’s most hated vegetable is one of the best for you

  • In many countries around the world, Brussels sprouts reign as the least enjoyable vegetable out there. Some claim that their bitter flavor prevents true enjoyment and cooking them to remove the bitterness is more of an art than a skill. What you likely don’t know is that Brussels sprouts are among the most nutritious veggies out there. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, has virtually no calories, no fat, no cholesterol, and it even fills you up. You can find a variety of recipes that help deal with the occasionally bitter flavor but you should definitely try to pack more of these puppies into your diet.

Broccoli contains more protein than steak

  • Broccoli got a bad rap a few years ago when President George W Bush proclaimed that he would never eat it again. Sadly, that was probably a bad move because broccoli is actually quite good for you. Aside from the usual nutrition one garners from eating veggies, broccoli in general has a great deal of protein. Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than steak. Since it doesn’t come with all those saturated and trans fats or cholesterol, you can get all the protein you need with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

 More Fun Facts:

 

From the USDA Vegetable Laboratory:

  • Bell peppers are usually sold green, but they can also be red, purple or yellow.
  • Tomatoes are very high in the carotenoid Lycopene; eating foods with carotenoids can lower your risk of cancer.
  • Other vegetables high in carotenoids are carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and collard greens.
  • Most of the nutrients in a potato reside just below the skin layer.
  • A horn worm can eat an entire tomato plant by itself in one day
  • In the United States, more tomatoes are consumed than any other single fruit or vegetable. More than 60 million tons are produced every year. That’s 16 million tons more than No.2 — the banana.
  • California produces almost all the broccoli sold in the United States.
  • White potatoes were first cultivated by local Indians in the Andes Mountains of South America.
  • Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing
  • A baked potato (with skin) is a good source of dietary fiber (4 grams).
  • Actually a fruit, it took a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1893 to make the tomato a vegetable.
  • Potatoes first appeared in Europe in 1586; they made it to North America in 1719.
  • The potato disease ‘Late Blight’ was the principal cause of the Irish Potato Famine, which killed a half million people.
  • It is recommended that you eat five servings of fruit or vegetables a day. A serving equals one-half cup.
  • Cucumbers are believed to have originated more than 10,000 years ago in southern Asia.
  • Cucumbers have the highest water content of any vegetable. 

  • Although considered a vegetable when cooking, squash is actually a fruit. 

  • Squash is a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. 

  • Eggplants are members of the potato family.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are the only vegetables that are also flowers.

  • Ounce for ounce, Broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk.
  • Onions, apples and potatoes all have the same taste. The difference in flavor is caused by their smell. Pinch your nose and try it – they will all taste sweet.

  • Onions make you cry because they are full of sulphuric chemicals, which irritate your tear ducts. Sulphur is the same gas that is produced by volcanoes when they erupt.

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