This week, the Letter B – there are so many amazing Fruit and Vegetables to eat and of course listing them all would take for ever and a day! SO, I have tried to pick those that are probably the most popular.
We are lucky as fruit and veg is still quite seasonal here, and eating them in season is when you will gain the most benefits. So if you see something you have been waiting for – go for it, enjoy it!
B is for BANANA
I do loooove bananas and treat myself post swim or pre-Zumba … I do like banana on Wholemeal toast or rye bread for lunch with a teaspoon of peanut butter (homemade of course!) and in the past I have found if I have a yukky migraine or a bad tummy with not much of an appetite I find that having a banana can help!
The fact of the matter is that bananas are perhaps nature’s most under-rated fruit.
They provide our bodies with tons of nutrients that we need.
They are packed with nutrients, vitamins, fibre, and all-natural sugars. The problem being, when a banana starts to go brown, people are instantly put off by them and toss them immediately because most fruit that turns brown means it is rotting.
However, bananas are different and the more brown spots it has, the riper it is, meaning it contains more TNF. If you don’t know what TNF stands for it means, Tumour Necrosis Factor, and it’s a cancer-fighting substance that helps fight against abnormal cells in our bodies.
Research has actually proven that the TNF found in ripe bananas can interfere with tumour cells and growth and inhibits them from spreading by causing cell death, or apoptosis.
So the next time you see a banana with brown spots, don’t toss it. Eat it up and treat your body to an amazing health-boost. If you don’t like eating the areas of the banana that look as if they have gone soggy, blend it up in a mixer and make a delicious smoothie, trust me your taste buds will thank you for it.
Nutrients & Vitamins in Bananas
Bananas are one of the best fruit sources of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 from bananas is easily absorbed by your body and a medium-sized banana can provide about a quarter of your daily vitamin B6 needs.
Vitamin B6 helps your body:
produce red blood cells
metabolise carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy
metabolise amino acids
remove unwanted chemicals from your liver and kidneys, and
maintain a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is also good for pregnant women as it helps meet their baby’s development needs.
Bananas are respectable sources of vitamin C
You may not associate bananas with vitamin C but a medium-sized banana will provide about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs.
Vitamin C helps:
protect your body against cell and tissue damage
helps your body absorb iron better
helps your body produce collagen – the protein which holds your skin, bones and body together, also supports brain health by producing serotonin, a hormone that affects our sleep cycle, moods, and experiences of stress and pain.
Manganese in bananas is good for your skin
One medium-sized banana provides approximately 13% of your daily manganese needs.
Manganese helps your body make collagen and protects your skin and other cells against free radical damage.
Potassium in bananas is good for your heart health and blood pressure
A medium-sized banana will provide around 320-400 mg of potassium, which meets about 10% of your daily potassium needs.
Potassium helps your body maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure. In addition, bananas are low in sodium. The low sodium and high potassium combination helps to control high blood pressure.
Bananas can aid digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues
A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of your daily fibre needs. Soluble and insoluble fibres play an important role in your health.
Soluble fibre helps your body control your blood sugar level and get rid of fatty substances such as cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre adds weight and softness to stools, making it easier for you to have regular bowel movements.
This helps to keep your gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.Bananas, especially newly-ripened ones, contain starch that does not digest (resistant starch) in your small intestine and is able to pass into the large intestine. Such bananas help you manage your weight better as you stay full for longer.
That said, bananas can help you beat gastrointestinal issues such as:
Bananas give you energy
minus the fats and cholesterol
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – giving you a fat and cholesterol-free source of energy.
As such, bananas are ideal, especially for children and athletes, for breakfast, as a midday snack or before and after sports.
Here are a few more issues bananas can help you with:
Nerves or PMS
B is for BRUSSEL SPROUT
Sad to say, I grew up hating the taste and texture of these little “minature cabbages” Once I became a Mum I forced one down me on the Christmas dinner plate just because I felt the girls should see me eat the things (my way of encouraging them not to be fussy!!)
Well last year I found a way of cooking and flavouring them, that found I really, really enjoy them now! And for all those looking for additional VIT C look no further
HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS
FOR starters, they are exceptionally rich sources of protein, dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- 100 grams of Brussel sprouts provide just 45 calories
- 3.38 g of protein
- 3.80 g of dietary fibre (10% of RDA)
- zero cholesterol.
They are incredibly nutritious vegetables that offer protection from vitamin-A deficiency, bone loss, iron-deficiency anaemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers.
This is the list of ALL the nutrients found:
- Principle Nutrient Value
- Energy 43 Kcal
- Carbohydrates 8.95
- Protein 3.38 g
- Total Fat 0.30 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Dietary Fibre 3.80 g
- Pantothenic acid 0.309 mg
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K 177
- Sodium 25 mg
That’s a list I am sure you will agree!!
HEALTH BENEFITS:Brussel sprouts are one of the low-glycemic nutritious vegetables that should be considered in weight reduction programs. In fact, Brussel sprouts are a storehouse of several flavonoid anti-oxidants such as thiocyanates, indoles, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Together, these phytochemicals offer protection from prostate, colon, and endometrial cancers.Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol, is found to be an effective immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent through its action of potentiating “Interferon-gamma” receptors.
Together with other antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A and E, it helps protect the human body by trapping harmful free radicals. Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid found in sprouts, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula-lutea in the eyes where it is thought to provide anti-oxidant and protective light-filtering functions from UV rays. Thus, it helps prevent retinal damage, “age-related macular degeneration related macular degeneration disease” (ARMD), in the elderly.
Brussel sprouts are another good source of another anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A;
Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin, and is essential for eye health.
Foods rich in this vitamin have been found to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers. It is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K;
Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain and thereby, preventing or at least delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Further, the sprouts are good in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that are essential for substrate metabolism inside the human body.
They are also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. 100 g fresh sprouts provide 25 mg (1.5% of RDA) sodium and 389 mg (8% of RDA) potassium.
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.
Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.
Being Brassica family vegetables, Brussel sprouts too may contain goitrogens, which may cause swelling of thyroid gland and should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, they may be used liberally among healthy persons. (Medical disclaimer).
B is for BLACKBERRIES
I love blackberry season – sweet yet tart blackberries are a summer staple. Especially for breakfast or topped on a yoghurt – so versatile. But the benefits of these berry beauties go well beyond their yummy taste. And then of course, exercise picking them is always a bonus, avoiding the thorns is a challenge as well.
Blackberries have impressive health benefits:
Packed with vitamin C
Just one cup of raw blackberries has 30.2 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s half the daily recommended value.
Vitamin C is integral to collagen formation in bones, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
Vitamin C may also help you:
regenerate the skin
battle free radicals (molecules released by toxins) in the body
shorten the common cold
High in fibre
Most people don’t get enough fibre in their diet.
That’s a problem: A low-fibre diet has been linked to digestive problems like bloating, constipation, and stomach pain, not getting enough fibre may increase your risk of heart disease.
A high-fibre diet may help you:
- reduce cholesterol
- promote regular bowel movements
- control blood sugar levels by slowing the rate of sugar absorption
- lose weight by making you feel fuller longer
- provide fuel to nourish healthy gut bacteria
Great source of vitamin K
Vitamin K is the reason why you don’t bleed profusely when you cut yourself: It helps your blood clot.
Vitamin K also plays a role in bone metabolism.
Vitamin K deficiency may lead to bone thinning and bone fractures.
It may cause easy bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding, and blood in the stool or in the urine.
If you take blood thinners, make sure to eat a consistent amount of foods high in vitamin K like blackberries, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and fermented dairy foods.
High in manganese
You don’t hear as much about manganese as other minerals, but it’s vital to healthy bone development and a healthy immune system.
It also helps your body metabolize carbs, amino acids, and cholesterol. Like vitamin C, manganese plays a key role in the formation of collagen. And the enzyme that helps manganese form collagen, prolidase, also helps wounds heal properly.
Manganese may help prevent osteoporosis, manage blood sugar levels, and reduce epileptic seizures.
Keep in mind though that too much manganese may be toxic. You’re unlikely to get too much manganese in food amounts, though, unless you have a condition that prevents your body from eliminating excess manganese, like chronic liver disease or anemia.
May boost brain health
Eating berry fruits like blackberries may improve brain health and help prevent memory loss caused by aging, according to a review of research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The review concluded that antioxidants in berry fruits help fight free radicals and alter how brain neurons communicate. This may help reduce brain inflammation, which can lead to cognitive and motor issues common with aging.
Helps support oral health
According to a 2013 study, you may want to add blackberries to your daily dental regimen. The study found blackberry extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities against some types of bacteria that cause oral disease.
Blackberry nutrition information
Blackberries are a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth if you want to lose weight or you’re on a low-carb eating plan.
One cup of raw blackberries has only 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, and only 14 carbs. This makes them easy to add to a healthy eating plan.
Blackberries also have a low Glycemic Index (GI), coming in at 25. GI ranks how carb-containing foods may impact your blood glucose response. A rating of 55 or lower is considered less likely to spike blood sugar levels.
Glycemic Load (GL) takes into account the GI as well as the grams of carbohydrates in a typical serving.
GL is considered to be a more accurate assessment of how a food can impact blood sugar. Blackberries’ GL is only 4, which is very low.
B is for BEETROOT
Belonging to the same family as chard and spinach, both the leaves and root can be eaten – the leaves have a bitter taste whereas the round root is sweet. Due to its high sugar content, beetroot is delicious eaten raw but is more typically cooked or pickled.
HEALTH BENEFITS BEETROOT
Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value;
especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C.
Beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium.
The greens should not be overlooked; they can be cooked up and enjoyed in the same way as spinach.
The plant pigment that gives beetroot its rich, purple-crimson colour is betacyanin; a powerful agent, thought to help suppress the development of some types of cancer.
Beetroot is rich in fibre, exerting favourable effects on bowel function, which may assist in preventing constipation and help to lower cholesterol levels too.
Beets mainly consist of water (87%), carbs (8%), and fibre (2–3%).
The carbs in beetroots are mainly simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose.
Beets are high in fibre but also have FODMAPs, which can cause digestive problems in some people.
Vitamins and Minerals
Beetroots are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals.
Folate (vitamin B9). One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. It’s particularly necessary for pregnant women.
Manganese. An essential trace element, manganese is found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
Potassium. A diet high in potassium can lead to reduced blood pressure levels and positive effects on heart health.
Iron. An essential mineral, iron has many important functions in your body. It’s necessary for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.
Vitamin C. This well-known vitamin is an antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health
Health Benefits of Beetroots
Beetroots and beetroot juice have many health benefits, especially for heart health and exercise performance.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Eating fruits and vegetables rich in inorganic nitrates may cut your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and increasing nitric oxide formation.
Studies show that beetroots or their juice can reduce blood pressure by up to 3–10 mm Hg over a period of a few hours. S
uch effects are likely due to increased levels of nitric oxide, which causes your blood vessels to relax and dilate.
Increased Exercise Capacity
Numerous studies suggest that nitrates can enhance physical performance, particularly during high-intensity endurance exercise.
Dietary nitrates have been shown to reduce oxygen use during physical exercise by affecting the efficiency of mitochondria, the cell organs responsible for producing energy.
Beets and their juice are often used for this purpose because of their high inorganic nitrate content.
Consumption of beetroots may improve running and cycling performance, increase stamina, boost oxygen use, and lead to better exercise performance overall.
Beetroots are usually well tolerated — except for individuals prone to kidney stones.
Consumption of beetroot may also cause your urine to become pink or red, which is harmless but often confused for blood.
Beet greens contain high levels of oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stone formation.Oxalates also have antinutrient properties. This means that they may interfere with the absorption of micronutrients.
Levels of oxalates are much higher in the leaves than the root itself, but the root is nevertheless considered high in oxalates.
Beetroots contain FODMAPS in the form of fructans, which are short-chain carbs that feed your gut bacteria.