This week, the Letter D& E – there are so many amazing Fruits 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. If you see something you have been waiting for – go for it, enjoy it!
As such there is not a whole spectrum of Fruit / Veggies for letters D & E but, the ones I have chosen are still full of surprising benefits.
Nutrition facts Based on Deglet Noor Dates.
Dates grow on date palms in small clusters. The term date comes from the Greek word daktulos, which means fingers.
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile.
Since they’re dried, their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit.
The calorie content of dates is similar to that of other dried fruits, such as raisins and figs.
Most of the calories in dates come from carbs.
The rest are from a very small amount of protein. Despite their calories, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fibre.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides the following nutrients
Carbs: 75 grams
Fibre: 7 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
Copper: 18% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Iron: 5% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI Dates are also high in antioxidants, which may contribute to many of their health benefits.
Dates are high in fibre, which may be beneficial for preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar control.
High in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants Dates provide various antioxidants that have a number of health benefits to offer, including a reduced risk of several diseases.
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease.
Compared to similar types of fruit, such as figs and dried plums, dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content
Here’s an overview of the three most potent antioxidants in dates:
Flavonoids: are powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer
Carotenoids: are proven to promote heart health and may also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
Phenolic acid: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Excellent Natural Sweetener:
Dates are a source of fructose, which is a natural type of sugar found in fruit. For this reason, dates are very sweet and also have a subtle caramel-like taste.
They can make a substitute for white sugar in recipes due to the nutrients, fibre and antioxidants that they provide.
The best way to substitute dates for white sugar is to make date paste, as in this recipe. It is made by mixing dates with water in a blender.
A rule of thumb is to replace sugar with date paste at a 1:1 ratio.
For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you’ll replace it with 1 cup of date paste.
It is important to note that although dates are high in fibre and nutrients, they are still fairly high in calories and best consumed in moderation.
Other Potential Health Benefits:
Dates have been claimed to have a few other health benefits that have not yet been extensively studied.
Bone health: Dates contain several minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. All of these have been studied for their potential to prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis.
Blood sugar control: Dates have the potential to help with blood sugar regulation due to their low glycemic index, fibre and antioxidants. Thus, eating them may benefit diabetes management.Although these potential health benefits are promising, more human studies are needed before conclusions can be made.
There’s not many Fruit or Vegetables beginning with D so, yes a little cheat here but hopefully just as informative!
Dried fruit is highly nutritious. One piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit, but condensed in a much smaller package.
By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fibre, vitamins and minerals of fresh fruit. Therefore, one serving can provide a large percentage of the daily recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, such as folate.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, the vitamin C content is significantly reduced when the fruit is dried.
Dried fruit generally contains a lot of fibre and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols.
Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of many diseases.
Raisins are high in fibre, potassium and other plant compounds. Eating raisins may improve blood sugar control, lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, as well as decrease inflammation.
Prunes have a natural laxative effect because of their fibre and sorbitol content. They are also very filling, and may help fight oxidative damage in the body.
Dates are rich in antioxidants, potassium, iron and fibre. Eating dates may help reduce oxidative damage, moderate blood sugar and help with labour in pregnant women.
Dried Fruit is high in Natural Sugar and Calories.
Fruit tend to contain significant amounts of natural sugars and because the water has been removed from dried fruit, this concentrates all the sugar and calories in a much smaller package. For this reason, dried fruit is very high in calories and sugar, including both glucose and fructose.
Below are some examples of the natural sugar content of dried fruit:
About 22–51% of this sugar content is fructose. Eating a lot of fructose may have negative health effects. This includes increased risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
A small 1-ounce portion of raisins contains 84 calories, almost exclusively from sugar.
Because dried fruit is sweet and energy-dense, it is easy to eat large amounts at a time, which can result in excess sugar and calorie intake.
Avoid Dried Fruit with added sugar.
Some Dried Fruits may also contain Sulphites, and maybe contaminated with Fungi and Toxins.
As with many other foods, dried fruit have both good and bad aspects:
Dried fruit can boost your fibre and nutrient intake and supply your body with large amounts of antioxidants.
However, they are also high in sugar and calories, and can cause problems when eaten in excess. For this reason, dried fruit should only be eaten in small amounts, preferably along with other nutritious foods.
They should not be eaten by the handful, because it is very easy to eat too many calories from dried fruit.
Traditionally, Native Americans used it to treat infections, while the ancient Egyptians used it to improve their complexions and heal burns. It’s still gathered and used in folk medicine across many parts of Europe. Today, elderberry is most often taken as a supplement to treat cold and flu symptoms.
However, the raw berries bark and leaves of the plant are also known to be poisonous and cause stomach problems.
Elderberry refers to several different varieties of the Sambucus tree, which is a flowering plant belonging to the Adoxaceae family.
The most common type is Sambucus nigra, also known as the European elderberry or black elder. This tree is native to Europe, though it is widely grown in many other parts of the world as well.
Various parts of the elderberry tree have been used throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Historically, the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling, inflammation, to stimulate the production of urine and to induce sweating. The bark was used as a diuretic, laxative and to induce vomiting.
In folk medicine, the dried berries or juice are used to treat influenza, infections, sciatica, headaches, dental pain, heart pain and nerve pain, as well as a laxative and diuretic.
Additionally, the berries can be cooked and used to make juice, jams, chutneys, pies and elderberry wine.
The flowers are often boiled with sugar to make a sweet syrup or infused into tea. They can also be eaten fresh in salad.
Health Benefits of Elderberry
There are many reported benefits of elderberries. Not only are they nutritious, but they may also fight cold and flu symptoms, support heart health and fight inflammation and infections, among other benefits.
High in Nutrients:
Elderberries are a low-calorie food packed with antioxidants.100 grams of fresh berries contain 73 calories, 18.4 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram each of fat and protein. Plus, they have many nutritional benefits.
High in vitamin C: There are 6–35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, which accounts for up to 60% of the recommended daily intake.
High in dietary fibre: Elderberries contain 7 grams of fibre per 100 grams of fresh berries, which is over one-quarter of the recommended daily intake.
A good source of phenolic acids: These compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body.
A good source of flavonols: Elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. The flowers contain up to 10 times more flavonols than the berries.
Rich in anthocyanins: These compounds give the fruit its characteristic dark black-purple color and are a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.
The exact nutritional composition of elderberries depends on the variety of plant, ripeness of the berries and environmental and climatic conditions. Therefore, servings can vary in their nutrition.
The uncooked berries, leaves, bark and roots of the elderberry plant contain the chemicals lectin and cyanide, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Cooking the berries and seeds will remove the cyanide.
Endive (Cichorium endivia) is a leaf vegetable belonging to the daisy family that can be cooked or used raw in salads. There are two main varieties of cultivated endive: Curly endive, or frisée (var crispum), and Escarole, or broad-leaved, endive (var latifolia).
Endive is low in calories and may enhance digestion.
Endive is a very low-calorie food. One hundred grams of raw endive contain only 17 calories and contains 6 grams of dietary fibre. The daily recommended fibre intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. Fibre aids in digestion by helping prevent constipation and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Endive can help you manage your cholesterol levels.
Soluble fibre, found in the endive, may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies suggested that fibre may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Endive can help you with diabetes and their blood sugar.Several studies have indicated that individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fibre diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels.
Endive can help promote stronger bones. Endive is a sufficient source of vitamin K, which functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix. Sufficient vitamin K consumption may also reduce urinary excretion of calcium. One cup of endive contains 289 percent of the daily vitamin K requirement.
Endive can help you improve your vision.
Endive is a rich source of beta-carotene, which benefits eyesight. Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A. This can prevent people from suffering from vitamin A deficiency, itching eyes, eye ulcers, and dry eyes. One cup of endive contains 43 percent of the daily recommended needs of vitamin A.
Endive may help improve your brain health.
Several components of endive, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
Potassium has been linked to increase blood flow to the brain and heighten cognition, concentration, and neural activity. One cup of endive contains 35 percent of the recommended daily needs of folate.
Even if you don’t count calories it’s always good to know how many calories are in something that is potentially very good for you. It is sometimes hard to equate fruit as high or low in calories as some say Fruit is a Free calorie – that depends if you are on a specific diet, and diet or not – ALL fruit has sugar and some are very high on the Glycemic Index and some are very low….sometimes it’s just good to know that you are doing the right thing by swapping out a piece of fruit for a kit kat bar of course!
A rainbow of colours on your plate will ensure you are getting the right nutrients in your diet, if you can’t eat something due to health issues, there are always alternatives, and whether you feel you can’t eat it because it’s not a nice taste, or you have visions of it slopped up on your plate at school meals, then choose other ways of cooking or serving!