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Deuce
11-18-2009, 05:15 PM
I feel like my immune system is pretty weak and I feel like its because of the lack of fruits and vegetables in my diet. I am 5'11" 190 lbs, I am happy with where I am at weight wise, I just want to boost my immune system by adding some fruits and veggies. So here are my questions:

1. How many servings of fruit/day and how many servings of veggies/day?

2. Is there a difference between canned and fresh veggies? Does it matter?

3. Is there a difference between regular fruit and dried fruit? I really like dried fruit and its easier to find the stuff I like all year around.

These are the fruits I like: bananas, apples, peaches, oranges, grapes, kiwi.

Vegetables: asparagus, corn, lol, that's about all I can think of.

Anything I should add, avoid? Any tips? Thanks.

VikingWarlord
11-18-2009, 05:40 PM
Buy fresh as often as possible. Canned vegetables don't taste as good and they're full of preservatives. If you're trying to reap health benefits, why would you do anything other than fresh fruits and vegetables? Dried fruit is alright but don't buy canned anything if you have the choice.

Adding tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and papaya as well as different kinds of berries will give you some digestive enzymes that keep your GI system a little healthier and more efficient in addition to antioxidants and lots of useful vitamins and minerals.

Eat as much of the stuff raw as possible. In the vegetable category, make sure you get leafy greens, cucumbers, broccoli, different squashes (ok, you can cook these), different peppers, and as wide a variety of other things as you possibly can.

J.C.
11-19-2009, 05:11 AM
In the UK you are officially recommended "5 a day". Its a big slogan you see everywhere as one of those government health initiatives. I think Australia recommends 7 a day. Better climate tho.

Dried, canned and frozen all count. Juice can count for one portion a day. So you could have orange juice with breakfast and that would be one, but you couldn't drink it all day and claim you've had five portions.

Its not hard when you get into it. Buy a bag of fruit and take it to work, you'll eat 4 apples through the day just because they're there.
I like broccoli and carrots a lot. Both score very highly on whatever particular scale you use to assess nutritional worth. And taste good.

If you're a good cook then you can make a big vegetable curry/stew/soup and load it full of different things and make it taste really good. Then you can get a massive dose of vits and fiber and you'll probably have enough to keep in the fridge or freezer for a few days. This is what I do if I feel run-down or feel like I haven't had enough veggies.

Joe Black
11-19-2009, 05:52 AM
I try and include fruit or veg with every meal I have.

Fruit - banana, apple, pear, berries, melon etc..

Vegetables - broccolli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, spinach, kale etc...

My weekly shop always includes much of the above.

Joe Black
11-19-2009, 05:52 AM
Also consider supplementing with a strong multi-vitamin (Multi-Plus by Atlarge for example) or some vitamin C.

Joe Black
11-19-2009, 05:53 AM
forgot about mushrooms and peppers.... hmmm :)

Unreal
11-19-2009, 11:21 AM
Just be careful of added ingredients. Frozen fruits and veggies are good too.

A lot of dried fruit has tons of sugar added. If you can get it without then go for it. The stuff with sugar added might as well be candy.

bass slayer
11-19-2009, 12:08 PM
To buy organic or not to buy Organic? I have read from many sources that the normal store bought fruit is actually not as healthy as you would think. It is full of pesticides, and stuff that makes it grow faster and bigger. Im not saying that its not good to eat it, but it isnt how it used to be back in the day. Im deff. going to grow a garden next season.

J.C.
11-19-2009, 12:36 PM
Most organic stuff is just too expensive for me right now.

I used to get a veg box delivered last year when I lived in a different city. There were three of us in our flat and we all ate well so we ordered one from the local farmers' market. Between three people it worked out relatively cheap, covered most of our veg for the week, it was organic, it was seasonal and it was local. And it got delivered to our door!

Eventually I'll live somewhere with a garden and grow my own.

thecoder0
11-19-2009, 01:12 PM
Kind of not going off topic too much and I guess this is more relevant to UK members. I worked as a truck driver bringing fruit into the UK from Europe, The fruit was picked and brought into the UK (Kent) where we would take it to be "ripened" which to cut a long story short meant it was loaded into air tight containers and treated with a gas to ripen it before onward delivery to the UK shops.

I am always very careful when buying Veg and fruit now !

bass slayer
11-19-2009, 01:23 PM
Kind of not going off topic too much and I guess this is more relevant to UK members. I worked as a truck driver bringing fruit into the UK from Europe, The fruit was picked and brought into the UK (Kent) where we would take it to be "ripened" which to cut a long story short meant it was loaded into air tight containers and treated with a gas to ripen it before onward delivery to the UK shops.

I am always very careful when buying Veg and fruit now !

Yeah its stuff like that that makes me weary. They pick fruit that isnt even ripe and then do stuff like that to make it look ripe.

VikingWarlord
11-19-2009, 01:37 PM
Gas treatments aren't that bad. It's the same thing that naturally occurs to ripen fruit but sped up. I can't remember the name of the compound and am too lazy to look it up. The way you put peaches and things into brown paper bags to let them ripen is the same thing. Actually, if you put a banana in the bag with them, it goes faster because the banana emits more of the gas.

As for organic, I've seen it suggested that, if you're going to buy organic, don't bother if it's something that has a rind, skin, or peel you're not going to eat. A lot of the chemicals stay on the outside and are thrown away when you peel them.

Mercuryblade
11-19-2009, 01:48 PM
As for organic, I've seen it suggested that, if you're going to buy organic, don't bother if it's something that has a rind, skin, or peel you're not going to eat. A lot of the chemicals stay on the outside and are thrown away when you peel them.

Organic is a relative term anyways, A lot of "organics" can still use all kinds of pesticides and fertilizers, because the guidlines are so loose.

Not to mention, depending on the crop, the inefficiency of organics can actually make it worse for the environment than more traditional farming methods.

My sisters GF is all about buying everything from the co-op and making sure it's all organic. I tried to explain to her a few times that if she's really concerned about the environment, depending on the food in question, organic isn't always the best answer.

I worked at a organic food store for awhile, and although these people had their hearts in the right places they really got swept up in a lot of rheotric. I tried to explain to a fellow employee that corn has been a GMO since the native americans started farming it and her head about exploded.

/tangent over

VikingWarlord
11-19-2009, 01:55 PM
I tried to explain to a fellow employee that corn has been a GMO since the native americans started farming it and her head about exploded.

This might be technically true, but it's stretching it a bit. Cross breeding sub-species of the same thing isn't really the same as using viral carriers to implant DNA from soil parasites and other completely unrelated organisms into seeds.

Mercuryblade
11-19-2009, 02:10 PM
This might be technically true, but it's stretching it a bit. Cross breeding sub-species of the same thing isn't really the same as using viral carriers to implant DNA from soil parasites and other completely unrelated organisms into seeds.

Yes, but the beef these people had with GMO's is that they weren't "natural" or "what nature intended" etc. It had nothing to do with actual science, just rheotoric and idealogy.

J.C.
11-19-2009, 03:16 PM
Organic is a relative term anyways, A lot of "organics" can still use all kinds of pesticides and fertilizers, because the guidlines are so loose.

Really? Are you sure about that? I don't know about America, but in the UK, to be classified as organic it has to be certified by the soil association (http://www.soilassociation.org/Whatwedo/Certification/tabid/259/Default.aspx), and its a very strict, very regimented procedure.

Mercuryblade
11-19-2009, 03:23 PM
Really? Are you sure about that? I don't know about America, but in the UK, to be classified as organic it has to be certified by the soil association (http://www.soilassociation.org/Whatwedo/Certification/tabid/259/Default.aspx), and its a very strict, very regimented procedure.

I guess "loose" is maybe an overambitious word, but yes, organics can still use certain kinds of fertilizers and pesticides and still be considered organic.

Holto
11-19-2009, 03:45 PM
Really? Are you sure about that? I don't know about America, but in the UK, to be classified as organic it has to be certified by the soil association (http://www.soilassociation.org/Whatwedo/Certification/tabid/259/Default.aspx), and its a very strict, very regimented procedure.

Yeah I've researched the certifying bodies and find them to be pretty stringent.

bass slayer
11-19-2009, 04:11 PM
I guess "loose" is maybe an overambitious word, but yes, organics can still use certain kinds of fertilizers and pesticides and still be considered organic.


It is true that some organic is not really organic. It is legal for a store to say fuit that is not organic is organic. Anybody can say they have organic food. There is however a true organic were there are strict guidelines and they have to stand by them. They still use some pesticides but not as much and as potent as conventional farms. Here is some info on it
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_farming

As far as picking premature crops, when they pick them when they are not ripe, they dont get all the nutrients as if they were alowed to grow longer. They do this so they can ship them out and they will be fresher longer. They cant sell rotten fruit.

VikingWarlord
11-19-2009, 05:25 PM
Yes, but the beef these people had with GMO's is that they weren't "natural" or "what nature intended" etc. It had nothing to do with actual science, just rheotoric and idealogy.

I can see what you're getting at. At the same time, cross-pollination happens in nature as well so it could be argued that is what nature intended to some degree and therefore still might not qualify. Depends entirely on your own interpretation of the term since there really isn't an official definition.

Cmanuel
11-19-2009, 10:41 PM
Interesting thread. I'll try to shed some light on a few topics here (I have a decent background in this area. Undergraduate degree in food science and currently studying food safety at graduate level)

Lets go through these one by one:

- Fresh vs. Frozen vs. Canned: It might be surprising to you, but frozen vegetables and some fruits actually have a much higher nutrient content than their fresh counterpart. This is due to the freezing process used in the industry, called IQF (individually quick frozen). The product is frozen very rapidly and stored at very very cold temperatures. This will slow the natural decomposition of nutrients in the product. The very nature of the canning process (high temp and high pressure) will degrade many nutrients, so it is inferior to fresh/frozen for nutrient content. Canned foods have one primary goal above others: Shelf life.

- Preservatives in food: For the sake of argument, lets discuss these in the context of "direct food additives", which are the most strictly regulated of food ingredients. If you want to put a compound directly into your food product for the sake of preservation against harmful and/or spoilage micro-organisms, unless that compound is prior sanctioned (used before 1958 regulations) or GRAS (generally regarded as safe by scientific community, it must get pre-market approval by the FDA. This is called the petition process.

Now let me say this. This is important, so listen. The FDA food additive petition process does not--and cannot--give proof beyond any possible doubt that no harm will result under any conceivable circumstance. It can only give scientific proof of a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the proposed use of an additive. This is simply because we cannot conduct tests on humans. The tests are currently done on both lab rats and lab mice and exist to determine both the lethality of the compound and the carcinogenicity of the compound. For direct food additives, a substance CANNOT be used at any level if tumors result in the lab animal. If a compound is approved for use as an additive, the max level it can appear in the finished product is much much lower than what is deemed safe for the lab animals.

I'm not going to get into the mathematical modeling behind the toxicological tests, but trust me, foods with additives are safe.

Dried Fruit - Avoid these. They are basically candy.

Gas Ripening of fruits/vegetables - They use ethylene gas, the natural ripening hormone of many plants, to expedite the ripening process. This is a natural process, don't be scared of this.

Pesticides on Food - Again, this is very strictly regulated in the US by the EPA. In the mid 1990s, the EPA completely revamped their testing policy and tightened their restrictions. This reflects newer technology that has emerged as more sensitive and superior to technology that was in place when the original law was enacted.

I won't get into the details of the testing for EPA, but just know that it is extremely strict, with very low tolerances for pesticide residue found in food. For details on food safety assessment of pesticide in foods, go here http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/human.htm You can even access individual detailed reports for each compound.

Organic vs. non-organic - Oh boy i dont even know if i want to go here. Are organic foods healthier? There are no conclusive studies to show that organic foods are healthier. Yes they have lower pesticide residues vs. non-organic, but as I mentioned earlier these are already at very low amounts which are not likely to be harmful.

I think the big misconception is that Organic food by default is a "wholesome product". This is simply not true. I could make organic marshmallows or organic junk food... Would that make it any healthier?

You have to understand what the USDA-organic certified label means. Its simply a way for us as a consumer to know that the product we are buying was organically produced, a way to prevent fraud. Its a certification process that generates revenue for the USDA and costs each organic producer a set fee annually. It simply does not mean "hey, this organic product is better for you and the environment".

So should you buy organic foods? Well that is up to you. There are certain foods whose production uses higher amounts of pesticides than other foods. If you are concerned with pesticides in your food, then maybe organically produced peaches, apple, bell peppers, strawberries, spinach and potatoes would be a good choice for you.

The reality is that it is much worse to completely avoid fruits and vegetables because you cant afford organic foods. To put it another way, not eating fruits and veggies is more harmful than eating fruits and veggies that have some traces of pesticide. This is what really scares me about organic foods.

Sorry for the long winded post. hope that helps some people.