There is one more reason to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemology, consuming 10 portions of fruits and vegetables in a day can significantly reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and cancer.
So, go for fruits like apples, pears and all in citrus family. Among vegetables, spinach, lettuce, chicory, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are exceptionally good to keep your heart healthy; protect against heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and even early death.
For reducing cancer risk, eat more green vegetables like spinach, green beans, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
Studies have shown that besides boosting the health of our blood vessels and immune system, fruits and vegetables also reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
So, go for fresh fruits and vegetables by all means, but also be extra cautious while buying and eating these. For, often fruits are artificially ripened and vegetables polished with fungicides and insecticides.
The most commonly used artificial ripening agent is calcium carbide, easily available in the market by the name masala. It is banned in many countries abroad, freely used in Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
While calcium carbide ripens the fruits easily, it is extremely harmful for health. It is corrosive in nature and contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus hydride as impurities. Consumption of fruits that have been ripened with calcium carbide causes stomach upset. Calcium carbide is known to have carcinogenic properties also.
In addition, apples are often waxed to give them a clean shiny look. Before consuming an apple, scratch its surface with knife using light strokes. If wax is used, it will come out in shreds.
Fruits like mangoes and bananas, when artificially ripened, don’t do much good except for looking good to eyes. So don’t fall for the outer beauty. If these fruits look uniformly ripened, reject; these aren’t good for the digestive system. Go for mangoes and bananas that are a little overripe and don’t look very stout.
Many fruits like grapes and vegetables like brinjal and tomato, fungicides and insecticides are used rampantly, to get the good and also good-looking crop. Sadly, systemic fungicides and insecticides can’t be removed by mere washing. Better would be to soak these in warm salt water for some time. In fact, soaking all fruits and vegetables in warm salt water is a good idea to remove harmful components.