Fruit And Vegetables Are Your Friends!
- Emma’s story
- Fruit and vegetables can make it easier to lose weight
- Tailor to the imbalances in YOUR body
- Fruit and vegetables that support or hinder your thyroid, which controls your metabolism
- Your next step
- What might stop you from increasing your fruit and vegetables?
- Key things you have learned in this article
- Watch a Relevant Video
Do you hate feeling hungry? Is it a really unpleasant or even distressing feeling? Sometimes hunger can feel so awful you just have to eat. Maybe you’ve even wondered, how can anyone stick to a weight-loss programme? Or maybe you don’t feel that great a lot of the time. Maybe you feel tired or sluggish downright stressed.
When you feel like this, it’s hard to eat well. You need something to make you feel better now, and that chocolate biscuit will do the trick! How do some people have the willpower to turn it down? Willpower isn’t going to work long-term.
However, when your body is in balance, junk food is not so appealing! We all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us no big surprises there! But did you know that they can reduce hunger and make it feel less unpleasant? Do you know which ones reduce sugar cravings? In this article, we are going get specific about fruit and vegetables: how they help bring your body into balance, how they help you lose weight.
When last seen, Emma was doing well with her healthy breakfasts, making sure she added in some protein and avoiding the sugary jam and refined carbs. Fruit was now a part of her weekday breakfasts. And at weekends, she enjoyed a leisurely egg on toast with grilled mushroom and tomato. Emma’s next step was to focus on increasing fruit, vegetables, or salad with lunch and dinner.
The only fruit and vegetables Emma had at lunchtime were some slices of tomato or cucumber in her sandwich. So, she started preparing carrot, pepper, and cucumber sticks to have with her lunch. However, she found the vegetables a bit boring—until she tried taking a small pot of hummus to dunk them in.
Emma also started making the occasional vegetable salads for lunch. If she was short on time, she would include tomato, peppers, celery and carrots whatever vegetables she had on hand that she didn’t have to cook. Some evenings, while cooking dinner in the oven, she would roast a tray of butternut squash and beetroot and make extra to have with her lunch the following day.
Emma pretty much always had vegetables at dinner but decided to add in extra portions, particularly of greens, to help with her urge for sugar. Usually, she had generous portions of potato or rice. By focusing on filling half her plate with vegetables, she reduced her intake of starchy carbohydrates.
Now Emma was still eating the same amount but getting more nutrients and less calories. In fact, she felt more satiated after meals. For Emma, this didn’t feel like a huge change. She didn’t feel like she was eating any less, but over time it made her feel healthier and more energized, and she lost weight.
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Fruit and vegetables can make it easier to lose weight
For the purposes of this article, we are not including potatoes. Potatoes count towards your starchy carbs, rather than your vegetable intake. Fruit and vegetables are natural, unprocessed and unrefined, the type of food your body is equipped to deal with.
As they are high in fiber and water, they are more filling than many other foods. Similarly, their high supply of vitamins and minerals curbs your hunger as well, even when you are taking in significantly fewer calories. Modern lives can be hard on our vitamin and mineral status. Many of us are chronically stressed, which depletes us of vitamins and minerals, as does alcohol.
In refining and processing our foods, we remove yet more nutrients. If you are low in nutrients, hunger can feel really unpleasant. But the longer you follow a diet high in vitamins and minerals, the less you experience hunger and the easier it gets.
Not only do the nutrients in fruit and vegetables help you feel less hungry, you also need them to balance your female hormones, support your body when stressed and support your thyroid, which controls your metabolism.
If obesogens, or hormone imbalances, are contributing to your weight, it is particularly important to make sure your liver and gut are working well. Your liver processes toxins and old hormones, which it then excretes in bile through your gut. The longer toxins stay in your bowels, the more likely they are to be reabsorbed.
Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants, which support your liver and help neutralize toxins. They also contain fiber, which keeps everything moving through your gut. Basically, fruit and vegetables support every system in your body, so it is hardly surprising they are so helpful when it comes to losing weight.
Or sustaining weight loss! A high-nutrient diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (and including beans and nuts) can lead to significant weight loss and help you keep the weight off. Eating more fruit and vegetables may also help protect against weight gain around your belly.
Tailor to the imbalances in YOUR body
Whilst fruit and vegetables support your body in general, some are particularly helpful for certain imbalances.
Blood sugar imbalances
Fruit and vegetables contain sugars, but as these are naturally occurring, your body is able to handle them. As fruit and vegetables are high in fiber, this slows down the release of their sugars. However, some tropical fruit, particularly bananas, have a greater effect on your blood sugar levels.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them. Just have them in moderation. Dried fruit also release their sugars quickly, so are best limited. In the next article, we look at how eating some protein with your fruit, for example, a small handful of nuts or seeds reduces their effect on your blood sugar levels. Cooking foods increases their effect on blood sugar, so raw or lightly cooked vegetables are best.
Though, as mentioned, we are not including potatoes in the discussion on fruit and vegetables, it is worth noting in passing their effect on your blood sugar levels. The glycemic load (GL) of a food indicates its effect on your blood sugar levels; the higher the GL, the greater the impact. Depending on how they are cooked, potatoes have a medium to high glycemic load (GL). Boiled potatoes have less effect than baked or mashed. There is no need to avoid potatoes, but reduce your portion size and always have some protein with them.
Your adrenals, which produce your stress hormones, store large amounts of vitamin C, but these are depleted by stress. As fruit and vegetables are high in vitamin C, they can help replenish these stores.
Other nutrients that support your adrenals are found in green vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, broccoli, alfalfa, cabbage, celery, strawberries, squash, avocado, corn, figs, and bananas.
Female hormone imbalances
Some fruit and vegetables contain phytoestrogens, which can help bring your female hormones into balance. Phytoestrogen-containing fruit and vegetables include broccoli, carrots, celery, alfalfa and mung bean sprouts, apples, plums, cherries and garlic. Vegetables contain insoluble fiber, which helps eliminate environmental and old oestrogens. Cruciferous vegetables are particularly helpful, as they prevent toxic environmental oestrogens from being absorbed. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and pak choi.
Green vegetables, sweet potatoes and avocados contain nutrients that support your female hormones. Chose organic where you can, as some pesticides have an oestrogenic effect. If your female hormones are not in balance, it is important to support your liver, as it processes old hormones.
Fruit and vegetables that support your liver
Fruit and vegetables that are particularly liver-supportive include onions, garlic, carrots, beetroot, artichokes, asparagus, watermelon and bitter foods such as rocket, radish, watercress and dandelion leaves. Brassicas (such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) are also particularly liver-supportive (but don’t overdo the raw brassicas, as this can affect your thyroid function). Citrus fruit such as lemon, lime and orange also support your liver.
However, you need to be careful of grapefruit, which can reduce the ability of your liver to detoxify. Some people are sensitive to citrus; if you think you react, it is best avoided. Otherwise, you could start the day with a glass of warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.
Appetite regulation disruption
Green vegetable membranes, known as thylakoids, promote feelings of fullness. If you are often hungry or tend to eat too much, increasing your green vegetable intake may help. Prunes also increase feelings of fullness. If you overeat at meals, have a piece of whole fruit beforehand. In one study, participants who ate an apple fifteen minutes before a meal consumed 15 percent less calories overall.
Low calcium or magnesium
Some fruit and vegetables contain calcium and/or magnesium. Calcium-containing fruit and vegetables include green, leafy vegetables, parsley, globe artichokes and prunes. Magnesium-containing fruit and vegetables include green, leafy vegetables, green peas, bananas and figs.
If you crave sugar or find it hard to cut back, increasing the amount of green vegetables you eat may help. Green vegetable membranes reduce the urge for sugary and fatty foods.
Gut bacterial imbalances
Certain fruit and vegetables increase the bacteria that can help boost your metabolism and reduce fat storage. Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, contain probiotics. These are the ‘good’ bacteria. Some fruit and vegetables contain prebiotics, which support your ‘good’ bacteria and increase their number. Prebiotic-containing fruit and vegetables include onions, garlic, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, bananas, chicory and peas.
Some fruit and vegetables can activate your SIRT1 ‘skinny’ gene. This is the basis of the Sirtfood Diet developed by Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, nutrition experts in the UK, emphasizing foods that are ‘sirtuin activators’. The SIRT1 gene represses fat storage and triggers your body to burn fat.
Sirtfoods include strawberries, apples, persimmons, grapes, kale, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, onions, shallots and celery. These foods are not a magic bullet for weight loss, but if you want to burn fatter, include sirtfoods in your diet.
Fruit and vegetables that support or hinder your thyroid, which controls your metabolism
Fruit and vegetables contain vitamin C, which supports your thyroid gland. Some also contain other nutrients needed by your thyroid. They include red and orange fruit and vegetables, green vegetables, courgettes (zucchini) and mushrooms.
If your thyroid is underactive, limit your intake of raw cruciferous vegetables. Raw cruciferous veg contain goitrogens, which hinder your body’s production of thyroid hormones. Cruciferous veg include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kale and spinach. These are healthy foods that, even if you have an underactive thyroid, you can still include. Just cook them first and don’t eat in large quantities.
Exposure to obesogens
If you are concerned about your exposure to obesogenic chemicals, try increasing your green vegetables. Green veg contain chlorophyll, which may reduce the absorption of some obesogens. It can also help to choose organic where possible, as many pesticides are obesogens. Some fruit and vegetables have higher levels of pesticides than others. Your liver processes toxins, and some fruit and vegetables are particularly liver supportive.
Read Also About Fruit that Makes You Lose Weight
Your next step
Your next step is to fill half your plate with fruit, vegetables or salad at every meal. For the calories they contain, fruit, vegetables and salad provide a lot of bulk. If you consume additional servings of them, you are likely to eat the same total amount of food but consume less calories. You are also likely to lose significantly more weight without feeling hungry or deprived.
It’s important to include a variety of fruit and vegetables as they contain different vitamins and minerals and health-promoting phytonutrients. Choose a rainbow of colors and lightly steam rather than boil vegetables to retain their nutrients. Frozen fruit and vegetables are fine to include.
What might stop you from increasing your fruit and vegetables?
Is there anything that might make it difficult for you to increase your fruit and vegetables? Try to identify what might get in the way. What solutions could you find? If you are not in the habit of buying or eating many vegetables, simply add in extra portions of vegetables or a salad to what you are currently eating.
If you stock your freezer with frozen vegetables, you always have them available. Or try cooking meals that contain a lot of vegetables, such as stir fries, soups, salads, vegetable stews and curries. If you don’t have a lot of time, it can help to find meals that are quick to prepare such as salads or stir-fries. You can buy packets of ready-prepared vegetables for stir fries, although they retain more nutrients if you prepare them fresh.
Many shops also sell ready-made salads, though watch out for the dressing. On a day when you have more time, prepare meals in bulk and freeze in portion sizes. Maybe you could cook a casserole with lots of vegetables and make an extra one to freeze. Or make up a big batch of vegetable soup and freeze it in portion sizes. If you want an easy way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, consider a small investment in a blender for smoothies.
The advantage over a juicer is that a blender blends the whole fruit and vegetable, so you get all the fiber. Additionally, there is no leftover pulp, and it only takes a few seconds to clean. Aim to make your smoothie mainly vegetable with a little fruit to sweeten. If your blender can handle nuts and seeds, you can include these in your smoothies too.
Key things you have learned in this article
- Fruit and vegetables are high in nutrients that support many systems in your body including your female hormones, your adrenals, which produce your stress hormones, and your thyroid, which controls your metabolism. When these systems come back into balance, it makes it so much easier to lose weight. Different fruit and vegetables contain different nutrients.
- Fruit and vegetables help you feel less hungry and make hunger less unpleasant.
- Green-vegetable membranes promote feelings of fullness and reduce the desire for sugary and fatty foods. Some fruit and vegetables contain substances that can activate your SIRT1 ‘skinny’ gene, which represses fat storage and triggers your body to burn fat.
- Fermented vegetables contain probiotics (the ‘good’ bacteria); other fruit and veg contain prebiotics, which boost your ‘good’ bacteria.
Watch a Relevant Video