Nutrition and Vegetables

Vegetables are a very important part of our diet. Vegetables are an excellent source for fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and iron. Researchers have discovered that having a good diet of fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure, reduces the

, stroke and possibly some types of cancers. It can also lower your risk of eye problems and digestive problems.

Vegetables are eaten in a variety of ways such as main meals or for snacks. The nutritional content in vegetables can vary considerably. Most vegetables do not contain protein or fat. The dried beans, peas, and lentils are a good source of complex carbohydrates and can have high protein content. Sometimes these types of vegetables can be used to some extent as a meat substitute. Potatoes and corn are very starchy vegetables. These types of vegetables turn into sugar.

Vegetables have a variety of colors. They can range from dark green to a beautiful orange color. The dark green vegetables are usually the leafy vegetables, and squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are examples of the orange family. Some vegetables have a red/blue coloring such as eggplant and red cabbage.

Many articles today have different ideas on the amount or servings of vegetables a person should eat per day. The amounts can range from two (2) up to nine (9) servings per day. The majority of nutrition specialists suggest 2-1/2 cups per day. Potatoes do not count in your servings per day! The best bet for servings are the dark leafy greens, tomatoes, and anything that is yellow, orange, or red color. According to the National Cancer Institute, not enough fruits and vegetables are produced or imported to supply all of the people in the United States for a healthy diet of five servings per person per day.

Another problem affecting vegetable growth is bugs and insects. Scientific studies have been conducted that support the claim that insects attack plants that do not receive the proper balance of nutrients.

The number of documented outbreaks of human infections associated with raw vegetables and unpasteurized fruit juices has increased in recent years. Most of the outbreaks were identified primarily as Salmonella. Tomatoes, seed sprouts, cantaloupe, apple juice and orange juice are the most recent vegetables to be linked to the Salmonella bacteria. The E. coli infection has been found in lettuce, sprouts, and apple juice.

It is very hard to determine the source of contamination for the bacteria for vegetables. Unlike beef and chicken that are thoroughly inspected, methods for fresh produce are not as advanced. The contamination could occur at any point throughout the production process. Some of the potential sources of contamination include soil, feces, irrigation water, dust, insects, and human handling.

Recently the Center for Disease Control has had a nationwide recall on alfalfa sprouts with the Salmonella bacteria and for romaine lettuce containing the E. coli bacteria.

In conclusion, people have been consuming meats and vegetables since the beginning of time. I am sure many people died back in the beginning of time from the diseases and bacteria we have discovered today. We must consume meats and vegetables to survive. Humans cannot live on water alone. If individuals today will use common knowledge on preparing meats and vegetables, a lot of issues such as the contamination and bacteria would not exist. All in all the meats and vegetables today are safe and nutritious. If consumed in the right amounts, we will have a healthy, long, enjoyable life.