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11 Fruits and Vegetables That Aren’t All That Great for You

11 Fruits and Vegetables That Aren’t All That Great for You

Just because it is plant-based, doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of it

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Make sure you are eating only the best fruits and vegetables for your diet!

Many dietary know-it-alls would have you believe that all it takes to drop a few pounds is to switch from a meat-heavy diet to one full of nothing but fruits and vegetables, as if losing weight were no more difficult than passing up a burger in favor of an apple and a side of fries.

Click here for the 11 Fruits and Vegetables Tha Aren't All That Great for You slideshow.

However, anyone who’s ever seriously tried to go vegetarian knows it’s not that easy. Just because food is plant-based, doesn’t mean it can’t be full of sugar and starch. Even healthy, fibrous vegetables can leave well-meaning dieters feeling bloated and sluggish. And gorging on enough fruit to fill Carmen Miranda’s hat can be nearly as bad as reaching for a box of cookies.

The trick to feeling full from eating fruits and vegetables without getting gassy and sugar-sluggish, according to Joanne Perez, registered dietician and founder of Real Bite Nutrition, is to look for nutritionally dense produce and then pay attention to portion control.

“All fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet,” says Perez. “But since some are higher in sugar and calories than others, portion size is important. The healthiest fruits and vegetables are those that have a high-density value, which is the number of nutrients a food has in relation to the number of calories. Foods with a high-density value will give you the most nutrients for the fewest number of calories.”

Most nutritionists agree that any produce is better than none at all, but there are some that work better for people who are on diets or are trying to reduce bloat after overindulging during the holidays. To get your new year started off right, we’ve spoken to some top dieticians for advice on which fruits and vegetables they advise against for clients looking to lose weight.

This story was originally published on January 9, 2015.


Try Your Favorite Fall Fruit In This Totally Unique Way For Healthy Holiday Eating

Ever wonder why strawberries in summer just seem to taste better? It's because they're seasonal — and the same goes for all produce. But it also goes further than just intensified flavors: When you're eating seasonally, it's easier to get ingredients that haven't traveled as far. Because of that, they're also fresher and more sustainable. Basically, it's a win-win-win scenario. That said, with so many delicious fall fruits and veggies at your disposal, right now is a great time to try this way of eating if you haven't already.

Eating seasonal produce is inherently healthy, but there are also a few preparations that can maximize their nutritional value as well as combinations that aren't just tasty, they're even more beneficial. And that's especially helpful to note if you've been stuck on the same pumpkin or apple pie or butternut squash soup for your fall go-tos. Sure, those fruits and veggies are great, but there are a whole lot more you may not have considered stocking up on — plus some creative, nutritionist-approved ways to utilize them.

Cara Clark, nutritionist and healthy recipe developer at Cara Clark Nutrition, is a big fan of adjusting your recipes to suit the season. "Some of my favorite things about entering a new season are the changes of food and produce," she explains. "Falling into winter represents one of my favorite food seasons. I always think of roasted root veggies, deep burnt oranges and reds and lots of warm soup and stews. Oh, and the apples couldn't be a better addition to any food." Looking for a few specifics to try? See ahead to find 11 fruits and veggies to grab during your next trip to the market, plus some new and different ways to try eating them.

Yes, the dense leafy green that once was a trend is here to stay — and it's in peak season now. But if you're bored of creating the same old kale salads or looking for something more inspired than simply adding it to a pilaf, try using it in a simple pesto. Add some nuts or seeds, fresh basil, garlic, lemon, and olive oil and pulse until your desired consistency. Then serve it with pasta, in a dressing, on top of roasted veggies, or whatever.


Raw or Cooked? How Best to Prep 11 Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols that can help prevent health issues like cancer and cardiovascular disease and can even help your mood. Antioxidants help your body counteract damage caused by toxic byproducts called free radicals. Eating more fruits and vegetables also increases your vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, thiamine, and niacin, minerals, and fiber.

But it can be tricky to know how you should store and prepare fresh foods to get the most nutrients.

Luckily, storing most fruits and vegetables generally does not lose antioxidants. In fact, antioxidant levels can even go up in the few days after you buy them. But when you start to see the fruit or vegetable spoil and turn brown, that usually means that they have started to lose their antioxidants. The main exceptions are broccoli, bananas, and apricots, which are more sensitive and start to lose their antioxidants in storage within days, so eat those sooner than later.

Here's how you should prepare 11 fruits or vegetables in order to maximize antioxidants and nutrients.

  • Storage tip: Even though this will make shelf life shorter, store tomatoes in room temperature since tomatoes can lose antioxidants (and flavor) when stored in cooler temperatures.

Cook your tomatoes to release higher levels of lycopene and overall antioxidants. You can cook them for up to 30 minutes at 190.4 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius). Lycopene is found in red fruits and vegetables like watermelon, red bell pepper, and papaya and has been linked to lower rates of cancer. Raw tomatoes have less overall antioxidants, but have more vitamin C.

2. Carrots. Raw or sous vide, steamed, boiled. Cooked can be better than raw.
Cook your carrots to get more beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gets converted in your body to vitamin A, which is good for your eyes and immune system.
Sous vide carrots for best results. Steaming or boiling carrots preserves more antioxidants than roasting, frying or microwaving. If you're in Top Chef mode, try sous vide carrots -- this method of sealing food in an airtight plastic bag and placing the bag into a water bath keeps even more antioxidants than steaming.

  • Storage tip: Keep broccoli wrapped in packaging in the refrigerator at 1 degree Celsius (or 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Unlike most vegetables, broccoli tends to lose antioxidants faster than other vegetables when stored without packaging, particularly when it starts to lose its color and turn yellow. Wrap the broccoli in microperforated or non-perforated packaging to keep antioxidants for longer.

If you eat raw broccoli, you'll get higher levels of an enzyme called myrosinase, which creates compounds like sulforaphane, which blocks the growth of cancer cells and fight Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. Myrosinase is sensitive to heat and destroyed during cooking.

However, cooked broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, have more indole, which is thought to be protective against cancer. Steamed broccoli has also better potential to reduce cholesterol than raw broccoli.

Sous vide or steamed broccoli to keep antioxidants. Steamed broccoli retains color and texture. Boiling broccoli for 9-15 minutes loses up to 60 percent of nutrients, which become leached into the water. Stir-frying loses the most vitamin C and nutrients.

4. Cauliflower. Raw, steamed, or sous vide.

Fresh raw cauliflower has 30 percent more protein and many different types of antioxidants such as quercetin. Raw cauliflower keeps the most antioxidants overall, but cooking cauliflower increases indole levels.

Don't boil cauliflower in water because that loses the most antioxidants. Water-boiling and blanching causes the worst loss of minerals and antioxidant compounds in cauliflower because many of the nutrients get leached into the water. Steam or sous vide cauliflower to maintain nutrients.


Leeks

Most home chefs don’t cook with leeks as much as garlic or onions, perhaps because the large green-and-white stalks make them appear intimidating to work with. But in reality, leeks have a milder, more delicate flavor than onions, and they’re arguably easier to work with since you don’t have to peel them — for most recipes, you simply chop off the green end and use the white.

Leeks are also full of vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as fiber, iron and manganese. Use them like you would fennel to add depth and texture to savory dishes, or try them in starring roles in everything from toast to soup.


Mangoes are high in sugar (100 grams of mango contains 14 grams of sugar), but are very rich in nutrients. Half a cup of mango will give you a healthy serving of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, choline, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and even vitamin E. Many of these nutrients are commonly found in animal proteins or nuts, making mango a great part of a vegan or vegetarian diet.


5. Yuzu

Yuzu fruits look like wrinkly oranges. They&rsquore citrus fruits that grow in different regions throughout Asia.

They&rsquore extraordinarily sour and tart, so almost no one eats them raw.

Instead, they&rsquore used in recipes in much the same way lemons and limes are used.

They&rsquore also used to garnish different dishes, especially seafood and mixed drinks.


11 Best Fruits For Weight Loss, According To A Nutritionist

Calling all people with a sweet tooth! One of the hardest parts of any diet is fighting back against cravings for sweet, sugary foods, amiright? But when it comes to dieting, not all sugar is created equal. While your diet may have strict rules against the refined sugars found in treats like cupcakes and cookies, natural sugars (like the ones found in fruits) usually aren't off limits.

"[Fruit] is a nutritious item to enjoy during a weight-loss journey as a treat and to decrease your cravings for other less healthy sweet foods," says Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition. Fruit can also help you feel fuller for longer, due to the fiber content in many kinds. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't track your sugar intake when eating fruit. Too much sugar of any kind could still thwart your weight-loss goals, and lots of fruits pack a ton of it.

If you're trying to lose weight, Shapiro recommends having no more than two servings of fruit a day, or three if you're active. One serving of fruit can either be a whole fruit that fits in your hand, like an apple or orange, or one cup of cut fruit, like a fruit salad. You should stick to eating fresh fruit Shapiro advises against eating a ton of dried fruit if you're trying to lose weight, as the dried fruit's sugar becomes more concentrated as it loses volume. "The servings of dried fruit are very small, very sweet, and very high in sugar," she says. "For example, dried mango contains 29 grams of sugar for four slices." Shapiro also says that people tend to typically overeat dried fruit because of the small serving sizes.

But if you eat fresh fruit, and you take stock of your servings, fruits can keep you on track for your weight-loss goals. If you're curious which fruits are the best when it comes to weight loss, try this list of 11 recommendations from Shapiro. They have the highest fiber content, the lowest sugar, and are the healthiest options for weight loss.


People often think of root vegetables as cold weather food, but there are different varieties of carrots popping up year-round in Tennessee. In addition to their satisfying crunch, carrots are a good source of fiber and antioxidants. In fact, orange carrots get their bright color from beta carotene, an antioxidant your body turns into vitamin A. Because of their natural sugars and robust texture, they lend themselves to savory and sweet dishes alike.

When most people think of fennel, they think of onions, leeks and other vegetables that are used in stews and sauces. But fennel is actually a part of the carrot family, which explains where the lightly licorice-flavored vegetable gets its sweetness. Try mixing it with potatoes or onions in any savory dish to boost fiber and mineral content, or explore 25 easy ways to use it here.


Raw or Cooked? How Best to Eat 11 Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols that help prevent health issues like cancer and cardiovascular disease and can improve mood. Antioxidants help your body counteract damage caused by toxic byproducts called free radicals. Eating more fruits and vegetables also increases your vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, thiamine, and niacin, minerals, and fiber.

But it can be tricky to know how you should store and prepare fresh foods to get the most nutrients.

Luckily, when you store most fruits and vegetables, this generally does not affect antioxidants levels. In fact, antioxidant levels can even go up in the few days after you buy the fruits and vegetables. But when you start to see the fruit or vegetable spoil and turn brown, that usually means that they have started to lose antioxidants. The main exceptions are broccoli, bananas, and apricots, which are more sensitive and start to lose their antioxidants during storage within days, so eat those sooner than later.

Whether you should cook or eat raw fruits or vegetables to maximize antioxidants varies. Some vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, and peppers gain certain antioxidants after they are cooked.

1. Tomatoes: Cooked may be better than raw.

Storage tip: Even though this will make shelf life shorter, store tomatoes in room temperature since tomatoes can lose antioxidants (and flavor) when stored in cooler temperatures.
Cook your tomatoes to release higher levels of lycopene and total antioxidant activity. You can cook them for up to 30 minutes at 190.4 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius). Lycopene is found in red fruits and vegetables like watermelon, red bell pepper, and papaya and has been linked to lower rates of

Raw tomatoes have less overall antioxidants, but have more vitamin C.

2. Carrots: Cooked may be better than raw.

Cook your carrots to get more beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gets converted in your body to vitamin A, which is good for your eyes and immune system. Sous Vide carrots for best results. Steaming or boiling carrots preserves more antioxidants than roasting, frying or microwaving carrots. If you’re in Top Chef mode and want to maximize antioxidants, try sous vide carrots, which has even more antioxidants than steamed carrots.

3. Broccoli: Raw and cooked.

Storage tip: Keep broccoli wrapped in packaging in the refrigerator at 1 degree Celsius (or 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Unlike most vegetables, broccoli tends to lose antioxidants faster than other vegetables when stored without packaging, particularly when it starts to lose its color and turn yellow. Wrap the broccoli in microperforated or non-perforated packaging to keep antioxidants for longer.

If you eat raw broccoli, you'll get higher levels of an enzyme called myrosinase, which creates helpful compounds like sulforaphane, which blocks the growth of cancer cells and helps fight Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. Myrosinase is sensitive to heat and thus destroyed during cooking.

Cooked broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, increases indole, which is thought to be protective against cancer. Steamed broccoli has also better potential to reduce cholesterol than raw broccoli.

Sous vide or steam broccoli to keep antioxidants and nutrients. Boiling 9-15 minutes causes the loss of up to 60 percent of nutritious compounds become leached into the water. Stir-frying and a combination of boiling and stir-frying (common in Chinese cuisine) causes the most loss of vitamin C and nutrients. Steaming allows broccoli to retain better color and texture.

4. Cauliflower: Raw and cooked.

Fresh cauliflower has 30 percent more protein and many different types of antioxidants such as quercetin. Raw cauliflower keeps the most antioxidants overall, but cooking cauliflower increases indole levels.

Don't boil cauliflower in water because that loses the most antioxidants. Water-boiling and blanching causes the worst loss of minerals and antioxidant compounds in cauliflower because many of the nutrients get leached into the water. Steam or sous vide cauliflower to maintain nutrients.

5. Brussel Sprouts, cabbage: Raw and steamed.

Brussel sprouts and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables rich in compounds protective for cancer. One study found that people who consumed about 300 grams or two-thirds pound of Brussels sprouts daily for a week had higher levels of a detox enzyme in the colon, which helps explain the link between eating cruciferous vegetables and lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Raw Brussels sprouts give you the most folate and vitamin C. Steaming Brussels sprouts can release more indole compounds (but they arguably taste best when roasted!).

6. Kale: Raw and blanched.

Kale has beta-carotene, vitamin C, and polyphenols. Cooking kale significantly lowers vitamin C and overall antioxidants. Keep kale raw or, if you prefer cooked, blanch or steam kale to minimize antioxidant loss.

7. Eggplant: Cooked and grilled.

Grill eggplant to make it a lot richer in antioxidants compared to raw or boiled (and it tastes a lot better too). Don't forget to salt your eggplant slices before cooking to get rid of excess moisture and bitterness.

8. Red Peppers: Raw and cooked (stir-fry, roasted).

Red peppers are a great source of vitamin C, carotenoids, polyphenols, and other phytochemicals. Raw red peppers provide more vitamin C because vitamin C breaks down with heat. But other antioxidants like carotenoids and ferulic acid go up when red peppers are cooked.

Stir-fry or roast red peppers. Do not boil red peppers—boiling red peppers loses the most nutrients and antioxidants. Stir-frying and roasting actually preserves red pepper antioxidants, more than steaming.

9. Garlic and onions: Raw and cooked.

Garlic and onions have been linked with foods that help fight high blood pressure. Red onions have the highest amount of quercetin, a type of flavonoid family antioxidant thought to protect against certain forms of cancer, heart disease, and aging.

Garlic and onions are pretty hardy when cooked. You can blanch, fry, and even microwave them without changing their antioxidant levels by much, so prepare them however you like.

10. Artichokes: Cooked.

Cook your artichokes in order to boost their antioxidants. Steam artichokes to boost antioxidants levels by 15-fold and boil them to boost them by 8-fold. Microwaving them also increases an artichoke's antioxidants. But don't fry them-- that plummets flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.

11. Blueberries: Raw and cooked.
Blueberries are one of the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidants, and you can eat them raw or cooked to get the most antioxidants. One study found that some type of antioxidants levels went up with cooking blueberries, while others went down.


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