The New Times (Kigali)

26 January 2013

Rwanda: Importance of a Regular Meal With Vegetables

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People feed on meals with green vegetables to support their health system. Most of the vegetables comprise a variety of nutrients.

The presence of antioxidants in tomatoes is said to be helpful in cleansing toxic compounds from the body. Lycopene a nutrient present in tomatoes has been known to neutralise free radicals in the body and has potential to reduce the risk of prostate cLeafy green vegetables are ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories. They are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease since they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.

Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for people suffering from Type-2 diabetes. It is believed that an increase in more than one serving per day of green leafy vegetables is associated with a nine-percent lower risk of diabetes.

The high level of Vitamin K in green vegetables makes them important for production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for strong bones. Green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, parsley and dark green and red leaf lettuce are high in carotenoids and best eaten raw in salads, on healthy sandwiches, lightly steamed or in nutritious soups. Most of these green plants are grown on the shores of big water bodies.

Garlic contains the amino acid alliin, which has antibiotic and bactericidal effects. It is known to promote cardiovascular activity and a good soothing action on the respiratory system.

Onion is important for prevention of cardiovascular disease due to its potential to diminish the risk of blood clots. Onion also protects against stomach and other cancers, as well as protecting against certain infections. Onion can improve lung function especially for people with Asthma. Garlic and Onions are most nutritious eaten raw in salads or healthy dips.

The presence of antioxidants in tomatoes is said to be helpful in cleansing toxic compounds from the body. Lycopene a nutrient present in tomatoes has been known to neutralise free radicals in the body and has potential to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Those who eat raw tomatoes have been found to be at a much lesser at risk of developing rectal, colon or stomach cancer. It is believed that tomatoes block the effects of nitrosamines and thus, reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Regular feeding on tomatoes might help reduce the risk of heart attack. The Vitamin K present in tomatoes helps in keeping the bones strong and healthy. It also helps prevent hemorrhages. Consuming raw tomato on a regular basis also helps to improve the texture of the skin.

Tomatoes are known for their blood purifying properties. This property is very helpful to people with liver diseases. Tomatoes are known to help protect liver cirrhosis and can dissolve gallstones as well.

Being a natural antiseptic, tomatoes can help protect the body against various common infections. The nicotinic acid in tomatoes is credited for reducing blood cholesterol, which in turn helps keep heart diseases at bay.

Consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products may prevent serum lipid oxidation and reduce the risk of macular degenerative disease. When applied topically, tomato pulp can help heal sunburn, wounds and sores.

Tomatoes can also help the body prevent diarrhoea and soothe eye irritation as well. Tomatoes have been found to have positive effects in case of ailments like constipation, diabetes, indigestion, intestinal disorders and jaundice.

Carrots are some of the foods richest in beta-carotene, which is a Vitamin A precursor. Our body transforms it into Vitamin A.

The carotene has an antioxidant property which may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Carrots help keep your skin to be healthy and improve your eyesight, especially night vision. Carrots also help to maintain our intestinal tracts.

They are rich in fibre which helps to protect against colon cancer. This vegetable will help boost your immune system and lower the risk of lung cancer. Carrots will also assist in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Carrots are naturally sweet and ideal for grating into salads. Baby carrots also make good raw snacks.

Peas are rich in protein and carbohydrates but low in fats. They are a good source of fibre and iron as well as vitamins A and C. Peas are rich in water-soluble fibre which helps promote good intestinal health. By binding with cholesterol, they help excrete it. They are also very rich in thiamin (Vitamin B1). This vitamin is essential for energy productions, nerve function and carbohydrate metabolism. Green peas are best eaten raw or steamed.

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