The secret life of fruits and vegies 8 December 2014 We all know eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for us – but did you know not all fruits and vegetables are created equally? In fact some have significant health benefits over others. Here are 10 facts you may not know about some of your favourite fruits and vegetables. *Grapefruit * The humble grapefruit has been found to assist weight-loss. A study by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic in San Diego found the simple act of adding grapefruit to your diet could result in weight loss. The 12-week pilot study monitored weight and metabolic factors, such as insulin secretion, of the 100 men and women and found participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average 0.45 kilograms. Diabetes Queensland dietitian Alison Bennett said it was important to make sure you consider the overall carbohydrates of your meals as well as the other fruits you are eating throughout the day before you add grapefruit to your daily intake. Please be advised that grapefruit does interact with blood pressure medications and a number of other medications. This can depend on the amount of grapefruit and the dose of medication a person takes. Please seek advice from your relevant health professional to better understand the way your medication interacts with certain foods. Avocado Avocados are full of nature’s healthy monounsaturated fats and are also packed with fibre and protein. Monounsaturated fats are good for you because they’re easily burned for energy and they’ve even been found to protect against liver damage. Blueberries They may be little but blueberries are chock-a-block full of antioxidants, which are linked to preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other age-related conditions. One cup of blueberries contains just 335 kilojoules and helps you feel full with four grams of fibre. * Broccoli* The health benefits of eating broccoli are extensive. It’s a vegetable loaded with essential nutrients. Just 100 grams of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds which lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and ertain cancers, according to the research by the US Department of Agriculture. Potatoes True, potatoes are high in carbs, but they are three times as filling as a slice of white bread and they are rich in resistant starch, which helps your body burn fat. Obviously otato chips are not very good for you and how you cook them greatly determines how healthy they will be, but a baked potato only has about 109 kilojoules. They’re also rich in vitamin B, folate, potassium, magnesium and iron. Lemon Did you know the Ancient Egyptians believed that eating lemons and drinking lemon juice was an effective protection against a variety of poisons? While this may not be true, lemons have antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting benefits and have been used as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is believed to be a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Diabetes Queensland credentialled diabetes educator Fleur Cross said lemons are also great at lowering GI in food by changing the pH, making them the perfect addition to a meal with carbs. Spinach Popeye was definitely on to something! Spinach is filled with antioxidants, including vitamin C, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin – a duo that acts like sunscreen for your eyes and guards against macular degeneration. Just one cup of fresh spinach leaves also provides almost double the daily requirement for vitamin K, which plays an important role in cardiovascular and bone health. Capsicum A little known fact: one red capsicum has twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps clear your body of free radicals and keeps your skin and blood vessels healthy and strong. Due to their high water content, capsicums in all colours are low in kilojoules! * Garlic* So it’s not the best thing for your breath but garlic tops the UK’s National Cancer Institute’s list as a potential cancer-preventive food. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food that protects against heart disease, reduces blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It also has vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium. * Tomato* Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes. It is what gives them their red colour. Tomatoes are packed full of vitamins including vitamins A, C and E and contain potassium and other mineral salts. Not only does their high water content make them refreshing, but they’re low in kilojoules too.