For as long as we can remember, we have all been introduced the importance of eating healthily as our parents used to urge us to eat fruits and vegetables from such an early age. Naturally, as a kid, we would definitely try to reject those nutritious foods and negotiate with our parents so that we can consume as little of them as possible. For some of us, our taste buds have evolved over the years and we have come to like most vegetables nowadays. But “liking” something doesn’t necessarily mean it becomes a daily food choice.
It is always going to be easier to grab a bowl of cereal than it is to prepare a spinach salad. That’s one of the reasons supplements have such an appeal, for people who want to get the benefits of eating veggies without actually eating more veggies. It is easier to pop a pill or mix a drink than it is to buy, prepare, and eat the real fruit or vegetables.
So, here’s an interesting question… Between fruit and vegetables, which one of them is the most nutritious? As some fruits are relatively more acceptable for most people, would consuming fruit be enough, or do we need to focus on eating more vegetables? Are green vegetables as super as they claim to be, and even more, are they really superior to all others?
Eat Your “Fruits and Veggies”
Most food guides place high importance on eating “fruits and vegetables” each day. It’s almost as though the two are interchangeable – Eat an apple OR eat some asparagus… it’s all the same. Well, it’s not. Vegetables offer significantly different nutritional value than fruit – Here are just a few examples:
An estimated 30% of the world’s population is anaemic, often due to low iron intake via food choices.
Fruits VS vegetables nutrition: Calcium
There’s an ongoing debate about the health benefits of drinking milk. Proponents often cite our need for calcium from milk… Why not eat more spinach?
Fruits VS vegetables nutrition: Vitamin C
Where does vitamin C come from? Oranges of course… or yellow peppers!
Fruits VS vegetables nutrition: Vitamin A
Vitamin A is crucial for proper immune function and supports our vision, especially during development in young children.
The list could go on and on, but the point is pretty clear… Fruits and vegetables are NOT created equal and in many cases, vegetables are much more densely packed with the important nutritional components that our bodies need in order to thrive.
Does this mean that fruits are bad? Not at all. In fact, some fruits offer health benefits beyond what even vegetables can offer. For example,
Fruits VS vegetables nutrition: Fiber
Apricots are a better source of fiber than any vegetable out there.
But, when it comes to nutritional value, vegetables win out far more often than not.
Fruits vs. Vegetables: Sugar Is the Real Enemy
As we’re all well-aware, sugar has been declared enemy #1 when it comes to healthy eating, especially if we are watching our weight. It likely won’t be a surprise to see how sugary fruits are when compared to vegetables:
Sugar content in fruits and vegetables
When it comes to sugar content, fruit wins by a landslide!
We do not need a dietary source of sugar (there is no daily requirement we need to consume through food). Again, not declaring a war on fruit – the purpose of this is simply pointing out that fruit is often lower in nutritional value than vegetables AND it comes with a higher sugar count (and therefore is usually higher in calories).
The Unique Benefits of Green Vegetables
Okay, veggies are great – got it. What makes green vegetables so special? Green veggies, particularly leafy greens, are the pound-for-pound champs when it comes to nutritional value. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which are important in helping the body fight off disease.
Researchers have also recently discovered that a certain gene (known as T-bet) responds to leafy green vegetables and promotes a much healthier digestive system. The result is improved immunity, reduced inflammation, lessen the risk of type-2 diabetes, and reduced risk of several types of cancer (just to name a few).
Finally, we need to eat more greens to help balance our pH level. As discussed in detail before a low pH (below 7) means our body is acidic and is running the risk of disease, poor digestion, low energy, joint pain, and the list goes on. Take a look at the list of alkalinizing foods and notice how many green vegetables make the list. In short, green vegetables are really, really good for us!
To conclude, between fruits and vegetables, after the comparison… Where should we begin? Well, overall, fruits are great, but nutritionally, they just don't stack up to vegetables.