It's surprising to find out what's inside some of our everyday foods. We are always researching the contents of ingredients and sometimes go even further and look into the breakdown of carbs, fats and proteins within the ingredients themselves. We thought we share some interesting facts with you about 15 common items:
- They offer amazing refreshment as they are cousins of the cucumber and are over 90% water! Great for helping to stay hydrated in the sun.
- Watermelons contain l-citrulline, an amino acid that seems to protect against muscle pain.
- 2 cups of watermelon has more Lycopene, which is is a powerful carotenoid antioxidant, than red tomatoes (1.5 times).
- Watermelon rind is edible and we like it pickled with meats:)
- It's part fruit and part vegetable because it contains seeds.
- 1 cup of watermelon is approx. 30 kcals.
- A recent study* showed that eating the right kind of fats can really benefit us (beige and brown fats that help the body generate heat and burn calories as opposed to the 'bad' white fats that settle in areas we don't want them to!). Apparently apples' naturally occurring ursolic acid seems to switch on brown fat which helps metabolism. Plus apples are naturally fat free and contain no saturated fat.
- Apples are a high source of fibre in their skins and core which is good for the digestion.
- Apples are a source of vitamin C.
- There is no sodium in apples and reduced consumption of sodium helps with the maintenance of normal blood pressure. A medium apple is about 40kcals.
- Approx. 10% of an apple is carbohydrate, 4% vitamins & minerals and the rest is water which can only be a good thing!
- Do carrots really help us see in the dark? Yes they do! Carrots get their colour from the orange pigment in beta-carotene which is a super-nutrient. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A which transforms into a purple pigment called rhodopsin in the eye's retina which helps vision in dim light!
- Carrots are packed with fibre to help digestion - 80g of carrots = c.2g fibre
- They are the best source of beta-carotene out of all other fruits & vegetables.
- Vitamin A helps with the growth of healthy bones & teeth
- The beta-carotene in carrots is an anti-oxidant which counteracts age-accelerating free radicals helping to keep our skin healthy and elastic!
- Vitamin A helps with the proper functioning of the immune system.
- A boiled carrot is about 24kcals vs a raw carrot which is 35kcals
- Carrots are a source of vitamin C
- Blueberries contain some unique antioxidants which have complicated names but here you go: pterostilbene and resveratrol. Go organic if you want to preserve as many antioxidants as possible.
- They are a great source of vitamin C and high in manganese which helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients like carbohydrates & protein!
- There are about 20 small seeds in every blueberry but they are too small to detect when you eat them.
- The colourful antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins give blueberries their amazing blue, purple and red colours.
- One serving (a cup or 150g) is about 80 kcals.
- Apart from the antioxidants mentioned upfront they have a vast array of others and studies in the US have shown that they may protect nerve cells from oxygen damage. Early studies show that this could be of cognitive benefit including improved memory but watch this space for more research!
5) GREEN TEA
- Green tea has been used in Chinese tea ceremony for centuries to treat everything from headaches to depression. Here are a few benefits of regular green tea 🍵: - Green tea leaves are richer in antioxidants (notably catechins) than other types of tea.
- It contains B vitamins, folic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and caffeine.
- The antioxidant catechins and caffeine found in green tea have been said to help the body burn more calories (metabolism boosting).
- Buddhist monks have been using green tea for centuries to help with mind-focus during long meditations.
- The root you can't beat!! Beetroots date back to Roman times and belong to the same family as spinach & chard. They have great nutritional value especially in their greens (they can be cooked like spinach). Some others facts about beetroot: - Beetroot greens are rich in calcium, iron & vitamin A + C.
- They are a great source of folic acid.
- Beets are a source of fibre, manganese and potassium.
- An EU Journal of Applied Physiology study showed drinking beetroot juice after exercise reduces muscle soreness! 💪
- The betacyanin pigment gives beetroot it's purple/red colour.
- Beetroot contains nitrates and betalains which have been shown to act as antioxidants.
- 2 inch diameter beetroot (80g) is about 35 kcals.
- Did you know strawberries 🍓 are a not a fruit because their seeds are on the outside? They are actually a member of the rose family 🌹and have over 200 seeds!
- There are more than 10 species of strawberry.
- They are a great source of vitamin C and K.
- Strawberries are a source of fibre, manganese and potassium.
- They contain folic acid.
- The phytonutrients and flavonoids give them their bright red colour.
- The anthocyanidin they contain is a powerful antioxidant.
- 100g serving = 32 kcals.
- Lemon water is one of our favourite cleansers - they grow on small evergreen trees native to Asia.
- They can help cleanse us because their citric acid helps to maximise enzyme function which stimulates the liver and aids detoxification.
- They are a source of vitamin C which can help the immune system and inflammation.
- Lemons are a source of potassium which stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure.
- They have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- 1 slice or wedge is about 2kcals.
- They are low in calories, contain no saturated fat but are rich in fibre and pectin. Pectin is a gelling agent and gives a jelly-like consistency to marmalade!
- Oranges are a great source of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant and can help the immune system and inflammation.
- They contain a variety of phytochemicals such as flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants.
- They contain good levels of vitamin A and B.
- Did you know that orange peel was traditionally used to treat sleeping problems💤? We might give that a go! - Oranges have good amounts of minerals like potassium and calcium.
- 1 small orange is about 45 kcals.
- They are a good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper and folate.
- They are the only plant source of the compound bromelain which has many health benefits such as would healing, immune function and gut health. - Pineapples contain 2g fibre per 100g.
- Due to the bromelain enzyme aiding protein digestion, pineapple juice can be used to tenderise meat!
- Fresh pineapple contains 50 calories per 100g. - They are refreshing because they are 86% water! Great for a summer's day
- Did you know Garlic🌱 was prized by the Egyptians and used to help the pyramid workers stay fit and strong!
- Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and here are some other facts:
- During World War 1 garlic was used as an antiseptic applied to wounds to cleanse & heal.
- Many of garlic's benefits are due to the active ingredient allicin. This sulphur-containing compound gives garlic its distinctive pungent smell and taste.
- The garlic bulb has 8-29 individual teardrop shaped cloves.
- It's an excellent source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
- Garlic is a good source of manganese, selenium and vitamin C. ▫️It contains other minerals, including phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron and copper.
- 100g = approx. 149 calories, 6.4g protein, 0.5g fat, 33.2g carb, 2g fibre.
12) PEANUT BUTTER
- Apparently Americans consume enough peanut butter each year to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon! 🏞
- Peanut butter contains vitamin E
- Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in peanuts and peanut butter.
- Peanut butter is a good source of several B vitamins, like Niacin & Folate.
- 2-tbsp serving of peanut butter contains about 2g of dietary fibre & boosts your potassium intake by 238mgs. Potassium counteracts the negative effects of sodium.
- Peanut butter contains the same ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats as olive oil. Each 2 tbsp serving contains 16g of total fat, including 7.4g of monounsaturated fat and 4.5g of polyunsaturated fat.
- 2 tbsp peanut butter contains about 7g of protein!
- We love fresh green spinach 🍃 and previously posted our favourite spinach & feta cheese omelette recipe but here are a few insights on our green leafed friend:
- Spinach is thought to be of Persian origin and is part of the same family as beets, chard and quinoa! ▫️It's rich in iron hence why it's meant to restore energy and improve the quality of your blood.
- Sometimes you will hear 'florentine' associated with spinach e.g. Eggs florentine. The name dates back to the 16th century and the Italian wife of Henry II who introduced spinach to France.
- Spinach is a excellent source of vitamins K, A, C and folic acid.
- 100g provides 23kcals, 3g protein, 4g carb, 2g fibre and zero fat. ▫️It contains manganese & vitamin B2.
- Try to choose organic and the medium to dark green spinach leaves as the darker green indicates high chlorophyll & health promoting antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin!
- Bananas 🍌 are often used in sport & fitness for energy but what is so special about them? We always pick organic, fair-trade varieties💪
- A study in 2012 showed that eating 1/2 a banana every 15 minutes of a three-hour race was as good at keeping energy levels steady as drinking a sports drink.
- The high level of potassium in bananas can help prevent muscle cramps during exercise.
- Bananas are thought to have originated in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago.
- Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6.
- To help a green banana ripen to yellow, putting it near an apple can help!
- They are also a good source of manganese, vitamin C, biotin, and copper.
- 1 medium banana = 105 kcals, 0.4g fat, 27g carb & 1.3g protein.
- Broccoli 🌳 tastes amazing cooked or raw and recently people are loving the purple sprouting variety.
- It's a good source of vitamin C and folate (folic acid).
- Eating broccoli and more non-starchy veg is associated with a reduced risk of some cancers (including mouth, throat and stomach) according to a 2007 review of evidence on cancer prevention by the World Cancer Research Fund (source NHS). ▫️Broccoli is a member of the same family as cauliflower, bok choy and cabbage.
- It contains vitamin A, K, calcium, soluble & insoluble fibre.
- It provides antioxidants such as beta-carotene and others (notably indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane).
- 100g = 34 kcals.
We hope you've learnt something from our fun facts or found this interesting! Stay tuned for our weekly blog as we continue to discover all things, organic, healthy, fitness & nutrition related:)