Red, white, green, yellow / orange, purple / blue are the main colors of fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables occupy a prominent place in the Mediterranean diet and on our table for their wealth of beneficial nutrients to our body. In fact, if consumed in the right quantity, for the the European Community , 5 portions a day and to the National Cancer Institute even 7 or 9, within a complete diet of all the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and good fats), provide a unique intake of antioxidants, vitamins, fibres, mineral salts, fibres and water really useful to prevent tumours, cardiovascular, respiratory or bowel disorders. According to theWorld Health Organization, about 1/3 of cardiovascular diseases and tumours could be avoided following a balanced and healthy diet.
With the special "At the table with colors" we will find out what are the nutritional properties of fruit and vegetable foods based on color, the benefits for our body and advice on the choice and correct use to keep their properties intact. He will accompany us on this interesting journey the doctor frelance nutritional biologist PhD, Freelance Nutritionist Biologist in Dubai and Stefano Iorini, CEO of My Quality & Convenience, the online "from A to Z" online Supermarket made in Italy, present in the United Arab Emirates with a wide range of products who every day pay particular attention to the quality preserving foods until the customer's door delivery.
"A healthy and balanced diet like the Mediterranean one - specifies Dr Barbieri includes: carbohydrates (whole wheat pasta and bread, rice and whole grains in general), proteins (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products), fats (olive oil), legumes and is above all rich in fruit and vegetables. Eating Fruit and vegetables is therefore very important as it represents the basis of a preventive and protective healthy diet. To find out and learn more about all the precious nutritional properties of these products, we will divide them by colour. Given that fruits and vegetables of the same colour have similar general characteristics, but it is interesting to know that even food of a certain colour may have specific characteristics common to a food of a different colour. For example, cherries and strawberries are both very rich in anthocyanins and therefore antioxidants, but anthocyanins, although in smaller quantities, are also found in bananas. Another example is that of red radicchio which is very rich in iron like spinach ”.
in the Summer time, the first choice falls on the red color which represents strength, energy, fire and emotions. “Red fruit and vegetable products - she explains - are among the most precious natural remedies available in the summer, real concentrates of health with low caloric intake. They are rich in mineral salts, water and vitamins. In addition to having a cheerful and good appearance, what stores red fruit and vegetables is their powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood vessel protection and anti-ageing action thanks to the presence of flavonoids, in particular of the anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, pigments giving the typical red colour, are able to reduce the free radicals (responsible for cellular ageing, and related with some pathologies), have antiviral action, are metabolism activators and benefits the cardiovascular system. In red fruits and vegetables, vitamin A and C are also present, which contribute to the immune system work and skin protection. Anthocyanins, in addition, are protective from UV rays, prevent cardiovascular diseases by protecting our heart, reduce capillary fragility and improve circulation (in summer they help fight swollen legs), and activate metabolism. Strawberries, cherries, raspberries, red cabbage, red grapes are among the most anthocyanin-rich fruit and vegetable products.
Let's talk about the strawberry. Besides having all the typical characteristics of red fruits, it is not too sweet (5% fructose), rich in calcium and vitamin C (5 strawberries contain about the same amount of vitamin C as an orange). One recommendation: if you are allergic sensitive, do not exceed the quantity of strawberries as it is an allergic fruit. Also the pomegranate it is low in sugar, hypoglycemic and thanks to its high content of vitamin A and C it is one of the fruits typically useful in winter to strengthen the immune system and prevent seasonal diseases. It can be eaten fresh or in the form of juice. Also useful for energetic support of the body following drug therapies (including chemotherapy).
On the other hand, the watermelon among the red fruits is the most sugary, paying attention to the quantity and its association with other sugary foods within the meal. It is very rich in mineral salts and therefore excellent in summer and specially in case of water retention.
About cherries, loved by adults and children, we need to pay more attention. They have indisputable beneficial properties but also a strong stimulus action of intestinal transit (especially fasting), so be careful not to abuse them. The recommended dose is about 150-200g of cherries. Cherries, together with raspberries, are an energetic, thirst-quenching, multivitamin, laxative source together with an anti-inflammatory and beneficial action for blood vessels and microcirculation. We cannot forget about vasoprotective action blueberries. The neomirtillin contained in them is in fact able to increase capillary resistance and to constitute an adjuvant in problems of venous circulation. Furthermore, the anthocyanosides present in blueberry berries have a healing, anti-inflammatory effect (eg on ulcerated mucous membranes) and prevention of visual disturbances.
As for vegetables, the Red radish, in addition to having antioxidant characteristics common to all fruits and red vegetables, it stands out for its high iron content. It is therefore indicated in anaemias. It is advisable, when possible, to flavour foods rich in iron with lemon as vitamin C is essential for the absorption of iron by our body.
Speaking of red we cannot forget the lycopene, highly antioxidant red pigment present especially in tomatoes. Lycopene helps prevent various diseases including hypertension and some cancers.
Contrary to what one might think given its spicy flavor, the chili pepper it is an anti-inflammatory and natural disinfectant, as well as a concentrate of nutrients (rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and minerals). The substance that gives it a spicy taste is the capsaicin. To take advantage of its properties, it is best to consume it raw by crushing its seeds.
Selection and cooking. What are the tips?
The first rule to take the most advantages of fruit and vegetables is to learn to know them and choose them according to seasonality and origin. The second rule is to know how to wash and cook them in the most appropriate way so as not to lose their properties (or losing as little as possible). During trimming, the hardest and most withered external parts should be eliminated as little as possible because that is where most of the nutrients reach high concentrations. Whenever possible, it is better not to peel the food but to consume it with the peel. Cooking. Although a fresh seasonal vegetable, eaten raw remains the most intact from the point of view of properties, some vegetables must be consumed after cooking to make them attractive. The boiling it causes about 75% of the nutrient content in the cooking water to be lost. My advice is therefore to limit boiling as a cooking method. In any case it is good to immerse the food when the water is already boiling and to leave it in the water the least possible (al dente). Better then use the cooking water to cook other foods such as pasta or rice. Steam cooking it ensures that no nutrients are lost but, like boiling, implies a food soaked in water and therefore not recommended for those suffering from digestive problems and gastric reflux. In these cases, the more "dry" cooking the better (grilled, baked, pan-fried).
What about dressing?
We recommend using lemon to season vegetables (vitamin C helps absorb iron where present) and strictly cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. The amount of antioxidant substances (chlorophyll, carotene, lecithin, polyphenols) is much higher in extra virgin olive oil than in others and cold pressing is a process that does not compromise the nutrient content and does not involve the use of chemical treatments. Its high digestibility and its fragrance make it the preferred vegetable oil of all.
The fruit already contains natural sugars so we avoid adding sugar to the fruit cup. Better to garnish with some lemon juice (or orange) and a handful of mixed dried fruit or with pine nuts and sultanas.
Following a healthy diet means first of all health and not a weight loss diet. This is why it is important to choose the right foods and know how to use them correctly. "This can be put into practice - concludes Dr. Jessica Barbieri - essentially respecting that the food chain and therefore its production, storage and delivery so that food arrives on our tables fresh and rich in nutrients. Bad preservation can make fresh food dangerous. In fact, the widespread use of chemicals today is a problem that should not be underestimated. We can choose organic and certified fruit and vegetables (guaranteed) by law without chemical products. Be careful of the word "organic" which in English is synonymous with biologic, while in Italian it has another meaning. Foods that do not undergo industrial treatments are organic but do not have, unlike biological ones, the certification of the absence of use of chemical products ".
Proper storage and distribution of fruit and vegetable products are essential elements for maintaining nutritional properties and consumer health. These are the priorities of My Quality & Convenience, the online supermarket "from A to Z" made in Italy for 2 years in the United Arab Emirates that offers a daily delivery service taking care of the quality and convenience of the products.
"When quality meets convenience is our slogan and, as per the name of the e-commerce, quality and convenience are our strengths - explains Stefano Iorini CEO of the company - The idea of an online supermarket with a wide range of products, from food to house cleaning items, was born to offer a convenient and valid alternative to consumers who are often tired to run into the large local supermarkets. The system is easy and fast: via the website MyQandC.com Best online grocery in Dubai, select the category of the product to be purchased, and for each one you can see the origin and the price per kg or per piece depending on the kind of food, which will be added in the shopping cart.
Once made your choice, you can proceed with the checkout, choose the method of payment and book the time slot for delivery that takes place every day from 9 to 21. If you place your order before 17.00, delivery is on the same day.
We also offer special boxes, such as the family weekly box, which contain a series of fruit and vegetable products and fruit baskets ranging from a minimum of 5 kg to a maximum of 20 kg.
How do you select products?
We take extreme care of the quality of the products through a careful selection process that takes place either directly to the Ras Al Khor (Dubai) Fruit and Vegetable market or by contacting international producers, including of course Italian ones. Food arrives in the UAE by ship and/or by air. Furthermore, we can offer the better organic selection available per each specific seasons.
The quality of vegetable products also depends of correct storage. Temperature monitoring in storage warehouses is an essential requirement to ensure consumers safe and wholesome food.
What are your precautions that you take to keep the nutritional characteristics of fruit and vegetable products intact until your customers' home?
The continuous search for quality is the reason why we often travel to other countries to guarantee the best product to the customer. Added to this is our attention to food preservation as correct and monitored refrigeration avoids the deterioration of foods that could cause health consequences. Our warehouses are all equipped with controlled-temperature cold rooms and since the products stored inside the cold rooms are destined for marketing and sales, this arrangement continues even during transport. At all stages, from storage to delivery, our care is to ensure a quality product while preserving all the organoleptic characteristics.
And once the products arrive at home, how do you keep them? Proper preservation even at home allows safe and high quality consumption. According to the guidelines of the Council for agricultural research and analysis of the agricultural economy (CREA) "the safety of your food also depends on you": For storing food for short periods, the refrigerator is the most suitable place, but should be kept constantly clean, periodically defrosted, keeping the temperature around 4/5 ° C and packing foods in separate containers or bags. It is also essential to observe the correct placement of the products to avoid contamination phenomena between them. Thus, it is advisable to keep fruit and vegetables in the appropriate container at the bottom (higher temperature), both to better preserve the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of these products, and because they are generally the dirtiest foods among those that are stored in the fridge ( soil residues, insects, etc.).