Balancing Fruits And Vegetables And Glycemic Index.

In general, for every meal or snack during the day you should plan to have some vegetables and fruit. Over the day these may balance out to be about equal portions of each, but some days you may eat more fruit and fewer vegetables or the other way around. Some of these may be chosen because they provide a hefty dose of soluble fiber or insoluble fiber. Each are beneficial in aiding digestion. Some will have high concentrations of antioxidants and vitamins that are beneficial to health as well. In addition, you should take note of the glycemic index (GI) for each vegetable or fruit. Most of the fruits or vegetables should have a low GI. Some may have a medium GI and a few, generally very few may have a high GI.

The Glycemic Index scale is one which generally varies from 1-100 and is a measure of the extent to which the fruit or vegetable contributes to increasing blood sugar concentrations. Persistently high blood sugar concentrations contributes to insulin resistance. Initially, insulin is elevated until blood sugar concentrations are reduced after eating. If blood sugar remains persistently elevated, insulin resistance to the uptake of sugar by cells develops and it also becomes difficult for the body to burn fat. Type 2 diabetes then for some is not far behind. There is an increasing desire for sugar, obesity may develop with hypertension and diabetes. Heart disease may also develop as well even in the short term.

In general, low GI vegetables and fruits reduce overall caloric intake while giving one a full feeling after meals and snacks. These are low caloric density foods. Low GI is 1-50, medium GI is 50-70 while high GI is 70-100. We are fortunate to have many low GI fruits and vegetables. For example, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, onions and sweet red peppers all have GI values under 10. Peas, carrots, cherries, grapefruit, prunes, apricots, apples, strawberries, oranges and pears all have GI between 20 and 40. Corn, beets, mangoe, bananas, papaya, raisins, kiwi, figs, cantaloupe and pineapple all have medium GI values between 50 and 70.

For breakfast today I had I had cooked steel cut oats over a bed of fruit: banana, kiwi, strawberries and dark seedless grapes, all low or medium GI fruits, filled with vitamins and some minerals as well. For a morning snack I have a small blueberry, yogurt, honey muffin. Blueberries have antioxidants which are good for memory and brain function and in addition have good fiber content.

Lunch is leftover from last night: a few beets with about a quarter of a baked acorn squash mixed with rice, cheese, red sweet pepper, onion and garlic. While the beets and squash have medium GI the remaining vegetables are low GI. Beets and squash have good dietary fiber and all have good vitamin concentrations.

For an afternoon snack I had A mixture of whey protein and plain low fat yogurt to which I added nuts and raspberries. The latter is perhaps the best fiber among fruits and is also loaded with antioxidants. The late afternoon snack plate — also doubling as a happy hour dish — contained sweet raw red pepper slices, Bartlett pear slices, cucumbers, strawberries, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes all of which have low or medium GI with plenty of fiber and antioxidants in one or another of these.

For dinner a wild rice chicken soup contained a large number of vegetables (corn, swiss chard, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, sweet red peppers, broccoli, as well as chicken cut into small sections, again a combination of mostly low and medium GI vegetables.


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