I am one of those lucky lucky people that bloody love fruit and veg! In fact I don't think there is a fruit or vegetable that I wont eat - yes even cucumber seems to be growing on me!
Unfortunately I suffer with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome which means that certain fruit and vegetables give me tummy ache. I manage my IBS with a low FODMAP diet - I plan to write a blog on this in the future but for now just know that FODMAPs are types of carbohydrate that can irritate the bowel giving a whole variety of symptoms that aren't favourable. So my top 10 fruit and veg are all low FODMAP (some in certain quantities) which means i can still enjoy my 7-10 portions of F and V a day without any consequences!
So grab a cuppa sit back and learn about my favourites!
1. Satsumas - My absolute favourite and go to on the go fruit! I tend to have at least one rolling around in a bag on my person at any one time! Did you know that a single satsuma can provide over half your daily quota of vitamin C? They are also high in fibre for gut health, folate for heart health and calcium for healthy bones!
2. Strawberries - An absolute childhood favourite. My grandparents owned a strawberry farm in Knutsford and I remember going out in the hiccup (my granddad's pick-up) with Bella the dog to pick my own strawbs! Not only do these guys also contain Vitamin C and folate, but they are also high in anti-oxidants. Oxidative stress has been linked to cancer and the production of abnormal cells. So stock up on those strawberries for their anti-oxidant properties!
3. Blueberries - Also packed full of anti-oxidants, blueberries are a lovely addition to lots of breakfast foods - over-night oats, porridge, smoothies, pancakes - the list is endless! They are also great as a snack with almonds or brazil nuts. Low in calories but high in vitamins they are the king of anti-oxidant fruits. They can help with muscle soreness after training and also urinary tract infections!
4. Banana - Oh the banana! Definitely a top 5 fruit! Best to be eaten underripe if you are sticking to a low FODMAP diet, the banana is a staple of my diet appearing in smoothies, healthy pancakes, my famous chocolate slop (I will post the recipe on my Facebook), but also as a snack in its own right! Bananas are high in potassium. Potassium has been shown to help reduced blood pressure as well as other benefits for heart health.
5. Kiwi - Another regular visitor to my fruit bowl! Bursting with vitamin C these are a great way to help to boost the immune system!
6. Spinach - I could give Popeye a run for his money with the amount of spinach I eat! I whack it in smoothies, use it as a salad base and eat it instead of pasta with Bolognese sauce. Along with the anti-oxidants and nitrates preventing oxidative stress and high blood pressure, spinach also contains high amounts of zeaxanthin and lutein which are important for eye health. NB: for those on blood thinning medication go easy on the spinach as it has blood clotting properties if eaten in high quantities.
6. Carrots - The perfect snack! I love a carrot on car journey! Eaten raw, skin on they are a perfect, easy to eat on the go food. They are high in vitamin A which is important for growth, development, immune function and vision - maybe there is some truth in them helping you see better in the dark!
7. Cherry Tomatoes - nom nom nom! I blinking love a tomato! Again super easy to take with you as a snack, but also great in salads, tray bakes or blended into soups. One cherry tomato contains about only 3 calories! They are great source of Vitamins, C K and A and they are helpful for heart health, skin health and cancer prevention.
8. Peppers - red yellow or orange! perfect for salads, chucking in tray bakes or even eating raw on their own! The average pepper is bursting with vitamin C containing 169% of our recommended daily intake. They are also full of folate - especially important for pregnant women - and Vitamin E - essential for nerve health!
9. Potato - YES! The bog standard white potato that so many people now shirk away from! These little beauties are not as bad for us as can be made out. They are a heathy source of carbohydrate, contain a reasonable amount of fibre in their skins (so ditch the peeler) but also have high levels of resistant starch which is great for your gut bacteria and therefore digestion. Resistant starch has also been linked to improved blood sugar level control!
10. Pineapple - last but by no means least! Pineapples are rich with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. The average portion will give you a surplus of Vitamin C helping to boost your immune system, as well as high level of manganese which is important for keeping a healthy metabolism and also has antioxidant properties.
So there you have it! My favourite fruit and veg! I find that knowing a little it about each one and what its doing for my body makes eating them even more fun so why don't you look up your favourites and see how your F&V really are keeping the doctor away!