Food Hygiene and Benefits
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Food Hygiene and Benefits
Advice on storing, washing and preparing fruit and vegetables to prevent food poisoning, including E. coli. It is important to wash all fruit and vegetables before you eat them to ensure they are clean and safe to eat.
Most people are aware of the importance of handling meat safely, but many consider the risk of food poisoning from vegetables to be low. Foods should be prepared and handled in such a way that they prevent food-borne illness. One should also take care to use appropriate cooking methods to minimize the loss of fiber & micronutrients.
Handling Fruits and Vegetables
Following are some points which should be inculcated in day-to-day life.
"To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him" - Buddha
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them" - Dalai Lama
Safety and hygiene - fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important and necessary part of a healthy and nutritious diet. They provide many vitamins and minerals to help keep your body healthy. Almost any type of food can present a risk if it becomes contaminated or is not handled correctly.
Fresh fruit and vegetables have sometimes been responsible for a food poisoning outbreaks. Cases of fruit and vegetables overseas have become contaminated during growth and handling with potentially dangerous E. coli and Salmonella, while fresh cut produce can become contaminated during the processing.
Shopping tips for fruits and vegetables
When shopping for fresh produce, avoid items that are bruised, damaged, mouldy and slimy or show signs of damage from insects. Bruises and cuts may allow bacteria to enter and may also cause faster spoiling.
If good quality fruit and vegetables are not available, it may be better to select canned or frozen stock.
When buying pre-cut fresh fruit and vegetables, avoid damaged items and open or torn packages.
Make sure pre-cut items are properly refrigerated or surrounded by ice when displayed.
Don't eat food past a use-by date
Always keep fruit and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Blood and juice from raw foods could contaminate fruit and vegetables with bacteria.
Storage for fruits and vegetables
Fresh produce should be put in the fridge as soon as possible after peeling or cutting. Don't eat cut produce if it's been left out of the fridge for 2 hours or more.
Prevent fruit and vegetables from coming into contact with raw meat, poultry & seafood. Store fruit and vegetables in the crisper or on a shelf above these foods so there is no risk of blood and juice dripping onto fresh produce.
Most fruit & vegetables do not require refrigeration like bananas, garlic, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, swedes & sweet potatoes.
These vegetables and fruit can be kept at room temperature until ripe and provided the skin is not broken, and then should be refrigerated like apricots, avocados, kiwifruit, mangoes, melons, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums & tomatoes.
Beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables
People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Daily regular consumption of fruits leads to lower risk of high blood pressure, stroke (paralysis), coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes & other chronic diseases. It also enhances the body's immune system, prevents acute diseases and delays aging. It lowers blood pressure in persons already having high blood pressure. The beneficial effects of fruits & vegetables are due to a unique combination and presence of Flavonoids and other pigments from fruits and vegetables.
There are thousands of known plant pigments, including flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins. Flavonoids are phenolic compounds which occur in all fruits and vegetables. Apples, apricots, blueberries, pears, raspberries, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, and tomatoes, Cherries, red grapes, green beans, red and yellow onions, broccoli and tea are major sources. Flavonoids have known antioxidant activities. Anthocyanins are found in berries, pomegranate and cherries, they may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by inhibiting cholesterol formation.
Some health benefits of fruits and vegetables
It is recommended that all age groups should consume a minimum of 200-300 grams of fruits daily (along with a minimum of 250 grams or more of vegetables). The more the better. If the intake of vegetables is low then there should be a compensatory stepping up of fruit intake in one’s daily life. Preferably include a variety of fruits which are seasonal, cheap & easily available. Locally available seasonal cheap berries are also very beneficial.
"Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship" - Buddha