5 Of The Healthiest Fruits And Vegetables: What Makes Them So Important?

“We are what we eat”, or so the saying goes. Different foods help our bodies to grow, to heal, and to keep the immune system running properly. More than that, they stop our bodies from falling apart: the absence of many different nutrients can lead to various physical ailments. It’s really important to eat healthily, so let’s look at five of the best fruits and vegetables to include in your diet.

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Broccoli: Green vegetables are widely considered among the healthiest foods we can eat, and broccoli is definitely one of the most nutrient-rich green vegetables. It’s a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, vitamin B and fiber. In addition, it contains potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, protein and calcium.

Broccoli can assist in lowering cholesterol levels which improves cardiovascular health. It supports the body’s detoxification system, aids vitamin D uptake and may also reduce our susceptibility to certain allergies.

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Blueberries: Blueberries have a low glycemic index (GI) which means they have a low impact on our blood sugar levels., so you won’t get a sugar rush from eating blueberries. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is also believed to reduce the risk of developing type-II diabetes as well as coronary heart disease.

Blueberries are also a very rich source of antioxidants, which are thought to help reduce the risk of developing cancer. They are a good source of vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C too, placing them high on the nutrient-density scale.

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Spinach: Spinach is one of the best green vegetables for your health. It contains a huge quantity of nutrients, and offers several specific health benefits. Among the most concentrated nutrients are magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, protein and zinc.

Spinach may help reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, meaning it may help reduce our susceptibility to allergies. The vitamin K, magnesium and calcium content of spinach is good for maintaining healthy bones and there are also antioxidants in spinach that help remove harmful free radicals from the body.

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Peas: Green peas are another fantastic source of nutrients. They contain a huge range of nutrients in high quantities, including manganese, fiber, vitamin K and C, phosphorus, protein, copper, iron and zinc.

Peas can help to regulate blood sugar levels thanks to their fiber and protein content. Fiber and protein slow down the pace of digestion, which also means that carbohydrates are digested more slowly too. Peas are also known to reduce the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and to help protect against stomach cancer.

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Apples: Apples are a fantastic source of fiber which helps promote a healthy digestive system. This also aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of vitamin C. Although apples aren’t as nutrient-rich as some other fruits and vegetables, they are thought to have both anti-cancer and anti-asthma properties. In addition, they’re good for cardiovascular health.

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Wildflowers Along Shut-In Trail

We took a nice hike on a portion of the Shut-In Trail today and came across several pretty wildflowers.

Sections of the trail can be quite steep, so stopping to admire the flowers, offered a welcome break.

Later this afternoon, we checked our Wildflowers of the Carolinas Field Guide by Nora and Rick Bowers and Stan Tekiela to learn about the flowers we saw today.

Spring Beauty/Claytonia Virginica Perennial; native 

Often grows in large patches, reproducing from small underground tubers. The potato-like tubers were once gathered for food. (P. 75)

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Field Pansy/Viola bicolor      Annual; native

Also known as Johnny-jump-up, Field Pansys are more heat resistant than the common garden pansy. Also, these are host plants for the fritillary butterfly caterpillars. (P. 141)

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Bloodroot/Sanguinaria canadensis Perennial; native.

These flowers lack nectar, quickly dropping petals after pollination and leaving a pointed pod-like capsule. The orangish red sap in the stems and roots was used by many cultures as a dye and an insect repellent. An extract from the sap in the roots is currently used in toothpaste for its plaque-fighting properties. (P. 251)

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And last but not least…        Common Dandelion/Taraxacum officinale Perennial; non-native.

Originally brought from Eurasia as a food crop. Its leaves are bitter, but offer high vitamin and mineral content. The long taproot has been roasted and ground to use as a coffee substitute. (P. 369)

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Homemade Frappe

It’s been a work in progress, but here’s Bart’s best recipe as of yet. I don’t have the nutritional breakdown because if you’ve gotta ask, then don’t drink it.

12oz cold brewed coffee
3 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 Tbsp Tirana Dark Chocolate Sauce
2 ice cubes

Put it all in your single serving blender, and give it a whirl.

You can have one for yourself or share it with your best friend. Either way, put it in your favorite mug and sit back and be fancy.

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Christmas Eve Wine And Cheese Party

I’ve wanted to host a wine and cheese party for several years now. I don’t know very much about wine, and I don’t know very much about cheese. I just know I like them both, and hosting a party sounded fancy to me. So last week when we learned that 3 of our friends, who have all lost their spouses recently, had no where to go Christmas Eve, we decided it was time for our first annual Christmas Eve Wine & Cheese Party.

We were very limited on time, so we didn’t do much planning. I read a few party planning ideas on Pinterest and thought we’d just give it a whirl with some red wine, white wine, a variety of cheese, crackers, bread, fruit, nuts and olives.

In an attempt for our party to not seem like the “dead spouse club”, we told our friends they were welcome to bring a friend along too.

Bart and I had fun setting the table and preparing the cheese. Our guest arrived at 4pm, and the party was a huge success with our friends giving us a score of 9 out of 10 possible points for our first party.  I believed we would have scored a 10, but we caught Shadow giving a quick lick to Wanda’s plate 😋 I’m pretty sure that was a point reduction right there.

We can’t wait to do this again next year! This summer I think I would like to have a Dinner & Movie party.

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