It is undeniable that we are all passionate about delicious food and that each of us wages a battle with a certain sweet indulgence. However, how much do we really know about the things we eat?
Here are twelve interesting facts about nutrition, some of which will delight you and some that are sure to leave you in awe.
Fact 1: Most people love the sweet taste and texture of berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries… However, none of these are actually berries! The listed fruits, commonly referred to as berries, are aggregate fruits meaning they are the result of a single flower with more than one ovary. Berries, according to botanists, stem from one flower with one ovary and numerous seeds. If that wasn’t confusing enough, try to get your head around this: Bananas are berries!
Fact 2: It is often said that ginger can reduce exercise-induced muscle pain. However a study conducted in 2010 showed that a 2 gram dose of ginger can’t decrease pain, inflammation or dysfunction straight after ingestion. It may on the other hand reduce the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.
Fact 3: People often replace chocolate and sweets with dried fruit owing to the belief that fruit, in whatever form, is a healthy snack option. However, the drying of fruit causes a great loss in nutrients. Even doing it yourself on your sunny porch depletes fruit of its nutrients. For example, a fresh mango when dried has a 94% loss of beta-carotene and 84% loss of vitamin C. Other fruits lose 30-80 % of their vitamins depending on the technology of the solar dryers used to commercially produce dried fruit.
Fact 4: There are 7.3 million vegetarians in America and 1 million vegans! Furthermore, American women are more inclined to vegetarianism than men. A total of 59% of vegetarians are female.
Fact 5: People prefer to buy free range, cage-free eggs, because most just don’t like the idea of eating eggs from a chicken forced to live in a hostile environment. The fact is that free range eggs are actually the healthier kind with one third less cholesterol, twice as much omega-3 acids, 3 times more vitamin E, seven times more pro-vitamin A beta-carotene and a quarter less saturated fats than their caged counterparts.
Fact 6: Warning to soda drink junkies, this information may be disturbing. Researches from Hollins University confirmed that 48% of the soda from fountain machines in restaurants contains fecal bacteria and 11% contain E. coli! Although we are all aware of that soda drinks aren’t doing much for our health or our figure, most people wouldn’t have predicted the presence of these pollutants in bubbly beverages.
Fact 7: Did you know that the meat you had for dinner might be full of antibiotics! Decades ago meat producers discovered that antibiotics aid animal weight gain. Since the meat industry has a motto kilos=money, meat producers have stocked their animals with medication for years. In the US, due to consumer pressure and tighter regulations, producers are now offering antibiotic-free meat, but the problem of over medicated livestock is still flourishing in the middle-income countries.
Fact 8: Gluten-free foods are, on average, 242% more expensive that regular food products! Given that 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that flares up with the absorption of gluten (protein composite found in wheat and other grains), the price of a gluten-free diet is quite alarming.
Fact 9: People who drink 1 to 2 cans of soda drinks per day have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who do not consume these fizzy, sugar loaded beverages.
Fact 10: Although garlic gives unpleasant breath that even the most powerful mouthwash can’t subdue, people have known the healing powers of this plant for thousands of years. Apart from helping with the common cold, garlic consumption may actually reduce the risk of developing various forms of cancer, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract.
Fact 11: The best antioxidant rich foods are: broccoli, garlic, berries, green tea, tomatoes, pecans and walnuts. Scientific studies have confirmed that a handful of walnuts contains almost twice as many antioxidants of any other commonly consumed nuts.
Fact 12: Food packaging is often labeled with the words “Supports your immunity”; however, this claim is often made on products that only contain a vitamin or two. This is why you should always read the fine print.