The vegetable is important for health. So are fruits, complex carbohydrates and some protein. Food from the plant kingdom has always been important to humans with some exceptions where animal meat is the main food. Most research shows that a balanced diet is of utmost importance for health. Consuming food mainly made up of only one food group has been shown to be associated with various health problems. Research has shown that excessive fat consumption is linked with cancers of the breast. colon, prostate and rectum. A diet low in fibre is linked with colon cancer.

Antioxidants taken regularly is shown to reduce the incidence of cancers of the oesophagus and stomach. Food intolerances are linked to allergies, flatulence. rheumatoid arthritis. stomach ache. Eating food from a plant source without variety can also be hazardous to health. For instance, prolonged regular consumption of maize with link protein intake has been linked to pellagra, a chronic disease due to deficiency of nicotinic acid causing gastrointestinal disorders, skin Trion.% and nervous disorders. Similarly. any prolonged regular consumption of tapioca tubers as a staple food and tapioca leaves as a vegetable with little other food can cause anaemia. malnutrition, general weakness and poor growth. There are many types of diets or food formulas for health, healing or for lasing weight. Some types of diets for health and healing are given below. Diets for losing weight are not presented here.

One must exercise caution in dieting to lose weight to avoid minor or serious side-effects. Eating only one type of food or food group to lose weight has many potential health risks. It is important to supply all the nutrients needed by your body to avoid malnutrition. Not all types of diets are presented here. but those given below are selected because of their focus on the importance of vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates. Vegetables and other types of food from plants are very important for health and healing in these diets.

Vegetarian Diet 

food is sourced from the plant kingdom plus dairy products and eggs. Studies show that it can reduce the risk of colon cancer, diabetes, diverticular disease. gallbladder problems. heart diseases, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Vegan Diet

food is sourced from the plant kingdom. No food is sourced from the animal kingdom. even honey is not taken. This form of diet is taken to treat or reduce the risk of angina. asthma, high blood pressure. rheumatoid arthritis. but this diet may result in vitamin B,_ deficiency.


Available in green leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, soybean, soya products. tea, whole-grain cereals. It is part of several essential enzymes and triggers the activities of numerous others such as antioxidant and energy-producing processes. used for bone growth and cell function. Deficiency affects the above activities. Excess can be toxic.


Available in beans, green Ica& vegetables. legumes. wheat germ. whole-grain cereals. It is part of several enzymes involved in mechanisms for excreting uric acid, use of iron, DNA metabolism. Deficiency may reduce resistance to tooth decay.


Available in any protein. Vegetables rich in protein are mainly legumes. It is part of the body protein.


Available in all proteins added to many processed foods and carbonated beverages. Required for energy metabolism, maintenance and strength of bones and teeth, nutrient absorption. constituent of many-body substances and body control mechanisms. Deficiency causes bones to become weak and painful. Prolonged regular use of antacids can cause deficiency. Excess reduces magnesium intake by the body.


Available in fruits such as asparagus. avocados, bananas, cabbage. citrus, dried fruits. green leafy vegetables. legumes. potatoes, spinach, tomato. Required for regulating body fluids, circulation of ions in the bloodstream, regulating heartbeat, helps the body to excrete excess sodium, helps in muscle contraction, nerve function, nutrient transfer to cells, prevent and relieve raised blood pressure. Deficiency causes confused state. weakness. thirst and fatigue. Severe deficiency leads to mental confusion, high blood pressure. heart attack and stroke.


Available in avocados, brazil nuts, lentils, meat, seafood, seaweed, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, whole-grain cereals. An antioxidant in the body’s defence system. helps sexual development, improves male fertility, may help protect against cancer, strengthens the immune system. Deficiency leads to congestive heart disease, lower fertility and reduced antioxidant protection. Excess can be toxic to the body.


Available in lettuce. Essential for the development of healthy hair, prevention of nervous disorders. Deficiency results in unhealthy hair, nervous disorders. Excess can result in silica deposition.


Normally supplied by table salt used in cooking. salted vegetables, salted meat, salted fruits. Required in small amounts for regulating body fluid, helps in muscle and nerve functions. Deficiency leads to fluid retention, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, raised blood pressure, thirst. Excess sodium can be extremely harmful to health.


Available in any protein. Vegetables rich in protein are mainly legumes. Required for making protein. Deficiency reduces the body’s capacity to make protein. Excess can be toxic.


Available in beans, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whole-wheat bread, various animal sources. Required for the health of the immune system, male sexual maturation, normal growth, the action of various enzymes, tissue formation. It is an antioxidant. Deficiency leads to complications during pregnancy, dermatitis, impaired sense of smell and taste, loss of appetite, lower resistance to illness, poor growth, poor hair growth, poor memory and other mental activities, slow wound healing. Deficiency is more common among convalescents, heavy drinkers and old people. Excess can cause harm to the body.

Mood food

Food can affect mood. Many people need a cup of coffee, cocoa or tea at breakfast as a pick-me-up. Caffeine in these drinks is a stimulant. Excessive caffeine can increase the level of cholesterol, cause heart irregularities, linked to fibrocystic disease in women. Consuming food high in protein can bring about calmness due to the production of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and hostility. Food rich in starch or sugar will increase the level of sugar in the blood. Although too much sugar is not good for health, low levels of blood sugar can result in irritability, depression and mood swings. Some people react significantly according to the sugar level. They become physically and mentally active soon after sugar intake but become lethargic physically and mentally when the sugar level in their blood is low. There are various other substances in food, including vegetables, that affect mood.


Prebiotics refer to foods that encourage the friendly bacteria in the human alimentary

Vitamin K

Available in beans, carrots, green leafy vegetables, notably broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and peas. The body normally manufactures at least half of the required amount. Required for the formation of proteins responsible for blood clotting and other functions. Deficiency results in blood, not clotting causing prolonged bleeding.

Vitamin P (citrin)

Available in citrus fruits, bell pepper. Required for proper formation of capillary walls. Deficiency causes increased permeability of capillary walls, making it more susceptible to haemorrhage.


IN vegetable Vegetables are of value for health and healing due to the nutritional and medicinal constituents. The two groups are treated separately and the various categories are explained in terms of benefits as well as adverse effects as individual substances although in the vegetables all these compounds arcs found together and act together as a team, not as individuals. The total action of all the constituents is not the sum total of all the individual actions of each constituent. Individually, toxic components may be rendered non-toxic in combination with the others. Conversely, individually inert or weak compounds work together to jive greater efficacy. This is called a synergistic action. Even the groupings used below have cases of overlaps. Tannins are explained as a group but this word is also mentioned as one type of flavonoid. As far as possible. all groups of medicinal constituents are induced below, minus those already mentioned under nutritional constituents although some compounds are considered nutritional by some scientists and medicinal by others.


Alkaloids come from the word alkali. It was originally used to mean vegetable or plant alkali. An alkali is the opposite of an acid. Alkali is an inorganic substance while alkaloid is an organic substance. Alkaloids are complicated chemical structures containing nitrogen. Many alkaloids are toxic, some are narcotic, others are medicinals used for treating coughs, muscular spasms. pain. Opium contains many alkaloids and several are used in medicine, for example, codeine, morphine and papaverine. Caffeine is also an alkaloid, so is capsaicin, the substance that gives chillies the burning sensation. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, capsaicin stimulates circulation and digestion.

Allium compounds

Members of the onion family contain several sulphur compounds. When the plant is injured. such as during cutting or chewing, other compounds are produced and these are known to discourage blood clotting and increase cancer resistance in animal tests. Chives and leeks contain less of these compounds compared to garlic or onions. These compounds are linked to the smell of garlic and onion, so the stronger the smell of garlic or onion, the higher the presence of these compounds. Thus garlic and onion which are processed or cooked for a long time contain a reduced amount of these compounds.


Antinutrients are present in different amounts in nearly all plant foods. Antinutrients interfere with the enzymatic process of digestion and absorption. It is a mechanism for plants to protect against becoming extinct through being completely eaten out of existence. Antinutrients make the food less digestible and therefore less beneficial in terms of nutrient values. Animals fed with food rich in antinutrients such as glucosinolates. lectins or tannins do not grow at the same rate as animals fed with food without these antinutrients. Growth can be retarded and reproduction affected.

Cooking for a sufficient amount of time; seeds that are soaked for a number of hours to enable enzymatic actions that will denature these antinutrients: partial or complete fermentation; adding of other ingredients that will change these antinutrients: microbial action in the stomach and intestines, are various ways that change the food into digestible and absorbable nutrients. On the other hand, the glucosinolates. lectins and tannins have medicinal values that may be sought after.

Thus the application of a little wisdom is required even in the preparation of food. If the benefits of glucosinolates, lectins or tannins are sought after, meaning that the medicinal value takes higher preference over nutrition. the vegetables must not be too overpoliced and the preparation method kept simple. If the antinutrient effects are to be avoided, these vegetables must be cooked for a sufficient amount of time or prepared in such a way as to change much of these compounds into other more nutritious substances.

Low levels of antinutrients are beneficial for health but high levels pose potential risks on normal growth and bodily functions. Low levels of antinutrients have anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic potentials and other medicinal benefits presented under the headings of glucosinolates and tannins. Antinutrients can contribute towards weight control and to fight obesity but must be well planned to avoid side effects or serious consequences of malnutrition and malfunction of various organs.

Bitter principles

Bitter principles are organic compounds found in many plants that give the bitter taste, do not contain any nitrogen and are rarely poisonous. Although rarely poisonous, it is wrong to assume that all bitter-tasting plants are non-poisonous or to hold to the belief that the more bitter the taste of medicine the more potent it is. Extremely poisonous plants can also taste bitter. Bitter principles are used in herbal medicine to stimulate the appetite, encourage the flow of digestive juices, as a nerve conk, stomach tonic, restorative tonic for the elderly and weak.

Essential oils

are volatile oils that evaporate into the air at room temperature. Plants which contain essential oils are used in herbal medicine externally as well as internally. Essential oils are used to treat a wide range of problems. Much calm digestions, nervous system, some fight infections. The extracted or purified essential oils are much used in fertilisers. Plant waste from food-processing factories or oil extraction factories can also be used for making organic fertiliser. Any chemicals accumulated by the animals and plants used to make the organic fertiliser will be part of the organic fertiliser. Thus it is difficult to produce food that is completely free from chemicals or pollutants.


Processed food is not unique to the modern world. Even in ancient times people have processed and preserved food to stock up supplies for winter or other seasons when food production is low. In many cases, processed or preserved food has become a food of choice or delicacy rather than of need. In many developed countries, the consumption of processed food is way much higher than the consumption of unprocessed food while the reverse is true in many undeveloped or developing countries. Processed food may contain dyes, preservatives and stabilisers. Processed or preserved food may also contain much fat, flavour enhancer, oil, salt, sugar or sweeteners and vinegar. Long-term regular consumption of preserved or processed food can be linked to various ailments such as allergies, birth defects, cancer and decreased immune functions. Eating too much-pickled foods on a regular basis may also lead to CUICCT.






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