Fun Facts About Fruits and Vegetables

fruits-and-vegetablesBell Peppers Are Fruits

Surprised? Scientists define fruit as the part of a plant that develops from a flower and has seeds. So that means bell peppers — along with squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins — are fruits. It’s up to you whether or not to include any of those items in your next fruit salad.

Bananas Are Berries

A true berry is a fruit that develops from a single flower and a single ovary. The ovary is the female part of a flower. That means grapes, kiwis, and even bananas are berries. Think about that the next time you peel into a banana.

It May Be Best to Steam Broccoli

If you’re trying to cut your cholesterol, steam your broccoli — that helps it lower your levels more. Raw broccoli has cancer-fighting compounds, though. In a part-by-part breakdown, the florets have a few more nutrients than the stalks. And the leaves, which most people throw out, have some nutrients not found in either the stem or the florets.

Avocados Are Fruits

Avocados have seeds, so that makes them fruits. They have a lot of fat, but it’s the good kind that lowers cholesterol. The creamy fruit also helps your body absorb nutrients in other produce, like tomatoes. So toss some diced tomatoes into your next batch of guacamole.

Potatoes Top Bananas in Potassium

We need potassium to help strengthen our muscles and control our blood pressure. Bananas are high in it, but they aren’t the best source. Why not try a spud instead? Potatoes have more potassium. They don’t have any fat and are a good source of vitamins and iron, too.

Tomatoes Are Fruits and Veggies

Tomatoes are fruits. But, according to law, they’re vegetables. Here’s the juicy backstory: In the 1800s, New York’s port taxed veggies, but not fruits. An importer wanting to cut costs went to court saying his tomatoes were fruits. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that, in “common language,” produce often served with meats or fish is a vegetable. So, the man had to pay tomato tax.

Figs Match Milk in Calcium

Trying to get more calcium? Instead of pouring another glass of milk, you could reach for the fruit bowl. Figs are high in calcium. A cup of dried ones has as much calcium as the same amount of milk. And unlike the cool drink, figs are also a great source of fiber. But don’t overdo it. They pack a lot of sugar and calories .

Blackberries Aren’t Really Berries

Don’t let their names fool you. In the plant world, blackberries, raspberries, and even strawberries aren’t berries at all, but clumps of tiny individual fruits that grew together. Even by other names, they’d still taste as sweet, though.

Kiwis Beat Oranges in Vitamin C

Ounce for ounce, kiwis pack the biggest nutritional punch of any fruit in your produce aisle. They have twice the vitamin C of an orange, and they’re another high-potassium, low-salt alternative to bananas. They’re packed with other vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy nutrients, too.

Apples Are Cousins of Roses

Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. As you take a bite of one, do you notice a sweet smell? Apples, pears, cherries, and plums are just some of the fruits that come from the same family tree as the rose. Try using dried apple slices to make a sweet-smelling potpourri.

Tiny Carrots Aren’t Really ‘Babies’

Those cute little bagged carrots in the grocery store aren’t baby veggies. They’re cut from full-grown varieties that are sweeter and thinner than traditional carrots. When they turn a bit white, they’re just drying out. But if they’re slimy, it’s time to throw them out. Aside from being convenient, they’re vitamin-rich like full-size varieties.

© 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Go High-Tech for Better Health

Put Tech to Work For Your Health

Doctor_with_smartphoneToday’s foodie apps take the guesswork out of cooking for your family or eating out on the town. You can check calories, plan a week’s worth of meals, or find healthy restaurants in your area.

To monitor your progress, get a high-tech bathroom scale. It can evaluate body fat, check your heart rate, and even link up with your phone.

Get Moving

Wearable fitness trackers monitor everything from calories burned to heart rate to signs you’ve been still too long. Sync yours with a phone or tablet to keep up with the info — and to set and meet health goals. 

Need some friendly competition? Look for a fitness app that lets you join groups and compete against other users.

Catch Better ZZZs

A restful night’s sleep is a click away. If your phone sits on your nightstand at bedtime, use it to cue up an app that will lull you to dreamland with low-frequency sounds. 

At some point, you’ll need to rise and shine. Many apps aim to wake you up during your lightest sleep phase — the best time to get up.

Quit Bad Habits

Need help to ditch a bad habit? Stop smoking with an app that helps you set realistic goals and stick to them. When you crave a smoke, use your fingers to tap the app instead of lighting up. Or sign up for daily text messages to start on the day you quit. A breathalyzer app syncs with your phone to help you know when you’ve had too much to drink.

Track Your Numbers

Check your blood pressure with a smart monitor that links to your phone or fits on your arm. You track your numbers on your mobile device.

With blood sugar tracking apps and web sites — just plug your numbers in after you check your levels.

Allergies or asthma?Check the pollen count or air quality before you leave the house.

Get Organized

Let an app help you organize your day. There are ones to break down tasks into manageable chunks, send you daily to-do list, or monitor how much time you spend on social media. 

Another app uses a process known as mind-mapping to turn your ideas into a workable, visual plan. Try one out and see if you can finally write that novel.

See the Doctor

Doctors’ offices are going high-tech. Many have offered online appointment setting and prescription refills for years, but now some doctors will email you, too. 

Concerned about a mole on your arm? Re-create the look of it with an app, monitor changes, and find out when to get it checked.

Chart Your Health History

Want another reason to create a family tree? Your family’s past can hold the key to your health future. Most apps that trace your background offer access to huge databases of historical info, from photos to death certificates to census reports to newspaper clippings. Or you can go to the U.S. Surgeon General’s web site, which offers a program to help you trace your family’s roots — and health.

Get Ready for Baby

Trying to get pregnant? There’s an app to track your ovulation cycles. 

Already expecting? Track your bundle of joy’s movements, see the baby’s sizeat any time, record your baby’s heartbeat, and even get a checklist for what to pack on delivery day. 

Power Up Your Parenting

Digital tools can be a big help when your raising kids. You can find information about common childhood ailments on your mobile device, or check your child’s vision via a tablet. Some apps turn your phone into a baby monitor — a great solution for travel. If potty training is a struggle for older tots, you can use an app to track and reward their efforts with kid-friendly graphics.

Prepare for an Emergency

Apps are available to record your medical and contact information in the event of an emergency — having this info on hand could save crucial time when you get to the ER. 

You can also find out how to give first aid or CPR, or learn ways to prepare for — or respond to — a manmade or weather disaster.

Hit the Road

Vacations are good for your health. You can plan yours with apps that let you book travel in the U.S. and abroad, manage your spending, and even send texts free of charge, all over the world.Others offer interactive maps to get you where you’re going. Want to pack light? Use an app to turn your smartphone camera into a pro photographer’s dream.

Take Back Your Life

With the whole world at our fingertips, it’s easy to lose track of real life. Try to disconnect for a while — even an hour — and see how you feel. You may be less stressed and sleep better if you cut back screen time, especially before bed. 

© 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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