Our children are currently participating in the Food Dudes programme in their school (funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food and managed by Bord Bia), which is giving all the kids the opportunity to try lots of fruit and veg they might be unwilling to try at home.
The idea is that if they try eating certain fruit and veg a few times over the 16 school day period they win prizes. So far they’ve brought home pencils and sharpeners, juggling balls, pencil cases and notebooks. More importantly we now have kids who are enthusiastic and inquisitive about what they eat and why they eat it.
So along with this programme came the questions….. “What vitamin is good for your eye sight mum?” or “what are oranges good for?” Some of the questions were easier to answer than others - some I knew straight away and others I had to look up.
So as much to keep a record for myself as to share the info with others, here are the answers. No wonder it’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. It's a wonder most of us are walking on this planet at all. First off, a few Interesting facts:
Asparagus – a single portion can provide twice the body's daily requirements.
Broccoli and Kale provide half the body's daily requirements.
Brussels sprouts contain more vitamin C than any other veg.
Onions contain powerful antibacterial, antioxidant and antiseptic properties.
Four strawberries a day can provide more vitamin C than an orange.
Watercress is one of the healthiest natural super foods available.
The body can only absorb 5% to 20% of iron it needs from vegetable sources.
What it’s good for
Asparagus, Aubergine, Broad Bean, French Beans, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Calabrese, Carrots, Courgette, Kohl Rabi, Leek, Melon, Okra, Parsley, Peas, Red Chilli’s, Pumpkin, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sweet corn, Swede, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Red & Yellow Peppers, Turnip, Watercress, Apricots, Peaches, Mangoes, Passion Fruit, Papayas, Plums & Watermelons.
For growth, healthy skin and hair, good vision and healthy tooth enamel.
(Beta-carotene, found in orange, yellow and green veg & fruit is converted into vitamin A in the body.)
B6 Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, B1 & B6 Cauliflower, B1 Peas, B1 Pumpkin, B1 Winter Squash, Sweet corn, Swede, B1 & B6 Watercress, Potatoes, Bananas, Dried Fruits
A family of vitamins needed to make energy, the nervous system and red blood cells.
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Broad Bean, Runner Beans, Broccoli, Kale
Brussels Sprouts, Savoy Cabbage, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Courgette, Fennel, Kiwi, Kohl Rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Melon, Parsley, Parsnip, Peas, Red Chilli’s, Rosehips, Pumpkin, Radish, Raspberries, Rhubarb stalks, Spinach, Summer Spring Greens, Squash, Sweet corn, Strawberries, Swede, Swiss Chard, Tomato, Turnip
Needed for growth and healthy body tissue. Important in the healing of wounds. Helps the body absorb iron.
Made by Sunlight
Important for healthy bones and teeth. Essential for absorption of calcium & phosphorous.
Avocados, Asparagus, Blackberries, Courgette, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Winter Squash, Watercress
Needed to help develop and maintain strong cells, especially in the blood. Shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
French Beans, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Parsley, Swiss Chard
Important for proper clotting of the blood and maintaining strong bones.
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, French Beans, Runner Beans, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Courgette, Kohl Rabi , Leek, Lettuce, Parsley, Peas, Strawberries, Turnip
Needed to create healthy blood cells and to help the body absorb iron.
Artichoke, Watercress, spinach, curly kale, broccoli, okra, apricots, dried figs
Helps maintain strong teeth and bones
Artichoke, Runner Beans, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Kohl Rabi, Parsley, Turnip, Watercress
Needed for healthy blood and muscles.
Summer Squash, okra, peas, sweet corn, courgettes, parsnips, apricots, raisins, bananas
Essential for normal muscle and nerve function, and the release of energy in the body, building strong bones, teeth and muscles, regulating body temperature.
Beetroot, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Kohl Rabi, Summer Squash, Turnip
Important trace element for enzyme activity in the body and for normal bone formation.
Artichoke, Aubergine, Celery, Celeriac, Cucumber, Leek, Melon, Parsnip, Mangetout, Radish
Works with sodium to regulate the body’s water balance, heart rhythm, nerve impulses and muscle function.
Found in many fruit & veg but content depends on whether the soil they’re grown in is deficient.
Needed in tiny but regular amounts for maintaining a healthy liver.
Watercress, fresh peas, spinach, asparagus, dried apricots, figs, raisins, pulses.
Important trace element that helps maintain a healthy immune system. Essential for helping wounds heal, reproduction and normal development.
In all fruit & vegetables.
Prevents constipation and feeds friendly gut bacteria. Soluble fibres can help lower cholesterol.
Broad Bean, Sweet corn, Protein
Parsnip, Potato, yams