Fruits and Vegetables: Good vs. Bad

Growing up we were always told to eat our fruits and vegetables if we wanted to keep healthy – and while that still rings true today, there are some fruits and veggies that are considered less nutritious than others. Below you will find a list of some of the fruits and vegetables you should avoid, as well as healthier alternatives that Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends.

Vegetables…

Potato
While potato is considered a vegetable, it’s also a starch and doesn’t really pack the nutritional punch our bodies require. While research has suggested that consuming potatoes may be good for individuals looking to decrease their blood pressure, they’ve also been linked to weight gain, which is why potatoes are something you’ll want to avoid as much as possible if you’re looking to lose weight or are following a low-carb diet. Two great alternatives to regular potatoes include sweet potato or mashed cauliflower.

Corn
Corn (particularly corn on the cob) is a staple food during spring and summer months. Due to it also being in so many processed foods, however, it’s gotten a bit of a bad reputation. Corn can also be high in calories. A small to medium sized ear of boiled corn on the cob is anywhere from 88 to 99 calories; if you’re eating creamed corn (from a can, for example), that can be as high as 184 calories per cup. So if you’re going to include corn in your diet, make sure it’s in moderation and that you watch your portion sizes. It’s also a good idea to make sure you include other foods with your meal, such as high-fibre produce as well as lean proteins.

Bell Peppers
While the research is sparse, some argue that bell peppers (such as red and green peppers) are bad for your health as they may cause inflammation and joint problems. These arguments are made due to the many chemicals that can be found in these types of vegetables, such as alkaloid solanine, which can cause problems with nerve function. If you suffer from rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, it’s generally recommended that you try to avoid bell peppers and their related counterparts (such as tomatoes and eggplant.) If you’re looking for healthy foods that also work as natural anti-inflammatories, try leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale, garlic, and even pineapple.

Fruits…

Figs
Figs are filled with fibre and are great for lowering blood pressure – and they can be eaten raw, right off a fig tree. However, they’re also packed with sugar. Just one cup (100 grams) of figs contain as much as 20 grams of sugar, so if you’re looking for a sweet but healthy fruit to eat, figs are generally something you should avoid.

Bananas
Rather than eating a large meal before working out, bananas are a great substitute as they can give you an extra boost of energy. They’re also filled with potassium, which helps prevent high blood pressure as well as heart and kidney problems from occurring. However, they’re also high in sugar. Just one banana can contain as much as 15 to 19 grams of sugar, so if you are going to eat bananas then be mindful about them.

Mangos
Mangos are a delicious treat and are commonly eaten alone as well as made into smoothies. They’re not only packed with soluble fibre, but they also contain vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. However, mangos also quite high in sugar. Just one mango can contain as much as 31 grams of sugar, so if you are going to eat a mango then it might be a good idea to either share it with someone else, or not eat it all in one sitting. If the sweetness is something you’re after, try blueberries instead. They have great flavour and are also rich in antioxidants.

You can find more information on fruits and vegetables via Health Canada.