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The World Health Organisation recommends that we eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day because of the health benefits they provide. This is good news for people following a low GI diet as most fruit and vegetables have a low GI score.
Fruit and vegetables are a source of vitamins that act as powerful antioxidants, which have a protective effect on the immune system and can lower levels of cancers and heart disease. Eat them unpeeled and cook in chunks rather than mashing or pureeing them as the digestive process has to work harder and the GI level is lowered.
Many fruits such as cherries, grapes, grapefruit, mangoes, oranges, peaches and pears have a low GI as well as being low in calories. Incorporating these items in your diet will be a valuable addition to meals.
Potatoes, plantains and green bananas are not included as part of your five portions as they are considered starchy carbohydrate food. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and sprouts all contain little carbohydrate and so have a negligible GI.
Fruit and vegetables with low GI
Apples, bananas, cherries, dried apples, dried apricots, grapefruituit, grapes, kiwi fruit, mangoes, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, strawberries.
Baked beans, black eye beans, butter beans, chickpeas, haricot beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, small new potatoes boiled in skin, peas, soya beans, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn.
Fruit and vegetables with a medium GI
Dried figs, melon, pineapple, tinned apricots, tinned fruit cocktail, tinned peaches.
Beetroot, carrots, potatoes peeled and boiled.
Fruit and vegetables with a high GI
Dates, tinned lychees, watermelon.
Broad beans, jacket potatoes, mashed potato, parsnips, pumpkins, swede.
A portion of fruit or vegetables includes:
A slice of melon, pineapple or mango
Two small fruits such as plums
One tablespoon dates, sultanas or dried apricots
Three tablespoons tinned or stewed fruit
Bowl of salad
Small glass fruit juice
Medium sized apple, pear, banana or peach
Teacup of small fruits such as cherries or grapes
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