Health - Diet & Nutrition
By: - at June 19, 2013

15 Weird & Interesting Facts About Vegetables

Vegetables are something that you're told you have to eat. They're good for you. They're full of vitamins. But for most kids and many adults, the thought of eating vegetables ranks at about the same place as taking out the garbage. In fact, a lot of times, the veggies just wind up in the garbage. But it's not the fault of vegetables that they don't taste as good as chocolate or hamburgers. And the fact is that they're actually quite fascinating.

Lots of Vegetables

15)  Secret Nutritional Value of Vegetables
Washing VegetablesOrganic magazines and publications often advise that you peel off the outer layers of vegetables to ensure that you get rid of any harmful contaminants. Unless, of course, you purchase organic. While there are still some risks with consuming organic vegetables and what could be on their skins, the fact is that peeling away the skins reduces some of the most potent nutrient compounds your body needs. According to Food Network and "The Best Things about Vegetables," skins contain the highest concentration of the vital nutrients. This may not sound so good to you since the skins are usually the most bitter part. Compare the skin of a cucumber with the cool fresh inside. Additionally, the skins contain the highest concentrations of fiber, something that most American diets lack.

Fortunately, one of the ways that you can make sure your vegetables are clean while at the same time reducing the bitter taste is to bathe the vegetables before cooking or eating. You can purchase vegetable cleansers, but you can also make your own solution. To do this, you will need 1 cup of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of lemon. You should mix these together thoroughly and pour into a spray bottle. Then spray this over your vegetables and let it sit on them for five minutes. Rinse thoroughly in cool water. You'll see an instant difference in the appearance of your vegetables. They'll also be clean enough to eat raw, peel and all.

14)  Nightshades Are Poisonous
For quite some time, most people refused to eat tomatoes. They were considered to be deadly poisonous, and, with some kinds of tomatoes the flowers are. To this day, tomatoes are still one of the most well known associated members of the nightshade family. This includes a number of popular vegetables such as potatoes, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and others. However, according to Best Health Magazine, this reputation was soon found to be generally undeserved. Most historians believe that the point at which people started eating nightshades was when famine struck in various parts of the world. The nightshade plants are relatively hardy as compared to others like the squash and beans. They then realized that they were not so deadly as they had supposed. From that point on, these vegetables have been staples in numerous countries.

Nightshade Vegetables:
Nightshade Vegetables

However, modern science has revealed that the nightshade family, though not entirely deadly, is still somewhat toxic. When people have allergic reactions to the nightshades, it's generally quite severe and affects the nervous system. "Facts About Vegetables" describes it as being high in oxalic acid. This in turn can cause inflammation in individuals who are allergic, but most people have developed a fairly strong immunity.

13)  Vegetables Contain Protein
Most of the time, vegetarians face a lot of criticism about the fact that their lifestyle will not allow them to consume sufficient amounts of protein. Particularly if they abstain from nuts, eggs, and dairy products in the strictest vegan form. However, according to "Modern Vegetarian" research has demonstrated that key plants do in fact have certain levels of protein. Broccoli and spinach, for instance, have some of the highest levels. The catch to this, though, is that you would have to eat approximately 10 servings of spinach to actually get the protein of one chicken breast. But it's an alternative. Additionally, according to "Facts About Vegetables," it doesn't matter whether you eat the vegetables fresh or frozen. They contain the same nutritional values. The nutritional value only starts to deplete once it is cooked. Protein, however, is the first nutritional value to be lost. Vitamin C, on the other hand, remains in the vegetables the longest.

Broccoli and spinach

12)  Spinach Does Not Have That Much Iron
Popeye and SpinachSpinach and strength have gone hand in hand since Popeye the Sailorman. However, the Popeye the Sailorman source of strength was actually the result of a mathematical error. According to "Super Myths" and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, spinach has no more iron content than any other green vegetable. In fact, it is filled with oxalic acid. Oxalic acid prevents the body from absorbing more than 90 percent of the iron, making it more likely that Bluto would be trying to shove it down Popeye's throat. This particular myth got started when Dr. E. von Wolf developed one of the first papers detailing the importance of spinach.

According to "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader," this research was taken as entirely ironclad and remained unchallenged until someone happened to realize that the decimal point had been misplaced. Spinach's actual iron supply was a mere 1/10 of the original claims. "Super Myths" gives another possible reason for the claim. The early tests on spinach involved testing it in laboratories that had not yet realized the risks of cross contamination. The utensils and charcoal used in the laboratory for the experiments resulted in significant contamination levels of iron, messing up the results. This does not explain the decimal error, but it does explain how scientists other than Dr. von Wolf came to his conclusion. This doesn't mean that spinach is worthless. It is filled with vitamins E, A, and other antioxidants as well as plenty of beta carotene. Just don't plan on eating a bunch to get your necessary iron levels up.

11)  You Really Could Starve To Death Eating Celery
Celery DietAs amazing as it sounds, you actually could starve to death eating celery. And it's not only celery. According to "Negative Calorie Food," certain foods burn more calories than your body can consume. If they are all that you are eating, then your body may attempt to compensate by lowering your metabolism. This could make foods like apples, cucumbers, berries, and the like provide sufficient nutritional density for you to survive. But when the food has zero calories like celery and certain kinds of mushrooms, then there is no way for your body to obtain the nutrients it needs.

For dieters, the concept of all you can eat foods is a welcome one, until they realize that the all you can eat foods are foods like celery. If you should find yourself on a desert island, though, and the only thing that is available is celery, remember that it won't sustain you long. Celery is filled with fiber. According to "Green World," a pamphlet regarding the healthfulness of green vegetables, it's also high in water and can help to reduce cravings. It gives your body something to make it think that it's getting nutrition when in fact it will actually burn more calories to process it.

10)  Fruitarians Are Not Healthy
FruitarianMost everybody talks about the amazing health benefits of fruits and vegetables. The government even insists that it's important to eat five or more helpings of fruits and vegetables every day. However, research conducted by the University of California as well as studies published in the Journal of Nutrition have indicated that living as a fruitarian is not a healthy lifestyle choice, particularly if you are strict in your adherence. While many fruitarians allow for more variety in their diets, the majority focus exclusively on fruits. Any kind of fruit is fair game. Even the Times of India ran an article detailing their surprise over the health discoveries. Individuals who follow this diet are more prone to diabetes, low blood pressure, pancreatitis, brittle hair, brittle nails, irritability, and sallow skin.

This research demonstrates that the real powerhouse in the fruit and vegetable world were vegetables. While even vegetarians can run into health problems with strict adherence, their struggles were not nearly so high as those of fruitarians. The primary problem appears to be the high sugar content. While root vegetables are higher in sugar, vegetables as a whole are lower in sugar and higher in fiber than most fruits.

9)  Peppers Have Their Own Heat Scale
Really Hot PepperEverybody knows that peppers are hot, but did you know that peppers have their own heat scale? According to "Amazing Peppers," peppers are measured in scoville units. The bottom of the range begins at zero. This is a standard bell pepper. It maxes out at 1,000,000 scoville units. The only ranking pepper that meets this is the bhut jolokia pepper from India. It is so strong that the Indian militia has started putting it in grenades to immobilize crowds and fight terrorists. The heat ratio itself is determined based on the level at which the heat can be tasted. A zero means that you cannot experience the heat. 1,000,000 obviously means that you probably won't be able to stand the heat.

The chemicals that cause this heat are generally known as capsaicin. Dr. Wilbur Scoville named the measuring method after himself after his extensive experiments in 1912. He determined the initial basis by testing all the peppers he could find on his five taste testers. They were not fond of some of the higher results, according to "Strange Facts."

8)  Vegetables Were the First Tampons
Puzzled WomenThe tampon wasn't invented until the 1930s. Up until that time, women just had to make do with whatever they had. According to "The History of the Tampon," most cultures did not permit women to reveal that they were menstruating. In some cultures, they were considered unclean. In others, they were banished. The original method of using rags wrapped around the waist like a giant diaper was not discrete enough. So women apparently developed another solution. They invented the precursor to the tampon. According to Wakkipedia: Weird Facts, the first tampons were made from dried vegetable fibers, papyrus, and cotton. The ancient Egyptians receive credit for this particular invention. The women would then insert it to absorb the bleeding. It helped prevent leaks and kept the appearance minimal. Removing all of the fibers was the tricky part, though. Sometimes they would stick inside and have to be removed with assistance or else they would become infected.

7)  Five Fruits and Vegetables a Day Is a Myth
5 Vegetables a day!The Daily Mall released a shocking story documenting the results of several studies that revealed startling results. Medical science has stated that individuals who eat at least five helpings of fruits and vegetables everyday will have significantly less chances of dying from heart attacks. However, this latest study decided to check back up on more than 300,000 people who participated in these early studies. Most of them had died. Shockingly, the differences between the two groups were not as apparent as the researchers had hoped. In fact, the death rates and types of deaths between the two groups was a difference of half a percent. Almost as many people who ate fruits and vegetables regularly died from heart attacks and cancers as the group that did not. In the interview with the Guardian, the researchers stated that they did not have sufficient data to tell whether there were any other extenuating circumstances that could explain the results.

This discovery has caused researchers to reevaluate their claims. The general theory at this point, according to Prevention, is that fruits and vegetables alone are not enough to prevent people from dying from such diseases. It is necessary to combine it with a healthful lifestyle and plenty of activity. Otherwise, the results will still catch up with you in the end.

6)  Carrots Actually Do Help Improve Vision
Carrots are good for the eyesThe old myth that carrots help you see better actually isn't a full myth after all. Researchers at the University of Melbourne's Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences performed several studies regarding this phenomenon. They were pleased to inform the public that the myth is at least partially true. Carrots can help you see better, particularly at night. However, the catch in the study was that carrots do not help everyone see better.

"Vegetable Myths" describes this phenomenon in detail. The reason that carrots help some people see better at night is because they provide high levels of retinoids and carotenoids. These are also found in Vitamin A. Carrots provide one of the best sources in terms of the body translating it into these necessary components. Deficient levels of both retinoids and carotenoids can result in poor sight as well as night blindness. Reduced vision overall can come about because of insufficient levels of Vitamin A. For those individuals, eating carrots as well as sweet potatoes and pumpkin can help to counteract the effect by replenishing the body's store of Vitamin A. For individuals who are losing their sight due to some other reason or because they are simply aging, the carrots will not be nearly as beneficial. In fact, according to these studies, no improvement was observed at all.

The interesting part to this is where the rumor that carrots promote good eyesight comes from. It actually hasn't been around that long, according to Back in WWII, Flight Lieutenant John Cunningham had a remarkable ability for seeing things even in the dark. His friends nicknamed him Cat Eyes. Now the fact was that at this time England had developed some additional technologies to help shoot down the bombers. They didn't want the Germans to realize that technology was responsible. So they started running stories in the newspapers regarding the wonders of John Cunningham. Since he was already fairly well known, the story seemed plausible. And the stories further claimed that all of the Royal Air Force pilots were to be fed carrots to create similar strengths. This propaganda piece was far more successful than anyone anticipated. It spread around the world. Everyone started eating more carrots, believing that it would help them to see better at night.

5)  Brussels Sprouts Can Kill You
Bowl of Brussels SproutsBrussels sprouts are probably one of the most hated vegetables in the world. That's their nickname according to Food Network. The problem is that they're a hardy winter vegetable that will grow throughout fall all the way into the late winter. They can be incorporated into a number of dishes, and they have some of the densest concentrations of Vitamins A, E, K, and other vital antioxidants. But all this isn't enough to make some people love them. If you're one of them, though, now you have a reason to hate them: Brussels sprouts can kill you.

According to Medical Mysteries, a Scottish man was brought into the hospital in violent pain. They could not figure out what was going on with him. He seemed to be seizing and was in severe distress and pain. They checked his vital signs. They looked at everything. They realized that he was on anticoagulant medication. If something was interfering with that, then it was possible that this could have caused the effects. However, it wasn't until later when things were getting desperate that they decided to ask what he had for dinner. Sure enough, the unfortunate Scotsman had been eating Brussels sprouts everyday that year. The Brussels sprouts had started conflicting with his medication because they promoted blood clotting, and this led to the traumatic effect. If he had not gotten to the hospital, he would have died because of Brussels sprouts. Food Republic goes on to detail additional accounts with its details of the same story and accounts of others who have overdosed on this vegetable. Stomach ache and nausea are the first signs of an overdose. But if you only eat them once a year, then you probably aren't at risk.

4)  Your Dislike of Brussels Sprouts May Actually Be Genetic
Kid eating Brussels SproutsNot that you need another reason to avoid Brussels sprouts, but here's one more anyway. Researchers from the Eden Project have been testing a variety of vegetables and people's taste buds, trying to understand why some people love vegetables and others hate them. According to the Huffington Post, most people tend to assume that vegetables are just an acquired taste, and that people actually get a junk food palate from overexposure to junk foods and not enough vegetables.

This current research, however, indicates otherwise. Certain genes in your DNA dictate the foods that you are going to like as well as the particular flavor combinations. Their first test project was Brussels sprouts. Right now, they have identified a gene that is present in approximately half of the people in the world. Through this mutation, Brussels sprouts taste good. To everyone else, the researchers say that Brussels sprouts will taste as appealing as "eating a rubber shoe."

3)  It Makes Your Skin Younger
According to "Younger You," the secret to a healthy and flourishing body is to consume lots of fresh vegetables. The consumption, though, goes beyond just salads. Apparently you're supposed to scrub them over your skin as well. "Don't Throw That Away!" goes just as far, recommending that you get the best of both worlds by using the rinds for skin care and the insides for food.

Avocado Face Mask

Avocados are some of the most popular. Instead of throwing the rinds away, you can rub them over your skin and hair. While this will leave you looking like you just got slimed, it will nourish your skin. It's also a fraction of the price of regular avocado scrubs. If you need to exfoliate, then put sea salt on the rind and then rub it over your body. You can do the same thing with citrus rinds as well as cucumber peels. In fact, you can place the cucumber peels over your eyes and get the same benefits you would get from a spa facial.

2)  Pepper Stops Bleeding
Pepper and bleedingWhen you cut yourself, you probably just want to get the bleeding to stop, and nobody is going to blame you if the first thing you think of isn't to put pepper on it. After all, lemon juice burns like anything, why should pepper be any different? According to "Remedies from Home," pepper is actually an excellent choice when it comes to dealing with cuts and slices. It stops the bleeding instantly, and supposedly it doesn't hurt at all. There is one caveat to this. Only try it with a little bit of ground black pepper. Cayenne, chili, and white pepper can be quite painful, and the same goes many times over for jalapenos and habaneros.

While that would be great, pepper has more anti bleeding properties. According to, it can also help to control menstrual bleeding as well as cramps. All you have to do is make yourself a piping hot mug of pepper tea. They don't claim that it tastes good. In fact, it's described as being vile, but if you can get all 8 ounces down, it will stop the menstrual cramps within minutes. If you want to cleanse your liver at the same time, you can add a little bit of lemon and apple cider vinegar. Just remember that it is going to be one of the nastiest things that you drink.

Putting Pepper on hand to heal cuts:
Putting Pepper on hand to heal cuts

1)  Onions Attract Germs
Onions soak up germsAccording to "Onions Hold Flu Germs," raw onions when left out absorb bacteria. They are like magnets. This is part of why they are such an important part of your diet when it comes to keeping your immune system up. There's just one little catch to this, though. You have to make sure that you eat the onions fresh. One of the side effects of gathering germs that quickly is that when you let an onion sit out before you eat it, you will wind up eating all of the bacteria that it has gathered. It takes approximately 30 minutes for this to happen, so you need to make sure that you cut it up fresh. Onions filled with bacteria are one of the reasons that onions can cause such fierce cases of heartburn. So you'll probably want to take a pass on onions when you're going through the drive through.

Additionally, onions gather scent filled germs and bacteria as well. If you split an onion in half and place it on either side of the room, you will absorb most of the bad odors in the room, including paint. Just be prepared for the room to smell a little bit like onion.





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