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Plants as Food

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Plants have been used as food for centuries. There are lots of benefits to using plants as food. They provide the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to be healthy. They provide roughage and they also add flavor and color. Some different types of plants that we use as food are, green vegetables like lettuce and cauliflower; roots and tubers like beets, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes; stems like celery; peas, beans, lentils, tomatoes and cucumber.

Plants such as peas, beans and lentils, provide protein that our bodies need for growth and repair. Plants such as potatoes, beets and onions provide the starch and sugars our bodies need for energy. Plants such as watercress, onions, carrots, spinach, tomatoes and dried peas,     beans and lentils, provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies need for growth, strong bones and teeth, healthy sight, healthy skin, resistance to diseases and strength of the nervous system. 

If our bodies have too little of these vitamins and minerals, some defects we may see are children do not grow properly, we may have poor teeth and brittle bones, we may get tired easily or faint and may get anemia, we may get an enlarged thyroid, we may not see well in dim light, we may get sick easily, our skin may become rough and sore, we may have a loss of appetite and poor digestion and cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth.

When choosing plants as food, for green vegetables, ensure they have  good color, are firm and crisp. Root vegetables, ensure they are firm and free from dirt and there is no sprouting.

Finally, vegetables may be cooked in different ways. They may be boiled and their liquids used for gravies, etc., they may be roasted, grilled, fried, braised and stewed. Some, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and  cabbage leaves may also be stuffed and baked. Plants provide us with good sources of vitamins, minerals and roughage and we depend on them to balance our diet.