The Four Food Groups

Fruits and vegetables are a significant part of the New Four Food Groups. A healthy vegan or vegetarian diet relies on fruits and vegetables to provide much of the fibre, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed every day.

It's important to eat plenty of fruits (at least 3 servings) and vegetables (at least 4 servings) every day. Fresh, raw produce is usually the best choice, but there are benefits to cooked and frozen, too. When you can afford to do so, buy organic produce, as it has the best flavour and the most nutrients; if you're on a tight budget, purchase organic produce if the conventional alternative is typically high in pesticides—like peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes.

Note: these serving suggestions are as recommended by “The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine”, and might differ slightly from the DBM Food Pyramid.  Bear in mind that the DBM Food Pyramid is targeted at “patients” and the PCRM servings are targeted at healthy people. However, the recommended serving suggestions are just guidelines.

FRUIT

Fruits are rich in fibre, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.  Be sure to include at least one serving each day of fruits that are high in vitamin C—citrus fruits, melons, and strawberries are all good choices. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, which do not contain very much fibre.  

Standard Suggested Servings

FRUIT: Total per day: 2.5 – 3 servings

Serving size: 1 medium piece of fruit • ½ cup cooked fruit • 4 ounces / 120ml juice

  • Fruits Three (3) or more servings a day.

Be sure to include at least one (1) serving each day of fruits that are high in vitamin C—citrus fruits, melons, and strawberries are all good choices. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, which do not contain very much fibre.   There are of course exceptions to the rule!  DBM makes use frequently of juices to increase nutrient intake especially in those with compromised guts. Make sure you choose NON-GMO, organic produce.

VEGETABLES

Vegetables are packed with nutrients; they provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fibre, and other nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, chicory, or bok choy are especially good sources of these important nutrients. Dark yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin provide extra beta-carotene. Include generous portions of a variety of vegetables in your diet.

Standard Suggested Servings

VEGETABLES: Total per day: 4 servings (2 to 4 cups)

Serving size: 1 cup raw vegetables • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables

  • Vegetables Four (4) or more servings a day.

Vegetables are packed with nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli,  collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, chicory, or cabbage, are especially good sources of vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fibre, and other nutrients. Dark yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin provide extra beta-carotene. Include generous portions of a variety of vegetables in your diet.

Dark green vegetables” include broccoli, kale, spinach, collards, turnip, mustard and beet greens, bok choy, and Swiss chard.  “Other vegetables” refers to all other vegetables, fresh or frozen, raw or cooked.  Make sure you choose NON-GMO, organic produce. See Eat From The Rainbow

LEGUMES / BEANS

Legumes, also called pulses, is another name for beans, peas, and lentils. Legumes are plants with seed pods that split into two halves. Edible seeds from plants in the legume family including black beans, black eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, green beans, lentils, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, red kidney beans, vetch, winged beans

Legumes reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers LDL cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels, lowers the risks of colon cancer, prevents anaemia, maintains the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body. Legumes are low in fat & cholesterol levels. To balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

Legumes are good sources of phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starch, vitamin A,  vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Note: Because all these legumes and pulses (as well as nuts, seeds and whole grains) contain high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, nickel and especially zinc, it is important to soak, ferment or sprout them. This reduces the phytic acid levels and is especially important for those suffering with anaemia, cancer, digestive, teeth or bone disorders, pregnant and menstruating women, those regularly performing intense physical activities and sports, anyone on medications, those that drink alcohol regularly, growing infants and children and the elderly. Make sure you choose NON-GMO legumes.

Standard Suggested Servings

LEGUMES: Total per day: 2 – 2.5 servings

Serving size: 1 cup cooked legumes

WHOLE GRAINS

Grains — most commonly wheat and corn — are consumed by most populations around the world. While some people argue that we shouldn’t eat grains, most health experts agree that grains should be a part of our everyday diet. But choosing whole grains, rather than refined ones, is the most nutritious choice. Make sure you choose NON-GMO grains.

Standard Suggested Servings

WHOLE GRAINS: Total per day: 3 servings

Serving size: ½ cup cooked grains

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