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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are fruits and veggies considered nature's energy source?
Fruits and vegetables play a significant role in disease prevention and weight control. Looking good and feeling good are two positive results from including fruits and vegetables in your diet; produce is nature's energy source, fueling a healthy inner glow that's the unmistakable result of eating well and keeping fit.
What is a fruit?
A fruit is formed from the 'ovary' of a flower. A vegetable is the 'vegetative' part of a plant. Fruits have seeds. Vegetables do not. Tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant and squash are fruits, not vegetables. Don't be fooled by those kitchen pundits who claim that if they're not sweet we can allow them to jump the fence between definitions. This is often a hot topic of discussion at summertime barbecues. Bone up now and wow your audience.
Why are fruits and vegetables important in a balanced diet?
Fruits and vegetables are essential live foods and contain important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. See 5 A Day site for more nutrition information.
When are fruits and vegetables in season?
Many fruits and vegetables are available year round, while others are available only for a short period of time. Please see the chart for availability of specific items.
Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables?
Plant scientists say tomatoes are fruits because they contain seeds. However, most nutritionists think of tomatoes as vegetables because they contain so few calories compared to other fruits. For example, a medium apple contains about 80 calories while a medium tomato contains only 20 calories.

Tomatoes aren't the only fruit most people think of as vegetables. Cucumbers, peppers, eggplant and squash are also considered fruit because they contain seeds. While this is a very simple explanation of the differences between fruits and vegetables, in most cases it works. Think about foods that contain seeds; most are considered fruits by plant scientists. Defining vegetables so simply is not that easy. Vegetables can be edible roots (e.g. carrots), tubers (e.g. potatoes), stems (e.g. celery), flowers (e.g. broccoli) or leaves (e.g. lettuce).
Is it dangerous to drink grapefruit juice when taking medication?
Both grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interfere with the metabolism of certain medications. The most common result is higher than expected levels of the medication in the body. These increased levels can result in dangerous side effects.

The effect of grapefruit products on the metabolism of certain medications can last for more than 24 hours, so taking the medication at another time is not advised. The best way to avoid the dangerous effects of grapefruit products is to avoid the products altogether when taking medications affected by grapefruit products.

Some drugs known to be affected by grapefruit and grapefruit juice are: Plenil®, Renedil® (FELODIPINE); Isoptin® (VERAPAMIL); Nimotop® (NIMODIPINE); Seldane® (TERFENADINE); Neoral® (CYCLOSPORINE); Mevaco® r (LOVASTATIN); Zocor® (SIMVASTATIN); Tegretol® (CARBAMEZPINE) and Halcion ®(TRIAZOLAM). Please note that this is just a partial list. Be sure to discuss any concerns about combining grapefruit products with medications you may be taking with your pharmacist and physician.
What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?
There are many differences between sweet potatoes and yams. Sweet potatoes are roots of a vine in the morning glory family. Yams are tubers of a tropical vine. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A while yams contain no vitamin A.

To make this issue more confusing, there are two types of sweet potatoes. The paler-skinned sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh, which is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture similar to a white baking potato. The darker-skinned variety (which is most often called "yam" in error) has a thicker, dark orange skin with a vivid orange, sweet flesh with a moist texture. U.S. supermarkets tend to carry both types of sweet potatoes but incorrectly label the darker-skinned variety "yams."

True yams are rarely available in U.S. markets. If you find yams, they will most likely be sold in chunks sealed in plastic wrap, since they grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 150 pounds! The yam tuber has a brown or black skin, which resembles the bark of a tree, and off-white, purple or red flesh, depending on the variety.
Where do baby carrots come from?
Baby carrots are cut from bigger carrots. A special variety of carrot called “caropak carrots” are grown for mini-peeled carrots. Caropak carrots are grown close together, which results in thinner, more tender carrots. After harvesting, the carrots are washed in chlorinated water, just like our drinking water, and cleaned to remove dirt and mud. They are then sorted to separate out those that are too large or too small. The carrots selected to become mini-peeled are then cut into 2" lengths and the skin is peeled. A final polishing process rounds their corners. Then they are packaged in 1 ounce, 1/2 pound, 1 pound or 5 pound bags.
Bananas
After reading this, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!

Bananas containing three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
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Why do apples turn brown when cut?
Cut apples turn brown because of a reaction called oxidation. Oxygen in the air reacts with a natural substance in apples called phenolase and turns the cut surface brown. Mild acids like lemon juice can stop this reaction; tossing cut apple chunks with a little bit of lemon juice will keep the apples from turning brown.
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