Why you should eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are key parts of your daily diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables of different kinds may help protect you against heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. It also promotes healthy bowel function. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most people, including children, eat fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than it is recommended. To promote your health, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables—at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables—each day.

Different fruits and vegetables are rich in different nutrients. Some fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A (carotenoids), while others may be rich in vitamin C, folate, or potassium. They also contain fiber and other substances that are associated with good health. Dark green leafy vegetables, deeply colored fruits, and dried peas and beans are especially rich in many nutrients. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and filling. Some are high in fiber, and many are quick to prepare and easy to eat. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables makes it easier to avoid getting too many calories. Choose whole or cut up fruits and vegetables rather than juices most often. Juices contain little or no fiber.

Which Fruits And Vegetables Provide The Most Nutrients? 

The lists below show which fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin A (carotenoids), vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Often, the brighter the color, the higher the content of vitamins and minerals. Eat at least 2 servings of fruits and at least 3 servings of vegetables each day:

Sources of vitamin A (carotenoids)  

  • Bright orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin  

  • Dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, turnip greens  

  • Bright orange fruits  like mango, cantaloupe, apricots 

Sources of vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits and juices, kiwi, strawberries, and cantaloupe  

  • Broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, and potatoes  

  • Leafy greens such as romaine, turnip greens, and spinach 

Sources of folate  

  • Cooked dried beans and peas  

  • Oranges, orange juice  

  • Deep green leaves like spinach and mustard greens 

Sources of potassium  

  • Baked white or sweet potato, cooked greens (such as spinach), winter (orange) squash  

  • Bananas, plantains, many dried fruits, orange juice

Aim for variety 

Try many colors and kinds. Choose any form: fresh, frozen, canned, dried, juices. All forms provide vitamins and minerals, and all provide fiber except for most juices—so choose fruits and vegetables rather than juices most often. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before using. If you buy prepared vegetables, check the Nutrition Facts Label to find choices that are low in saturated fat and sodium.

Try serving fruits and vegetables in new ways:

  • raw vegetables with dip  

  • vegetables stir-fried in a small amount of vegetable oil  

  • fruits or vegetables mixed with other foods in salads, casseroles, soups, sauces (for example, add shredded vegetables when making meatloaf).

Find ways to include plenty of different fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks.

  • Buy wisely: Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are sometimes best buys, and they are rich in nutrients. If fresh fruit is very ripe, buy only enough to use right away.

  • Store properly to maintain quality. Refrigerate most fresh fruits (not bananas) and vegetables (not potatoes or tomatoes) for longer storage, and arrange them so you’ll use up the ripest ones first. If you cut them up or open a can, refrigerate afterward.  

  • Keep ready-to-eat raw vegetables handy in a clear container in the front of your refrigerator for snacks or meals-on-the-go.  

  • Keep a day’s supply of fresh or dried fruit handy on the table or counter.  

  • Enjoy fruits as a naturally sweet end to a meal.  

  • When eating out, choose a variety of vegetables at a salad bar.

Advice and Tips for Today: 

Eat at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables each day. Choose fresh, frozen, dried, or canned forms and a variety of colors and kinds. Choose dark-green leafy vegetables, bright orange fruits and vegetables, and cooked dried peas and beans often.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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