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Eating more fruits and vegetables has been scientifically proven to provide numerous health benefits. In this blog post, we will explore some of the top reasons you should aim to eat more produce each day.
The Vitamin and Mineral Content
Fruits and vegetables contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. For instance, fruits like oranges and strawberries are packed with vitamin C. Leafy greens like spinach and kale contain folate. Broccoli has vitamin K. The list goes on and on.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps ensure you get adequate amounts of these vital nutrients, which serve many functions in the body. Vitamins and minerals help strengthen the immune system, build and repair tissue, produce energy, fight inflammation, and so much more.
Fiber is another important nutrient found abundantly in fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps regulate digestion, promotes gut health, lowers cholesterol, and controls blood sugar levels. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get 25-38 grams of fiber per day, but unfortunately, most people fall short of that goal.
Adding more produce to your diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains makes it easier to meet your daily fiber needs.
Antioxidants are compounds in foods that help counteract oxidative damage from free radicals in the body. If left unchecked, oxidative stress caused by free radicals can lead to inflammation and contribute to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
By regularly consuming produce like berries, leafy greens, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables you take in antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene that can help neutralize these dangerous free radicals.
In addition to vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, fruits and veggies also contain beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables. They also confer medicinal properties.
For example, phytochemicals may help reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, improve artery function, and have anticancer effects. Eating a variety of colorful produce helps ensure you take in diverse phytochemicals.
Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Now that you know some of the major benefits of filling your diet with fruits and vegetables, here are some simple tips to make it happen:
- Keep fresh produce visible in your refrigerator and on your kitchen counter. You’ll be more likely to eat it if it’s ready-to-eat and in plain sight.
- Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables for easy additions to meals and snacks. Go for plain frozen varieties without added sugar or salt.
- Try new fruits and vegetables regularly to avoid getting stuck in a produce rut. Look for what’s in season for the best flavor.
- Add spinach, kale, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, or onions to your eggs or omelets.
- Throw fresh or frozen fruits into yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies.
- Snack on carrots, celery, apples, berries, grape tomatoes, edamame, or Balance of Nature fruit and veggie capsules.
- Roast vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash to boost flavor.
- Sauté spinach, zucchini, peppers, green beans, and other veggies to pair with fish, chicken or beef.
- Make a hearty salad full of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, berries, nuts, beans, and other favorite ingredients.
Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Eat the rainbow by choosing produce in a variety of colors. This ensures you get a diverse array of nutrients and antioxidants. Focus especially on leafy greens, berries, broccoli, garlic, tomatoes, and colorful peppers. Gradually increasing your produce intake can provide big dividends for your health.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do to maintain good health and prevent disease. Produce delivers key vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that support optimal function. Make a point to include fresh, whole produce at every meal. Your body will thank you!