Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help reduce the risk for numerous chronic health conditions that are leading causes of death all over the world, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Yet, only about one in 10 adults eat enough fruits or vegetables, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These fresh foods are not only nutritious but also offer protection against various diseases, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even certain types of cancers.
According to research published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation, the ideal amount of fruits and vegetables to eat is five daily servings of 2 fruits and 3 vegetables.
Most adults tend to eat foods that are high in calories and low in micronutrients. These foods often also contain added sugar, sodium, and saturated or trans fats. This type of diet contributes to weight gain. Veggies and Fruits are generally sources of many essential nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, folate. In addition, most vegetables and fruits tend to be naturally low in sugar, sodium, and fat. Certain varieties can also be very hydrating due to their high water content, which can range from 84 to 95%.
Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that help fight free radicals that damage cells. Diets rich in antioxidants allow for slower aging and a lower risk of disease.
Thus, eating a variety of veggies and fruits each day can provide you with a diverse range of nutrients.
What amount of fruits and veggies should you eat daily?
Most people suggest that the more veggies you eat, the better. However, studies by Loyola University Health System show that the amount does not determine which nutrients it contains.
U.S. dietary recommendation is between 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit, and between 2 to 2-1/2 cups of vegetables a day, depending on age and gender. Nevertheless, people are most uncertain about what quantity of veggies and fruits they can consume each day and which food they can include, and those they can avoid.
Harvard School of Public Health listed tips to eat more vegetables and fruits each day:
- Keep fruit where you can see it. Place several ready-to-eat washed whole fruits in a bowl or store chopped colorful fruits in a glass bowl in the refrigerator to tempt a sweet tooth.
- Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety and color are key to a healthy diet. On most days, try to get at least one serving from each of the following categories: dark green leafy vegetables; yellow or orange fruits and vegetables; red fruits and vegetables; legumes and peas; and citrus fruits.
- Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with different nutrients and more slowly digested carbohydrates.
- Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads, soups, and stir-fries are just a few ideas for increasing the number of tasty vegetables in your meals.