Eat Your Fruits & Veggies!

Eat Your Fruits & Veggies!

Someone has told you to eat your vegetables at some point in your life, and perhaps you complied, or like some of us, you cried. There are popular phrases that remind you to eat your vegetables or fruit: “An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away” reminds you to eat your daily fruits.

Research into healthy foods and the benefits of eating “the right” amount of fruits and vegetables has increased over the years. But what is the right amount of fruits and vegetables you should consume daily?

According to the various sources, the right amount of fruits and vegetables needed daily is 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables for women. For men, it’s slightly higher at 2 cups of fruit and 3.5 cups of vegetables daily.

Keep in mind that is just the recommendation since most people only eat one or fewer cups of fruits and 1.5 cups of vegetables daily. Only 1-10 adults get the recommended fruits and vegetables per day. (i) In a study linking mortality and fruit and vegetable intake, one serving is considered 1.5 cups of any vegetables or fruits or a whole cup of salad greens. (ii) There is a direct relation to eating enough fruits and vegetables per day and a healthier longer life and eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables or two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables.

The benefits of eating the recommended fruits and vegetables are that you lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease by 12%, 10, and 35%, respectively. Other benefits related to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are that they balance your appetite, may even promote weight loss, lower the risk of digestive problems, and positively affect your blood sugar.(iv)

Balance is the key to eating your fruits and vegetables, so you do not want to consume all your servings by eating just kale or carrots. There needs to be a rainbow of color variation when it comes to eating your fruits and vegetables. Specific phytonutrients determine the color of your fruit. Phytonutrients are compounds produced by plants to keep them healthy and allow them to fight off fungi and prevent plant diseases. These phytonutrients are helpful to eat or drink since they may help prevent disease and keep your body working correctly, and they come in many different colors.

There are over 25,000 phytonutrients out there globally; some of them mentioned below might sound familiar. The colors set many fruits and vegetables apart. Red, yellow, and orange fruits are rich in (carotenoids) vitamin C. Dark green vegetables are iron-containing vegetables filled with chlorophyll. The red, blue, and purple foods possess antioxidants called flavonoids(anthocyanins + anthoxanthins) and betalains. White-colored foods are rich in cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates, or polyphenols known to fight inflammation. Eating the rainbow is highly beneficial to your health. Can you now name a few fruits and vegetables that match some of the colors mentioned above? We thought we would give you a colorful list of fruits and vegetables to think about in no specific order:

APPLES BANANA RED PEPPERS KALE
RASPBERRIES GUAVA BROCCOLI SPINACH
BLUEBERRIES AVOCADO TOMATOES BRUSSEL SPROUTS
ORANGES RAINBOW CHARD GARLIC SWEET POTATO

References:

(i) https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/division-information/media-tools/adults-fruits- vegetables.html

(ii) Fruit and Vegetable intake and Mortality: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/ CIRCULATIONAHA.120.048996 2015

(iii) https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/serving-and-portion-sizes-how-much-should-i-eat

(iv)https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/

(v) https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals

(vi) https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/fill-up-on-phytochemicals

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