Friendly Fruits and Jovial Vegetables
Okay, so maybe plant matter isn’t your favorite part of a meal. Maybe when your mom wanted you to finish your broccoli, you tried to feed it to the dog. Maybe your favorite way to get fruits is Sweet-Tarts or Gummi Bears. That doesn’t mean you should exclude fruits and vegetables from your diet. In fact, fruits and vegetables are extremely important to a healthy, balanced diet. A few points about our garden-fresh friends:
Recommended Daily Intake
Experts recommend that we should eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A serving is equal to:
- 1 medium size piece of fruit (apple, peach, banana, etc.)
- 1 handful of grapes or cherries
- 2 small fruits (apricots or plums)
- 1 small side salad
- 3 large tablespoons of vegetables
- 1 cob of corn
It is also recommended that we eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eating the same types of fruits is good but could still leave you deficient of nutrients and minerals they don’t contain.
Phytochemicals and Color
Phytochemicals are naturally-occurring chemical compounds found in fruits and vegetables. While they are non-essential to the body, they may protect us from many diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancers. Known phytochemicals include antioxidants, flavonoids, epicatechins, anthocyanins, and phelonic acids.
Phytochemicals are tied to the color of vegetables. For examples, phytochemicals in green foods are thought to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. Phytochemicals in blue and purple foods promote healthy aging, while red and orange foods contain phytochemicals that support the immune system and heart health.
The Skinny on Getting Skinny
Because fruits and vegetables don ‘t contain any cholesterol and are low in fat, they help to promote weight loss. Sauces and ingredients added to fruits or vegetables may increase their fat content, so avoiding high fat sauces, salad dressings, and the like is recommended.
Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber content. That means they are filling and will help keep the body satiated longer. If you’re not hungry as much, you’ll be less likely to eat fatty foods. If you eat less fatty foods, you’ll lose weight.
Planting the Seeds of Good Health
Not only do fruits and vegetables provide needed nutrients and minerals, they help curb the risk of serious disease. Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been linked to decreased risk of stroke, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes. They help to lower blood pressure and cut down the risk of developing kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables also help to stop bone loss.
On top of all this, fruits and vegetables help to raise your energy level. So, not only are they pretty tasty, they can help you feel better!