Consuming more nutrients and less high-calorie, low-nutrient processed foods is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Fresh fruits and vegetables are natural super foods that provide the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health. People who eat sugary and processed foods often experience a short surge of energy and then an energy drop that makes them want to eat again. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of fiber and water and low kilojoule content. This means that people who eat these healthy options stay fuller longer and are less likely to overeat. Fruits and vegetables not only help people maintain a healthy weight, but also to ward off heart disease, diabetes, and all kinds of health problems.
A Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables Helps Reduce the Risk of Several Serious Illnesses
Cancer: Many people don’t realize that there’s a direct correlation between being overweight and getting cancer. Almost 33% of cancers have been linked to physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits, and being overweight. Fortunately, reducing one’s risk of diet-related cancers is as simple as eating two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day. It sounds simple, but healthy eating habits save lives. You are what you eat, and if you’re healthy you’ll want to eat the vitamins, fiber, phytoestrogens, and antioxidants that are prevalent in fruits and vegetables.
Blocked arteries: A diet high in fatty foods is a diet high in artery-clogging cholesterol. Fruits and vegetables actually lower high cholesterol. Fruits and vegetables are packed with such nutritional power houses as antioxidants and flavanoids that keep arteries clear.
High blood pressure.:High blood pressure contributes to such serious conditions as heart and kidney disease and stroke. Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps regulate blood pressure at a healthy level.
Spina Bifida in infants: Studies show that folate is critical to protecting babies from spina bifida. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in folate. (Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should take folate supplements in addition to eating a healthy diet.)
How Much Fruit and Vegetables is Enough?
It’s one thing to know that you should eat two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day. It’s quite another to know what that looks like. Examples of one serving of fruit are one apple, peach, banana or other medium-sized fruit; two kiwis, apricots, or other small fruits; or one cup of diced fruit like strawberries or melons. Examples of one serving of vegetables include a medium tomato, half a potato, or half a cup of cooked vegetables. When in doubt, it’s always better to eat too many fruits and vegetables rather than too few.
Think Outside the Box!
If you are pressed for time you can buy online from places like fruitguys.com, as many people find they eat more if they don’t have to go out of their way to shop at grocery stores. Dipping sliced vegetables into hummus or salsa is also another way to make the idea of ingesting more fruits appealing. Add shredded vegetables to soups, muffins, and cakes. Sprinkle fruit over ice cream or blend the two together to make a smoothie. Squash, corn, asparagus, peppers, bananas, and pineapples are just a handful of fruits and vegetables that taste amazing grilled. Convenience breeds healthy habits, so make sure you keep a supply of ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables handy in the fridge.