No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.
Eat a variety of types in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Try dark leafy greens; brightly colored red, yellow and orange vegetables and fruits; and cooked tomatoes.
Easy ways to eat more vegetables and fruits each day…
- Keep fruit where you can see it. That way you’ll be more likely to eat it.
- Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet.
- Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbohydrates.
- Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads and stir fries are two ideas for getting tasty vegetables on your plate.
Why you should eat those veggies and fruits
Cardiovascular Disease: There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years.
The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
Blood Pressure: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study examined the effect on blood pressure of a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet reduced their systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by about 11 mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by almost 6 mm Hg—as much as medications can achieve.
Cancer: Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. Unlike case-control studies, cohort studies, which follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years, generally provide more reliable information than case-control studies because they don’t rely on information from the past. And, in general, data from cohort studies have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer. .
Diabetes… In a study of over 66,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, 85,104 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 36,173 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were free of major chronic diseases, findings suggested that greater consumption of whole fruits – especially blueberries, grapes, and apples – is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Gastrointestinal Health:Fruits and vegetables contain indigestible fiber, which absorbs water and expands as it passes through the digestive system. This can calm symptoms of an irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation.The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestinal tract and may help prevent diverticulosis.
Vision:Eating fruits and vegetables can also keep your eyes healthy, and may help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases—cataracts and macular degeneration—which afflict millions of Americans over age 65. Lutein and zeaxanthin, in particular, seem protective against cataracts.