Your mother always told you to eat your fruits and vegetables, and research shows that she was right. Nutritional scientists have studied the benefits of fruits and veggies for decades, and so far we have identified at least six important health benefits of a diet rich in produce.
Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. A higher daily intake of fruits and vegetables has been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Leafy greens and citrus fruits are considered most valuable.
Ward off diabetes. Consumption of leafy greens, blueberries, grapes, and apples has been associated with a lower risk of diabetes. On the other hand, increased consumption of fruit juice is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, possibly due to the extra sugar in many types of juice. So take it easy on the juice, and eat your produce in its natural form instead.
Prevent cancer. Numerous studies have revealed a strong link between diet and cancer prevention. In particular, leafy greens, garlic, onions, and tomatoes are high in compounds that can protect you against various types of cancer.
Lower blood pressure. A diet high in produce, and low in saturated fat, can keep blood pressure low.
Avoid vision problems. Eating fruits and veggies may help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. In particular, look for produce that contains lutein and zeaxanthin, such as leafy greens and, zucchini, carrots, and avocado.
Improve gastrointestinal health. The fiber in fruits and vegetables absorbs water as it passes through your digestive system, and can calm symptoms of constipation, irritable bowel, and diverticulosis.
It’s important to remember that there is no single magical food that will ward off all manner of health problems. Instead, you should always seek to consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in order to provide your body with the nutrition it needs. In particular, remember to eat leafy greens and brightly colored veggies and fruits. Follow these rules to ensure that you’re getting enough produce in your diet:
Keep a bowl of fruit handy for snacking.
Choose non-starchy vegetables; potatoes are yummy, but it’s the colorful veggies that are packed with nutritional value.
Try new recipes, such as salads and stir-fry, that include a variety of fruits and veggies.
Challenge yourself to try one new fruit or vegetable each week, and have fun learning all the different ways you can prepare them!