Fruits and vegetables are always included in most healthy eating plans because of their high concentration of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which have been shown to be effective in preventing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables such as white beans, tomatoes (juice or sauce), sweet potatoes, spinach, kidney beans, soybeans, and citrus fruits such as grapefruits and oranges, are all rich sources of potassium. Potassium helps to enhance muscle strength, regulate the body’s blood pressure level and can prevent conditions such as stroke, stress, anxiety, and heart and kidney diseases. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with vitamin C which promotes healthy gums and teeth and can help to heal wounds.
Dietary fiber from vegetables for example, carrots, work to maintain normal cholesterol levels within the body and regulate bowel movements. This can help to reduce constipation and inflammation in your colon.
Eating diets rich in fruits and vegetables can be beneficial in a number of other ways. However, the primary reason that you should include more fruits and vegetables in your diet is because they contain a small portion of fats and calories. Fruits and vegetables are therefore effective ways of improving your overall cardiovascular health and they can prevent weight gain, which is one of the major health issues facing North Americans today.
If you are overweight it is important that you choose a diet that includes a lot of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These are loaded with antioxidants, fibre, protein, and vitamin B, which can prevent obesity and other overweight related diseases like diabetes.
How Much Fruits and Vegetables Should You Eat?
For best nutritional benefits, it is generally recommended that all adults consume at least five 80g servings (2 ½ cups) of fruits and vegetables daily. If you’re someone who has a high daily caloric requirement, then you can eat as many as 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily (6 ½ cups) to maintain your current body weight and activity level. For instance, if you need 2000 calories per day you should try to eat at least 4 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables.
When preparing your daily meals, measure the servings of fruits and vegetables included to ensure that you are getting the correct proportions. Try to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables for a broader range of nutrients. This can include canned products, natural juices, and even frozen fruit and vegetables. Opt for natural products that do not include syrup, salt, sugar, or any artificial sweeteners.
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