Tasty and satisfying to eat, fruits and vegetables pack a powerful nutrient punch for your health and well-being, inside and out.
Eating a wide variety of produce throughout the week is key
Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks and select options that represent each color of the rainbow.
Carotenoids — including lutein — are plant pigments responsible for bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. The body uses one of the carotenoids to make vitamin A which is essential for vision. Carotenoid-rich foods include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Red peppers
Fiber is important for regularity. Eating adequate amounts of fiber may prevent or ease constipation. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber. Whole foods rather than canned, frozen or juiced options offer the most fiber content. There are also links between dietary patterns, gut health and chronic disease. Good gut health can also help improve mental health.
Eating citrus fruit is an excellent way to ensure your body receives the vitamin C it needs to produce collagen which is responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and wound healing. For a healthy dose of vitamin C try:
While health professionals aren’t entirely clear about how fruits and vegetables help protect against some forms of cancer, research suggests that eating a wide variety of produce is your best bet for reducing the risk of developing cancer. The Nurses’ Health Study found a correlation between eating five or more servings of fruits and veggies daily and a reduced incidence of breast cancer among women. Lycopene, a pigment in tomatoes, has also been studied and associated with a decreased occurrence of prostate cancer.
As with gut health, fiber plays an important role in heart health. Fiber can help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol or reduce high levels of blood cholesterol. Keeping cholesterol levels in check is a key strategy for preventing heart disease.
Maintain blood pressure
Potassium helps the walls of your blood vessels to relax or loosen up. When vessels are tense or rigid, it can lead to high blood pressure. Potassium is abundant in many fruits and vegetables. While we typically think of bananas and potatoes as being rich sources of this important mineral, you’ll also find it in:
- Kidney beans
Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables each day is the best way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive.
Resources for you
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