Vegetables and Fruits: Eat a Variety and Lots for Overall Good Health!

Improve Your Overall Health by Eating a Variety and Lots of Vegetables and Fruits

If you are like most Americans, you probably don’t get the recommended daily amount of  vegetables and fruits.   Vegetables and fruits provide essential nutrients that our bodies need to function well.  Therefore, it stands to reason that we should consume a lot of them.

Here are just a few health benefits we reap from eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits:

  • reduced risk of heart disease,obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • protection against certain cancers
  • lower blood pressure (eating veggies and fruits rich in potassium)
  • a stronger immune system (eating veggies and fruits rich in antioxidants fight free radicals)

How Much Should We Eat Daily?

Did you know that you should eat, at least, 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily?   That might sound like a lot of calories, but vegetables are nutrient dense.  That means they provide a lot of nutritional value for the few amount of calories they have. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber.  Fiber is very filling without being fattening.  Therefore, these are foods you can consume as much as you want and not worry about overeating, with the exception of  the following calorie dense foods: mango, coconut, avocado, artichoke, sweet potato, edamame (soybeans) and corn.

A cup of fruit or vegetable is roughly the size of your fist. For uncooked leafy vegetables, the equivalent amount is about 2 cups. For dried fruit, ½ cup is equivalent to 1 cup of whole fruit.  Because all fruits and vegetables don’t supply the same nutrients, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs.  You might be wondering how you will ever eat nine servings in one day?

 

Here are a few quick tips to help you incorporate 9 servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily meal plan:

  1. Include a serving of fruit and/or vegetables at each meal and snack.
  2. Add a variety of fruits and vegetables in smoothies and Juices.
  3. Add a variety of fruits and vegetables in salads.
  4. At each meal, fill half your plate with vegetables.
  5. Challenge yourself to try new vegetables (fresh or frozen).
  6. Once a week, at least, eat a vegetarian dish.
  7.  Leave fruits out on your counter to grab a quick snack.

 

 

Super Foods  Among Vegetables and Fruits

In my Prime-Time Health workshops, I teach about the benefits of eating what we call the “sixteen superfoods” that include some fruits and vegetables.  Each food  contains one or more nutrients that research has shown promote healthy aging, however, they are healthy for all ages.  For our purposes, I will list only the vegetables and fruits.   If you don’t eat these already, add them to your diet for better health.

  • Broccoli
  • Red onions
  • Spinach
  • Beans and lentils
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Berries, especially blueberries

If you want to improve your health, like your mother always told you, you have to eat your vegetables and fruits.

 

Your partner in health and wellness,

Coach Cindy

 

 


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