Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Because of this, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables everyday can help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes and certain cancers.1
When Harvard researchers combined findings from their studies with several other long-term studies in the U.S. and Europe, and looked at coronary heart disease and stroke separately, they found a similar protective effect: Individuals who ate more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day had roughly a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, compared with individuals who ate less than three servings per day.2
Fruits and vegetables have many important phytochemicals that help “fight” or defend our bodies from harmful elements. Phytochemicals are usually related to colors — green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white — combinations of nutrients that work together to promote good health.3
Because they’re low in calories and high in fiber, fruits and vegetables can help us control our weight. By eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer high-caloric foods, it’s easier to control our weight, especially since they are natural sources of energy and the many nutrients we need to keep going. Non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears and green leafy veggies especially help promote weight loss, and their low glycemic loads help prevent blood sugar spikes that may increase hunger.4
Since no single fruit or vegetable provides all the nutrients we need to be healthy, it’s important to eat a large variety of differently colored produce. Nutritionists recommend having at least one serving from each category, including dark leafy greens, yellow or orange fruits, red fruits and vegetables, legumes and peas, and last but not least, citrus fruits.5
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to eating well, but there are ways to make it easier. Here are some tips:
- Keep fruit where you can see it. Place several ready-to-eat washed whole fruits in a bowl or store chopped colorful fruits in a glass bowl in the refrigerator to replace sweets made with added sugars.
- Cook often and include more vegetables. Salads, soups, and stir-fry are easy ways to incorporate a variety of tasty vegetables into meals.
- Have chopped celery, carrots, cucumbers, jicama and other vegetables ready to snack on throughout the day. Remember that eating more veggies won’t necessarily help with weight loss unless it replaces foods, which contain refined carbohydrates, for example, white bread, chips or crackers.
- Fruits and veggies are nutritious in many forms—fresh, frozen, and canned without added salt and sugar. Remember to incorporate canned or frozen produce into smoothies. Kenzen Vital Balance® and Kenzen Super Ciaga™ are ideal organic powders to help you ramp up your smoothies with plant-based protein or superfruit antioxidants.
It’s important to role model an Active Wellness regimen that includes good eating habits, since a child brought up with sound nutrition has a much better chance at becoming a healthy adult!