If you are like most people, you prefer to grab a bag of chips instead of an apple or carrot. I have a list of reasons why it is important to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. It may be hard to do this all at once, so each week, add a couple of new ones to your diet. If you gradually make the transition, before you know it, you will be instinctively reaching for the healthy alternative instead of the junk food. Give it a try!
- Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of your balanced nutrition plan may:
- reduce the risk for stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases.
- reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes.
- protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colorectal cancer.
- Eating fruits and vegetables rich in potassium as part of your supportive nutrition plan may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may help to decrease bone loss.
- Eating foods such as fruits and vegetables that are low in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
- Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol.
- Fruits and vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).
- Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas.
- Whole or cut-up fruits and vegetables are sources of dietary fiber; fruit and vegetable juices contain little or no fiber.
- Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption.
- Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
- Vitamin E helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from cell oxidation.
- Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
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