10 Reasons More Matters When It Comes to Fruits and Vegetables
Published on September 07, 2021
Weld County, CO — September is National Fruits & Veggies Month, a month-long celebration of Americans’ favorite plant foods.
Here are 10 reasons eating “more” is a great idea!
- Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals. You won’t find a better nutritional source than fruits and veggies, which are packed with vitamins A, C and E, as well as magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid. For potassium, one of the most important minerals for your health, eat plenty of avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, prunes and even tomato paste puree.
- You get to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures. With all their unique and interesting flavors, plant-based foods let you get creative in the kitchen. You can try strong flavors like onions, olives and peppers, or milder options such as mushrooms and corn. For sweet flavors, fruits like pineapple, grapes, or plums are great, while lemons and grapefruits are sourer.
- Lots and lots of fiber. Most fruits and vegetables have plenty of fiber to fill you up and boost gut health, but some have more than others. Fiber-rich vegetables include artichokes, green peas, broccoli, and cauliflower. High-fiber fruits include raspberries, pears, apples, and pumpkin.
- They’re low-calorie and low-fat. On average, fruits and especially vegetables are very low in calories and fat, which means you can eat more to keep you feeling full without worrying aboutextra calories or fat. You can save more than 200 calories by eating half a cup of grapes versus a fourth of a cup of M&Ms. That said, there are exceptions, such as avocados, olives, and coconuts.
- Protect against cancer and other diseases. Many vegetables and fruits contain phytochemicals, which are biologically active substances that can help protect against some diseases. That means you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer by adding them into your diet. Specifically, cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli, cabbage, collards, and watercress, have been linked to reducing cancer risks.
- Fruits and vegetables help you maintain good health. Because they’re low in saturated fat, salt and sugar, fruits and vegetables are part of a well-balanced diet that can help you lose eight or prevent weight gain. Plus, they can help you decrease inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Low in sodium and cholesterol. Fresh fruits and veggies contain only trace amounts of sodium. Many people think that celery is high in sodium, but in fact, one stalk contains a mere 30mg, which contributes 1 percent to the recommended daily value. Cholesterol doesn’t exist in fruits and veggies at all.
- Fresh, frozen, canned, dried – they’re ALL nutritious. While eating fresh fruits and vegetables may be your preference, there’s not much difference from a nutrition standpoint when you compare frozen, canned or dehydrated products. In fact, most frozen and canned products are processed within hours of harvest, so the nutritional value is locked in quickly.
- Convenient, quick, and easy. Unlike granola bars or crackers, many fruits and vegetables don’t need any packaging. So, you can easily grab a banana or an apple as you’re heading out the door.
- Finally … smoothies! If you have a blender, all you need is fruit and ice to whip up a delicious smoothie using all your favorite flavors. And here’s a tip: When you make a fruit smoothie, feel free to throw in as much fresh spinach as you like. Spinach doesn’t start to taste like “spinach” until you cook it. Even kids can’t tell the difference!
Enjoying fruits and vegetables is a great way to improve your health and enjoy what you eat. While it may take a little creativity, effort, and an open mind to try new things, switching to a diet with more fruits and veggies is worth it!
For more information about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables or to schedule a no-cost appointment with a Weld County dietitian, call (970) 304-6410.