The imbalance of the average American’s diet is startling. With only around three servings of fruits and vegetables per day – substantially less than the amount recommended by the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) and the U.S. The new guidelines issued by the USDA (Department of Agriculture) states that the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day is 5 to 13 servings, depending on the number of calories your particular body needs.
For many, supplements seem like an easy alternative; and it is a common misconception that taking supplements is as good as eating the vegetables or fruit themselves.
The difference is that in fresh vegetables and fruit the nutrients work together. According to research conducted at the University of Hawaii in Manoa over the past 5 to 10 years, vitamin supplements do not provide the same benefits we receive from fresh food. The Dietry Guidelines created in 2005 by the USDA and HHS which are reviewed every 5 years state that because fresh foods contain naturally occurring ingredients such as flavonoids and carotenoids they are the best source of nutrients.
Apart from the nutrients we are already aware of in the fruits and vegetables there are in fact many that have not yet been discovered. The nutrients in fresh foods are consumed in combination with each other rather than singly. This means they may act in synergistic ways that affect our health. As an example: For those who don’t get enough iron (young women in particular) eating a fruit or vegetable that is rich in vitamin C (which enhances iron absorption) with an iron-rich food such as spinach will increase their iron levels.
Many illnesses may be prevented by vegetables and fruits. Your risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and stroke, along with some types of cancer may be reduced through eating certain vegetables and fruits. Nearly 110,000 people were examined in The Nurse’s Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study over the course of 14 years. Part of the study results showed that the more vegetables and fruit participants ate daily, the lower the chances were that they would develop cardiovascular diseases.
The relationship between cancer prevention and fruits and vegetables has been more difficult to prove. Having said that, recent studies have revealed that certain types of fruits and vegetables are associated with lover rates of some forms of cancer. For example, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fun, high intakes of non-starchy foods such as leafy greens, cabbage and broccoli lower the risk of colorectal, stomach and mouth cancer. While studies regarding lycopene and prostate cancer have been mixed, it is believed possible that this carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color may help to reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer.
Perfect for maintaining a health weight, fresh fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat and contain high levels of water and fiber, resulting in a feeling of being full. This is especially useful for those who want more filling calories without the extra weight gain Fiber also helps to keep you “regular”.
Get Your Fill Of Fruits And Vegetables
Make sure that you eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Different colors of produce will give you a different range of nutrients.
The amount of calories your body needs each day will dictate how many servings of fresh vegetables and fruits you should be eating. A good guideline is to eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal and for every snack.
Although fresh produce is best, if you can’t get it because of accessibility, season or cost, it is better to use frozen, canned or dried options than non at all.
Since a bowl of salad or plate of fruit each day could be the key to preventing serious illness, it is certainly worth making the effort to prioritize it. Getting organized by preparing fruit and vegetables in advance to fit in with your busy schedule can help you to make it easier to support your health. Making fruit and vegetables as easy to eat as convenience foods can make all the difference to your long term health.