Daily Fruits and Vegetables

It seems to be a concern for many Americans on whether or not they’re getting enough fruits and vegetables. They say you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables or that an apple keeps the doctor away. What is the importance of eating vegetables and fruits daily? Those who eat more vegetables and fruits are more likely to have reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide vital nutrients for the maintenance of your body. Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  How much would one need to eat in order to fulfill that need? The amount that would be right for you actually varies on several factors including age, gender, and physical activity. Here is a chart of serving recommendation by www.cookinglight.com

Lightly Active: An average of less than 30 minutes of exercise a day

  • Women ages 19-30: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 19-50: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 31-50: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 51+: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 51+: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 cups Veggies = 3 1/2 cups TOTAL

Moderately Active: An average of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day

  • Women ages 19-50: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 19-30: 2 cups Fruits + 3 1/2 cups Veggies = 5 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 51+: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 31+: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL

Very Active: An average of 60 minutes of exercise or more a day

  • Men ages 19-30: 2 1/2 cups Fruits + 4 cups Veggies = 6 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 19-50: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 31-50: 2 1/2 cups + 3 1/2 cups Veggies = 6 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 51+: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 51+: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL

Health Benefits

1. Eating a diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits overall may reduce risk for heart disease, which includes heart attack and stroke.

2. Adding vegetables and fruits to your overall healthy diet may even protect against certain types of cancers.

3. Vegetables and fruits that are rich in fiber have the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabets.

4. Eating vegetables that are lower in calories per cup versus other higher calorie food may be useful in helping lower calorie intake.

5. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium may help lower blood pressure and help decrease bone loss.

Nutrients

1. Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, some even have none at all. 

2. Vegetables contain important sources of many nutrients, potassium, folic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin A and C.

3. Vitamin A helps keep eyes and skin healthy while protecting against infection.

4. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption. Also helps keep teeth and gums healthy. Did you hurt yourself? Vitamin C helps heal those cuts and wounds.

5. Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who become pregnant need to consume a good amount of folate from foods.

6. Dietary from vegetables helps maintain a healthy bowel function. Reduces constipation and helps reduce blood cholestrol levels. 

There are so many wonderful benefits to adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. If you find that you can’t achieve the recommended amount, you can always make your vegetable and fruits into a wonderful juice. There are plenty of juice recipes out there that are enjoyable. You don’t have to suffer from the taste of vegetable juice. Start adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet and reap all the wonderful benefits from them.

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