Every dietitian recommends eating fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet and it is not without reason. Eating fruits and vegetables in good measure can help to prevent major life threatening diseases. Vegetables and fruits are packed with vitamin C that boosts the immune system. Leek, broccoli, beetroot, bell pepper, Brussel sprouts, carrots and spinach help maintain the hemoglobin levels, while fruits like peaches, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, oranges, apricots and papaya can keep you warm.
Vegetables and fruits prevent cardiovascular disease
Many studies across the globe have proved that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Higher the average intake of fruits and vegetables, lower the risk of suffering heart disease. It was found that individuals who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, ran a 20 percent less risk of heart disease. Although all vegetables and fruits are helpful, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, mustard greens and cruciferous vegetables such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit and their juices contribute better in reducing risk of coronary diseases.
Vegetables and fruits help control blood pressure
High blood pressure is a primary cause for coronary diseases and stroke. Hence, it is essential that blood pressure is kept under control. Diet can be an effective tool for keeping the blood pressure under control. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been found to be effective in reducing systolic blood pressure by about 11 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by almost 6 mm Hg.
Fruits and vegetables reduce risk of cancer
There is a possibility that some types of fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers. A report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, and garlic and onions and fruits probably protect against several types of cancers.
Vegetables and fruits promote gastrointestinal Health
Indigestible fiber is an important component of fruits and vegetables. Fiber triggers regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Besides the insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestines and prevents painful inflammations.
Vegetables and fruits are good for Vision
Fruits and vegetables help to keep our eyes in good shape. Have we not heard that eating carrots is good for our vision? Cataract and macular degeneration are two common eye diseases that affect people above 65. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can prevent these diseases. Sunlight, cigarette smoke, air pollution, infection cause damage to the eyes. Dark green vegetables contain two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, which can prevent the damage.
Eating fruits and vegetables makes you calmer
Eating more fruits and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life, according to a new research. A study at the University of Otago in New Zealand showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and vegetable consumption. “On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did”, the study reported.
Improve well being
Although it is not known exactly how fruit and vegetables improve well being, they contain chemicals known as antioxidants, which are thought to reduce stress levels. Recent studies have found that children who eat more fruit and vegetables are less at risk of depression in later life. Andrew Oswald, of the Warwick University’s Department of Economics, which conducted the research, said, “This study has shown surprising results. We know that fruit and vegetables carry a lot of antioxidants and those protect us against attacks on the body”.
Eating asparagus flattens tummy
Asparagus is rich in potassium and helps to regulate the fluid balance in your body, keeping bloat at bay. High potassium foods include bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes and nuts. But asparagus also contains an amino acid called asparagine that acts as diuretic to flush excess liquid out of the body system.
How much to eat?
Eating at least eight portions of fruits and vegetables every day will keep you more cheerful and optimistic about the future, scientists say. A study found that those who ate around eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day had an average score that was one point higher than people who did not eat any. The link remained even when people’s exercise levels and overall diet – both of which can influence mood -were accounted for.
An average American consumes just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. However, the latest dietary guidelines suggest thirteen servings which translate to 3 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups per day. A person needing 2000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, would require 9 servings or 4 1/2 cups per day. One cup refers to the same measuring cup used in the household. Potatoes are not counted as vegetable, since they are mostly starch.
Don’t have fruit for dessert
When eaten at the end of a meal, fruits can cause bloating. It’s best eaten separately. Certain fruits have a beneficial effect on
the gut. Fresh papaya and pineapple have natural digestive enzymes – papain and bromelain respectively – that aid digestion
and alleviate wind.
Is juicing fruit and vegetables a good way to get my nine servings a day?
Juicing can help meet the nine servings per day recommendation. However, it is best to eat your fruits and vegetables in their “whole” forms since juicing separates the fruit juice from the fruit pulp, which contains most of the fiber that may be beneficial for your health. Also, juicing fruits will increase the glycemic index of the food since the fruit sugars are more readily available, so whole fruit is a better choice.
It is clear that fruits and vegetables are essential to enjoy a healthy living. They should constitute a part of one’s daily diet. No single fruit or vegetable provides all the nutrients needed for a healthy life. A variety of vegetables and fruits should go into one’s everyday diet.