When asking what fruits and vegetables can do for you, the real question should be, what can’t they do? These powerhouses are packed with the fiber, vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining the health and vitality of your body.
How much and why?
The recommended serving size of fruits and veggies is five per day. But how much is one serving? It’s generally considered one-half cup, though for leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, a serving is one cup. Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. The fiber in both fruits and veggies helps you feel fuller longer and contributes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. And, they’re packed with all kinds of nutrients your body needs.
Richly colored molecules, carotenoids are what puts the bright red, yellow and orange hues in both fruits and veggies. While there are more than 600 different types of carotenoids, a few you might have heard of include lycopene, beta carotene and lutein. Carotenoids have antioxidant properties—a boost to your immune system and can help to lower inflammation. Try these beautifully colored carotenoid-packed fruits and vegetables:
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as the nine vitamins that make up the B complex are a vital part of a healthy diet. Each one of these 14 vitamins plays a key role in various parts of your body’s well-being. A diet rich in produce is also a great source of minerals. Potassium is the mineral most abundant in fruits and vegetables, and is a contributor to lower blood pressure. While no single fruit or vegetable contains all vitamins and minerals, when you eat a variety of produce, you’ll be taking in an abundance of these important nutrients.
Where to start?
It’s easy to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet when you start with the things you know and love. Take a familiar dinner and veggify it! Love fish? Serve it up on a bed of greens with shredded cabbage, tomatoes and avocados, then dress with a sweet and savory mango salsa—colorful and delicious. Is pasta your thing? Try subbing the pasta with potassium-rich spaghetti squash, top it with your favorite sauce, add a side salad and you’ve got a perfect dinner. Or, take the bun out of your burger and serve it smothered in your favorite vegetables sautéed in olive oil.
Easy and delicious, juicing fruits and vegetables, either by themselves or in combinations, is a super refreshing way to get those recommended five servings a day. Check out our great article, Juicing Made Easy, where you’ll learn more and discover tasty sippable combos!
Plan your weekly meals ahead of time to stay on track with this downloadable worksheet!