Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables in a day? Health experts recommend consuming five servings of vegetables and two of fruits every day. Are you meeting that goal?
It's very important to first understand the importance and role of fruits and vegetables in our lives. Once we get that right, it will become easier for all of us to include these items on our daily meal plates. Low in fat, salt and sugar and packed with the goodness of vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid, fruits and vegetables play significant roles in order to keep us in fine fettle, including promoting good health, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart diseases, strokes and even some cancers. Let's get into details and underline all the chief resources that fruits and vegetables provide to our bodies –
Vitamins & Minerals – Though they are found in all foods, but fruits and vegetables are particularly a good source for some vitamins and minerals. Vegetables usually contain some protein or fat, and are loaded with proportions of vitamins, pro-vitamins, dietary minerals, fiber and carbohydrates. On the other hand, fruits are low in calories, rich in fiber, and abundantly contain essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Considered a curative food, fruits help our body fight diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
Fiber – Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber, which assists digestion, reduces blood cholesterol levels, slows carbohydrate absorption, promotes satiety and may even lower the risk of heart diseases.
Phytonutrients – Anti-inflammatory in nature, they come with several health benefits. Different colors of fruits and vegetables comprise different phytochemicals essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Thus, it is vital to consume all the colors in order to benefit the most out of all phytochemicals.
Here's more on the colors of fruits and vegetables –
Foods of similar colors usually provide similar protective compounds. The ideal situation would be to consume a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables every day to enjoy maximum health benefits. Here's a lowdown on the colors –
Green Foods – Green vegetables are packed with fiber, lutein, chlorophyll, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, calcium, folate (folic acid), and beta-carotene. They help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, boost immune system, and support retinal health.
Red Foods – They are rich in nutrients like lycopene, Quercetin, and ellagic acid, which are important for fighting prostate cancer and heart diseases.
Orange & Yellow – They contain zeaxanthin, vitamin C, lycopene, potassium, beta-carotene and flavonoids that lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, fight prostate cancer and harmful free radicals, promote alkaline balance, and build healthy bones and joints.
Blue & Purple Foods – Consisting nutrients such as zeaxanthin, vitamin C, lutein, resveratrol, ellagic acid, quercetin, fiber and flavonoids, these help protect the body from cancer along with offering various other health benefits like boosting immune system, lowering LDL cholesterol, supporting healthy digestion, and fighting inflammation.
White Foods – As they are rich in nutrients like sulforaphane, lignans and beta-glucans, these help protect our bodies against colon, breast and prostate cancers as well as hormone-related cancers.
Recommended Servings: Two and a half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruits every day.