There are many benefits to eating a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can help boost your overall health.
The recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables is two to three cups per day and at least one and a half to 2 cups per day of fruits. However, many people fall short of this recommendation. According to CDC, one out of 10 adults eat the recommended fruit and vegetable portions.
Not eating fruits and vegetables can increase your risk of developing diseases because your body won't have enough resources to fight them.
Let's take a deeper look at the multiple health benefits of fruits and vegetables, plus more details about the daily serving of each. Let's get started, shall we?
The Benefits of Eating Fruit and Vegetables
The benefits of eating fruit and vegetables are numerous, including;
Can Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases
CDC reports that 6 in 10 Americans live with a chronic disease and that most of these diseases are preventable. Conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 80% through healthy eating habits, including the regular consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Prevents Weight Gain and Obesity
According to WHO, approximately one billion people worldwide are obese. Unfortunately, at least 2.8 million of those with the health condition succumb yearly. Obesity is a major risk factor for chronic diseases and breast cancer in women past menopause.
Eating fruit and vegetables can help to prevent weight gain and obesity as they are generally low in calories and high in fibre.
Maintains Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails
Veggies and fruits contain vitamins and minerals essential for skin, hair, and nail health. Vitamins A and C are important for skin health, while biotin, a B vitamin, is necessary for healthy hair and nails.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help to keep your skin hydrated and looking its best. The antioxidants in these foods can also help to protect your skin from damage from the sun and environmental pollutants.
Vitamins A, C, and E are all important for healthy and lustrous hair and can be found in many fruits and vegetables. Also, the calcium, iron, and zinc in fruits and vegetables are essential for strong, healthy nails. Eating a diet rich in these minerals can help to prevent brittle nails and keep them looking their best
Boosts Energy Levels
Many people turn to caffeine as a quick fix when tired, but this can lead to more fatigue in the long run. However, fruits and vegetables are a great source of natural energy. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to boost energy. They contain fiber, which helps keep you satisfied. Fruits and vegetables are also essential for body metabolism as they help the body convert food into energy and to repair and build tissue. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help increase your energy levels, mood, and overall health.
How to Get Your Daily Servings of Fruit and Vegetables
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults consume 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1-2 cups of fruit daily. However, the specific recommendations depend on age, gender, and activity level.
For example, the USDA recommends that women need three cups of veggies daily and males up to 50 years need two and a half cups. Every adult in the same age group needs two cups of fruit.
Furthermore, active adults (those who get more than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day) may need more fruit and vegetables than sedentary adults.
While the recommendations are a good starting point, it is important to speak with a registered dietitian or doctor to determine the specific amount of fruit and vegetables you should consume each day.
What Is Considered a Daily Serving of Fruit?
A daily serving of fruit is typically 1 cup or equivalent to about the size of a tennis ball. For example, one small apple or banana, ½ cup of fresh berries, or ¼ cup of dried fruit are all considered to be one serving.
It is important to note that fruit juices, even when they are 100% juice, do not contain the same fiber and nutrients as whole fruits. For this reason, it is best to consume whole fruits rather than juices.
Examples of fruits you can add to your diet include:
What Is Considered a Daily Serving of Vegetables?
Nine daily servings, or 2.5 cups, of vegetables are advised by the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Age affects how much, though. Each type of vegetable has a different serving size; therefore, it's better to consume a variety of veggies every day. Some of the veggies you can include in your diet are:
- Green beans
Ideas for Incorporating More Fruit and Vegetables Into Your Diet
One way to make sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables is to fill half of your plate with them at each meal. This will help to increase the overall nutrient content of your diet while also reducing the amount of calories you consume.
Another way to ensure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables is to always keep a stash of healthy snacks with you. You can also prepare meals packed with nutrient-rich foods in advance. Some easy and healthy snack ideas include:
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- A slice of whole-grain toast with avocado
- A cup of yogurt with fresh fruit
- A veggie and hummus plate
- A piece of fruit with peanut butter
- A veggie wrap with some hummus or cream cheese
- Tortilla soup with carrots
- Bell peppers stuffed with egg salad
- Root vegetable chips
- Sliced radish and guacamole
- Feta cubes and cherry tomatoes
There are endless possibilities for healthy fruit and vegetable snacks. Just get creative and have fun with it!
Additionally, here are different ways to get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables;
- Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast, or add it to your morning smoothie.
- Add veggies to your lunch or dinner plate.
- Enjoy a fruit or veggie salad as a side dish.
- Snack on raw fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery, apples, or grapes.
- Make broccoli, cauliflower, orange cantaloupe, and other healthy smoothies or shake recipes.
- Include Cardiff Blends
Additionally, always have the fruits and veggies items in your kitchen so you can make a healthy meal or snack anytime. Place them somewhere you will remember to use them often!
It's Time to Up Your Intake of Fruits & Vegetables!
As you can see, there are many benefits to consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Not only will you be getting a variety of essential nutrients, but you will also be filling up on fiber which can help to keep you feeling full throughout the day.
If you're having trouble meeting your daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, consider Cardiff's Feel Good Daily Superfood Blends. Our blends are designed to help you reach your daily nutritional goals with ease.