A balanced and healthy diet is essential for everyone, whether you want to lose weight, have more energy, keep well, or get fit. And a balanced diet is not complete without the addition of plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis offers many different health and wellbeing benefits, including heart protection and protection against disease. Choose a variety of different types of vegetables and fruit for the optimum nutritional benefit. You should try to eat between 3 and 6 cups of vegetables and fruit each day – if you can eat more, all the better. Fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your meals as they are low in calories and packed with nutrients.
Here’s why fruits and vegetables should occupy an important place in your diet.
- Fruit and vegetables offer heart-healthy benefits. Studies show that the people who eat the most vegetables and fruits have the lowest risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. With heart disease and stroke the biggest killers in America, it is important to lower your risk in any way you can. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal. You can also lower your blood pressure by eating more fruit and vegetables.
- You can lower your cancer risk with fruits and vegetables. Certain forms of cancer can be avoided, experts say, when you enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits, are particularly useful for protecting against lung cancer, stomach cancer, mouth cancer, and throat cancer.
- Fruits and vegetables improve your digestion. Get a healthy digestive system by eating fruits and vegetables. These foods reduce the risk of constipation and help you avoid disease by clearing blockages and keeping your digestive system healthy. It is the fiber in fruits and vegetables that makes a difference – choose whole fruits and not juice as this is where the fiber remains.
- Eating fruits and vegetables can even help protect your eyes. Vitamin A, which is found in many different fruits and vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potato, helps night vision and you can also protect against macular degeneration and cataracts with fruit and veggies.