Most people should add at least nine servings (41/2 cups) of vegetables and fruits a day, excluding potatoes. Go for color and variety - dark green, white, yellow, orange, and red, (Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables), to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs.
Fruits Definition - Botanically speaking, fruits are fleshy reproductive organs of plants, the ripened ovaries containing one or many seeds, such as apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, juniper berries and bananas.
Vegetable Definition - Generally speaking, a herbaceous plant or plant part which is regularly eaten as unsweetened or salted food by humans is considered to be a vegetable.
Start adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet and reap the benefits.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits helps lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, and probably some cancers, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and adds a mellowing effect on blood sugar that can help keep your appetite in check.
If you are not eating fresh fruit on a daily basis, you should be as fresh fruit is very important in the diet. Fruits are low in calories, full of fiber, and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Fruit is full of water and has no bad cholesterol. Fruit is considered a healing food, that helps your body fight diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
Some vegetables can be consumed raw, some may be eaten raw or cooked, and some must be cooked in order to be edible. Vegetables are most often cooked in savory or salty dishes. However, a few vegetables are often used in desserts and other sweet dishes, such as rhubarb pie and carrot cake.
Vegetables are eaten in a variety of ways, as part of main meals and as snacks.
The nutritional content of vegetables varies considerably, though generally they contain little protein or fat, and varying proportions of vitamins, provitamins, dietary minerals, fiber and carbohydrates. Vegetables contain a great variety of other phytochemicals, some of which have been claimed to have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties.
Green Vegetables and Fruit
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity.
White fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG, and lignans that provide powerful immune boosting activity. These nutrients also activate natural killer B and T cells, reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and balance hormone levels, reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers.
Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Similar to the previous nutrients, these nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anti-carcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells.
Orange and Yellow fruits and vegetables
Contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macula degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.
Red Fruits and Vegetables
Contain nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin, to name a few. These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, scavenge harmful free-radicals, and support join tissue in arthritis cases.
See our full article including a color chart of fruit and vegetables.
:: Study Finds Lutein May Counter Cognitive Aging - Lutein may play a protective role against age-related cognitive decline, suggests a study by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Naiman Khan and postdoctoral researcher Anne Walk.
:: Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Help Achieve Nutrition Goals - Research shows consumers of frozen fruits and vegetables have significantly greater intakes of key healthy nutrients, such as potassium, fiber and calcium.
:: Consuming Up To 10 Portions of Fruit and Vegetables a Day May Prevent Premature Death - A fruit and vegetable intake above five per day shows major benefit in reducing chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death.