The Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

Research shows that fruits and vegetables are an important piece in promoting good health.  They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers that may help protect you and your residents from chronic diseases.  When compared to people who consume small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of their diet are more likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.  Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher-calorie foods can also be a great way to reduce weight and be a natural source of energy.

Below is a great chart by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which lists specific nutrients and tells how these nutrients contribute to good health.

 

Fiber

Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects including decreased risk of coronary artery disease. Excellent vegetable sources:
navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, white beans, soybeans, split peas, chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, artichokes

 

Folate*

Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect. Excellent vegetable sources:
black eyed peas, cooked spinach, great northern beans, asparagus

 

Potassium

Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Good fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, prune juice

 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, cantaloupe, red peppers, Chinese cabbage

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
red and green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, oranges, mangoes, tomato juice, cauliflower

Good sources: These foods contain 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value per reference amount.

Excellent sources: These foods contain 20 percent or more of the Daily Value per reference amount.

*The Institute of Medicine recommends that women of childbearing age who may become pregnant consume 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid per day to supplement the folate they receive from a varied diet. Synthetic folic acid can be obtained from eating fortified foods or taking a supplement.

For more information, go to the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website on Food and Nutrion at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/.

 

 

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