Your mom always told you that eating fruits & vegetables was good for you. But do you know that research continues to show how eating fruits & vegetables can affect your health significantly for the good? Almost all fruits & vegetables are chock full of potassium, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial, protective compounds. Let’s look at some of what is known up to now:
Blood Pressure, Heart Disease & Stroke
High blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults in the US, increasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes. It is estimated that half of all strokes and 45% of all deaths due to heart disease could be prevented if blood pressure was controlled. One key to lowering blood pressure is eating more fruits & vegetables. Rich in potassium, a higher intake (4 - 5 cups daily) can cause blood pressure to decrease in as little as 2 weeks.
More and more research is linking a plant-based diet, including lots of fruits & vegetables, to a substantially lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This is partially linked to the fact that those who eat more fruits & vegetables also often have other healthier lifestyle habits, and a lower body weight.
High in fiber, fruits & veggies help your digestive system work optimally. In addition, the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help the healthy bacteria grow, optimizing your health from the inside out.
Adequate fruits & vegetables may keep your eyes healthy, decreasing the risk of developing two common problems- cataracts & macular degeneration.
It is becoming increasingly clear in research that fruits and vegetables have significant beneficial effects on the brain, protecting against some kinds of cognitive decline, even Alzheimer’s disease.
Fruits & vegetables contain a high percentage of water in them, thereby filling you up on fewer calories and helping control appetite.
What to Do
Daily Recommended Amounts are 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit (2 whole fruits) and 2-3 cups of vegetables. Most Americans get less than half of the recommended amounts. Fried potatoes and chips don't count.
So where might you add one more fruit a day? Can you eat a larger serving of vegetables and try to eat vegetables and/or a salad daily? These simple methods can double your intake and use the power of food to strengthen your health. More power to you!