Fruits And Vegetables
Everyone in the world needs fruits and vegetables to have a balanced diet but sadly not everybody can have enough of it. The new research has shown that the world is not growing enough for everybody’s need. Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables will reduce risk of future non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease.
Recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables: unlimited (minimum 5 servings)
Fruits: 3-4 servings.
Why should you choose fruits & vegetables?
- Excellent source of fiber
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Low in calories and most are fat-free
- Provide a food source of water; fruits and vegetables are made up of more than 50% water
- Abundant in phytochemicals and antioxidants.
- High consumption helps reduce risk of various diseases such as cancer, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, macular degeneration and diverticulosis.
What is the threshold effect?
Research supports evidence of an inverse relationship of fruit and vegetable consumption with development of chronic disease. This means that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to develop a chronic disease. The most significant reductions in risk of illness are seen when individuals consume 7-10 servings of fruits & vegetables per day (the threshold). Therefore, to get the most health benefits we recommend a minimum “threshold” of 7 servings of fruits & vegetables daily.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables protect cells from damage caused by metabolic by-products (free radicals), as well as toxic substances from food and the environment. Colorful plant foods are loaded with antioxidants, so eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to protect the body from oxidation and therefore reduces the risk of numerous health conditions.
Examples of antioxidants:
- Beta-carotene – carrots, cantaloupe.
- Vitamin C – citrus, cantaloupe, mango, and kiwi.
- Vitamin E – dark leafy greens, broccoli.
- Selenium – mushrooms, cabbage.
Ideas to Increase Fruits and Vegetable Consumption
- Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips and crackers.
- Add fruit to your cereal or yoghurt at breakfast.
- Order salads as an appetizer when out to dinner.
- Get creative. Add vegetables to dishes that don’t always include them, like scrambled eggs, rice or pasta dishes
- Choose salads as your main course for lunch or dinner.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season and try fruit for dessert.
- Prepare fruits and vegetables ahead of time in a way you like to eat them so they are readily available and desirable to you when you are hungry.
- Fill half of your plate with fruits and/or vegetables.