Updated: May 20, 2022
All hail these powerful foods!
Fruits and veggies. You either hate 'em, love 'em, or eat them solely to reap the benefits they provide. If you're from the South, you fry them to get them extra tasty (I'll fight for a good helping of fried okra. Don't test me).
According to the USDA, the average American eats around 0.9 cups of fruit and 1.4 cups of vegetables per day. However, the current recommendation is at least 5 servings. The serving size can vary based on the food. For example 1 cup of raw or cooked fruits and vegetables, .5 cups of legumes, and 3 cups of leafy greens.
Regardless of why (or if) you eat fruits and veggies, it's always a good idea to figure out why it is recommended to incorporate a good amount into your daily life (the unfried version, unfortunately).
1. Fiber is King
Fruits and Veggies have fiber!! The average American adult only eats around 10 to 15 grams, whereas the recommended amount is 25 (for women) to 38 (for men) grams a day minimum.
Fiber is the indigestible part of a plant. It plays a key role in gut health, regular bowel movements, and regular consumption helps prevent a myriad of health problems.
In fact, pretty much all of the points below circle back to fiber!
2. Controlled Appetite
Fruits and veggies are relatively low in calories but are very filling! Eating a variety every day can help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing spikes in hunger. This is particularly helpful if you are trying to transition from the standard American diet and pursue weight management. Eating food that retrains our body to recognize satiety will help reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, digestive problems triggered by overeating such as GERD, and sluggishness that many feel after eating a large meal.
3. Essential Vitamins and Minerals
They contain vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function, rebuild, and support immunity. There are many toxins we come into contact with in the world and these powerhouse nutrients protect us from them.
Vitamins come from the plant itself and include C, A, E, K, and folate to name a few. Minerals are absorbed by the plant from its environment. These include calcium, potassium, zinc, etc.
A diet rich in diverse plants provides you with the nutrients you need to function optimally day-to-day, as well as prevent premature aging, boost immunity, and promote healthy eyes, hair, skin, and nails. You may also notice an increase in energy and better recovery from workouts or injury.
4. Potentially reduces the risk of some health risks
After incorporating more fruit and veggies into their diet, many have reported lower blood pressure, improved eyesight, improved digestive health, and regulated blood sugar.
There have also been compelling studies that show eating fruits and veggies in their food form (not supplements or juices) reduces the risk for some cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
This can be super encouraging if your family has a history of these problems. While our genetics may put us at a predisposed disadvantage, our lifestyle and actions can either combat that or enable it.
Fun articles to check out for more research!
If you want to dive a little deeper into the studies around fruits and veggies check out these articles! These are definitely for the people who enjoy looking into more "sciency" articles so keep that in mind.
Harvard School of Public Health - Vegetables and Fruits
Harvard School of Public Health - Vitamins and Minerals
NCCIH - Antioxidants In Depth
If you need a little help incorporating a healthy diet into your lifestyle or are feeling overwhelmed with your digestive health, schedule a free 30-minute discovery call with Danielle here!
Our favorite feedback is hearing that our clients are discovering life with reduced symptoms and are able to live worry-free! You don't have to suffer through life, and we would love to support you on your journey!