Adding fruits and vegetables to a daily diet offers many health benefits. Nutrients and fiber combine to fight coronary heart disease (CHD), lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of some cancers. The results of numerous studies and clinical trials provide consistent evidence that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Diets with higher intakes of fruits and vegetables are consistently associated with risk reductions in CHD and stroke. Adding more fruits and vegetables to a sensible diet is one way to lower high blood pressure, which directly contributes to heart disease and stroke.
Some compounds may contribute to the cardioprotective effects of fruits and vegetables, including vitamin C, folate, potassium, and various phytochemicals. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body. No single fruit or vegetable delivers the most benefit, so it's best to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Numerous case-control studies show that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of different types of cancer, particularly cancers of the digestive tract and lung. Fiber is always an important element for a healthy colon and absorption of nutrients.
Many organizations like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) suggest filling half the plate at mealtimes with fruits and vegetables. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried fruits and vegetables and 100% juices all count toward daily fruit and veggie requirements.
Here are some examples of a serving of fruits and vegetables:
6 ounces of fruit or vegetable juice
1 medium sized apple or orange or 1 small banana
1 cup of raw salad greens
½ cup of cooked vegetables
½ cup of chopped fruit or vegetables
¼ cup of dried fruit
Combining fruits and vegetables with other fiber sources deliver even more health benefits. Snacking on dried fruits and nuts adds nutrients as well as fiber. A sandwich of whole grain breads with accompanying vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions also provides fiber and nutrients. Tasty treats don?t have to be fried.
Using more fruits and vegetables is part of a balanced diet that adds fiber and reduces calories. Better food choices and being physically active help people reduce the risk of chronic diseases as they promote overall health.
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