TheBUZZ Are fruits and vegetables really THAT good for you?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Every day, it seems there’s new information about how to stay healthy. Sometimes, it is hard to keep up with it all or to know what to believe. Here’s what research tells us: there is a connection between good nutrition and good health. Over time, more and more research has shown that fruit and veggie consumption is linked not only to optimal health but also to the prevention of serious diseases. In fact, we don’t think people truly understand just HOW good they really are for you!
WHAT WE KNOW
The growing body of nutrition research shows that fruit and veggie consumption is linked to optimal health and can play an important role in lowering the risk of developing serious diseases.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS
A recent 2012 literature review done in Germany evaluated evidence from various previous studies, concluding that:
- Increased fruit and vegetable consumption has the potential to prevent a number of chronic diseases.
- The strongest connection between fruit and vegetable consumption and the prevention of disease was found for hypertension, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
- Fruit and vegetable consumption also appears to lower the risk, but to a lesser extent, for cancer in general, as well as the incidence of osteoporosis, asthma, COPD, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and serious eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
- While fruit and vegetable intake does not seem to have a direct influence on the likelihood of developing diabetes, it may prevent weight gain, the most important risk factor for this disease.*
A diet rich in fruit and vegetables provides many nutrients your body needs to be at its best. Fruits and veggies can also reduce your risk of developing serious diseases that can rob you of your health. So, think of fruit and veggies as nature’s “prescription”—something you can take (eat) daily—to stay healthy.
Here are some strategies you can use to prevent disease by establishing good eating habits that include plenty of fruit and vegetables:
- Fill Half Your Plate. At every meal opportunity, think about how you can fill half your plate with your fruits and veggies! With so many options to choose from, it is easy to eat a colorful variety, one that you will enjoy and one that is good for your body.
- Track What You Eat. On paper, online, using an app, etc.—whatever is easy and whatever works for you! It’s the best way to ensure that you eat your recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies. Kids Tracker
- Salads & Sides. When dining out, eat from the salad bar or choose delicious fruits and veggies for your side dish or main entrée. Easy Healthy Habit-Eat More Salad!
- To Go. In a hurry to eat? No problem … take advantage of convenience foods like pre-packaged, frozen veggies, canned fruit or veggies, pre-washed salads, dried fruit, cut-up veggies, and fruit slices that are quick and easy to eat.
- Plan Ahead. For work, plan ahead to buy or make a salad the day before. Pack some cutup fruit or a fruit cup and veggies for your mid-morning and afternoon snacks. That way, you’ll have a nutritious lunch and snacks ready to eat whenever you are hungry! It’s also a great way to avoid empty calories that often seem too irresistible when hunger strikes and you don’t have any nutritious options.
- Choose Canned & Frozen. For convenience, not to mention quick meal preparation, think about using canned and frozen fruit or veggies for a healthy side dish. They are not only nutritious, but are easy to keep handy in the pantry and the freezer. All Forms Matter
- 100% Juice. Reduce the calories you drink each day and get a nutrition boost at the same time, by choosing 100% fruit or vegetable juice for your meal time beverage or snack. About 100% Juice
Boeing H., A. Bechthold A., A. Bub, et al. “Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases.” Eur J Nutr
51:637–663, 2012. View Article