How Does Fruits and Vegetables Impact Your Nutrition

By: Jaydee | Posted: 12th February 2010

When you were growing up, you proberbly thought your parents and teachers was being a pain for insisting that you eat your fruits and vegetables. You may not have realized it then, but they were doing you a great favor. It turned out that fruits and vegetables are an essential part of our diet, providing a wide range of vitamins and minerals that serve numerous important functions in the body.

For years U.S. Department of Health has recommended including at least five portions of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet.

Many people, however, are still not getting the message they remain delinquent in their fruit and vegetable intake. Regretfully only one in seven does achieve this quota. In fact, a full 33% of American adults eats only two servings of fruits and vegetables a day and are more likely to opt for an unhealthy snack instead. On a daily basis, about half the population eats no fruit at all.

A Ton of Reasons: There are a tons of reasons to eat a variety of colors from the produce dept. Fruits and vegetables are basically fat free, low in salt and an excellent source of fiber.

Some fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and spinach, contain potassium, which supports proper nerve and muscle functioning. Other fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and cantaloupe, supply Vitamin A, which maintains eye health and immunity. Green vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus provides Vitamin B, which is necessary for converting food into energy.

All fruits and vegetables are loaded with phytonutrients, the health-promoting components of plants. Studies have shown that phytonutrients can help protect seven key organs, including the heart, liver, eyes and skin.

Antioxidant Properties: Researches that measured the total antioxidant power of various foods, placed fruits and vegetables at the top of the list.

Antioxidants are known to protect our bodies from free radicals that can cause damage to cellular membranes. Antioxidants also help to make our muscles stronger, boost our immunity, and support bone and skin health.

Colorful fruits and vegetables derive their antioxidant properties from the chemical that causes their various colors. It is therefore very beneficial to consume fruit and vegetables from all the different color groups.

The seven food color groups and their properties.

1.Red.

Tomato, tomato juices, watermelon, pink grapefruit, red plum: Produces Lycopene which has shown to inhibit cancer cell growth in laboratory test.

2.Red/Purple

Grapes, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, prunes, red apples. Proanthocyanidins protect against urine infections.ellagic acid inhibits cancer cell growth.

3.Green

Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Bok Choy. Produces Isothio-cyanates which increases liver proteins for defending against carcinogens.

4.Green/Yellow

Spinach, corn, collard greens, kale, avocado, mustard greens. Lutein protects vision, the heart, and inhibits cancer cell growth.

5. Orange

Carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, mangos, apricots. Beta carotene protects vision and immune function.

6.Orange/Yellow

Oranges, lemons, papaya, peaches, nectarines, pineapple. Flavonoids inhibit tumor growth and repair DNA. Limonoids in the skin of oranges and lemon inhibit tumor growth.

7.Green/White

Garlic, onion, celery, chives, pears, leeks. Allyl sulfides inhibit tumor cell growth.

A study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's, suggest that: Eating more fruits and vegetables can also help lower cholesterol. In the study, the 4466 subjects consumed on average a shade over 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Men and women with the highest daily consumption (more than 4 servings a day) had significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol than those with lower consumption

Exactly how fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol is still something of a mystery. It just may be that eating more fruits and vegetables result in eating less meat and dairy products, and thus less cholesterol-boosting saturated fat. Soluble fiber in fruits and vegetables may also block the absorption of cholesterol from food.

The next time you feel the urge for a snack why not try a half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. Blueberries are one of the best antioxidant-rich foods, they have been so effective in retarding aging in laboratory animals that they can block brain changes leading to decline and even reverse failing memory.

If you are having difficulty eating the recommended daily servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, you may want to add dietary supplements to your diet. Dietary supplements can provide you with the powerful phytonutrients and antioxidant benefits found in seven servings of colorful fruits and vegetables. It also supports your body's vital organs by providing them with key nutrients.

By making the effort to follow your mom's advice by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day, you may be doing your body one of the biggest favors ever.


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Jerry Gunning is a Personal Wellness Coach who teaches clients that good nutrition is vital to wellness and support the overall quality of life.
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Tags: vitamins and minerals, daily basis, parents and teachers, fruits and vegetables, antioxidants, researches, free radicals, cantaloupe, broccoli, vitamin b, green vegetables, american adults, u s department, eye health, fruit and vegetable