Why Eating Your Fruits and Vegetables Matters
Consuming a balanced and healthy diet can have huge impacts on your physical and mental health. Working out and challenging your body is great, but you also need to be aware of what you’re eating. Eating poorly can undo all the good work that you’ve done and eating well can enhance the work you’ve done. By eating nutrients and fuel you need in a healthy way, you will be setting your body up for success. Portion control and being aware of what you’re consuming can catapult you into achieving your fitness goals. The most commonly under-consumed food group is fruits and vegetables. Not only can fruits and vegetables help you look good, but they have a big impact on your body’s ability to fight against disease and sickness.
As the United States faces an increasing epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases that stem from overeating or from being overweight, more and more studies are being performed to try and discover what types of foods are ideal. Obesity is associated with heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, stroke, sleep apnea, and reproductive issues (Wagner, Rhee, Honrath, Blodgett, & Donna-Terbizan, 2016). Studies have found that fruit and vegetable consumption has been great to aid in weight loss and healthier bodies and even in decreasing chronic diseases (Wagner, Rhee, Honrath, Blodgett, & Donna-Terbizan, 2016). Despite the knowledge that fruits and vegetables are good for your health, many American adults still don’t eat have enough of them in their diet. While there may be issues of availability or affordability, the fact remains that most American’s are not getting their daily nutrients via fruits and vegetables. However, one study found that simply educating people during weekly nutrition lessons that focused on the benefits of fruits and vegetables resulted in people consuming a higher percentage of fruits and veggies (Wagner, Rhee, Honrath, Blodgett, & Donna-Terbizan, 2016). During these weekly lessons, people were taught about how to purchase, store, clean, cook, and create snacks from fruits and vegetables so that perceived barriers and lack of knowledge were broken down (Wagner, Rhee, Honrath, Blodgett, & Donna-Terbizan, 2016). Fruits and vegetables have a great nutrient profile and are high in fiber and generally pretty low in calories so they are an excellent addition or substitute for unhealthy portions of your meals.(Wagner, Rhee, Honrath, Blodgett, & Donna-Terbizan, 2016).
A lot of weight is usually put on whether your food is organic or not. While organic fruits and vegetables are ideal and have been shown to have higher levels of vitamin C and lower levels of toxins like pesticides, regular produce still satisfies all of your nutritional requirements, so don’t worry too much about spending extra to get organic (Chen, 2005). In fact, regardless of if it’s organic or not, one fruit is extremely effective at aiding in the common cold. That fruit is the kiwi. Kiwi consumption was found to significantly reduce congestion, sore throat symptoms, as well as reduce bacteria and cold causing cells (Skinner, 2012). It was even found that regular consumption of kiwis reduced the frequency in which people caught colds in the first place (Skinner, 2012). Fruits and plant-based foods as a whole have all been found to be associated with disease and cold prevention though so you don’t just have to go kiwi-crazy during cold season (Skinner, 2012). While consuming daily fruit and veggies can help with colds, it can also make a huge impact on your overall health too. People who consumed one or more whole piece of fruit a day were found to have a reduced incidence of obesity and had lower blood pressure than those who consumed less than one whole piece of fruit a day (Choi, Ha, Joung, & Song, 2019). Consumption of fruits or vegetables also correlated to a reduced risk of 10-year weight gain (Choi, Ha, Joung, & Song, 2019). While recently there has been worry about sugar intake, fruits have simple and unprocessed sugar which our bodies need to use for energy (Choi, Ha, Joung, & Song, 2019). What you do want to stay away from though is fruit juice. Fruit juice has all of the sugar from fruit but without many of the positive things that fruits bring with them. Often, the antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients get stripped out in the juicing process and you’re left with flavored sugar water, which, as you might guess, isn’t great for you (Choi, Ha, Joung, & Song, 2019). Ultimately, the antioxidants, polyphenols, healthy sugars, and fiber from fruits and vegetables all contribute to living a healthy and full life (Joubert & Gelderblom, 2016).
All in all, those that ate fruit and vegetables more consistently were found to be healthier, live longer, be less susceptible to colds, and weighed less than those who did not consume the recommended 28 ounces a day of fruits and vegetables. Integrating them into your meals can be easy and fun and we’re happy to help you discover ways to start eating healthier.
Want to start your journey on learning how to integrate more fruits and vegetables into your life? Check out our awesome grocery store tours and free healthy eating cooking classes. They’re a great way to get ideas on how to spice up your meals in healthy way. Also make sure to combine your healthy eating with good physical fitness classes like our free dance fitness course or talk to one of our personal trainers to get a more tailored workout plan. We can also help you achieve your goals one step at a time with our positive affirmation workshops or 30/30 wellness class! Make sure to check out all of our services at www.mooroutoflife.com
Chen, M. C. (2005). Organic Fruits and Vegetables: Potential Health Benefits and Risks. Nutrition Noteworthy.