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).