Today is the first day of Nutrition Week (March 3rd-7th), and today’s focus is on fruit and vegetables. Each day I will share nutrition information about different aspects of our diet. Tomorrow will be focused on lean protein and so on. But back to talking about fruits and vegetables.
Well, your parents got it right when they said “eat your vegetables”. This statement can also be applied to “eat your fruit”. Fruit and vegetables continue to be an important part of a healthy diet. Research shows fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other substances that are good for your health.
We dietitians like to say “eat a rainbow” of produce every day. Your goal when eating fruit and vegetables is to eat a variety of types and colors- no single fruit and vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need so be sure to mix it up. Plus every color contains a different phytochemical. For example orange fruits and vegetables like carrots contain beta carotene which is good for your eyes. And yellow foods contain lutein which is good for your immune system.
In addition to eating a rainbow of produce, you want to make sure you are consuming the desired amount of fruits and vegetables. You can go to this website to figure out how many fruits and vegetables you need. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/fruitsvegetables/howmany.html . Personally, I need 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables. So what counts as a cup? Check out image I have attached with post for more information.
Try to incorporate fruit and vegetables into your diet. Don’t get stuck in a rut, try new options like kumquats or Asian pears. There are so many options to choose from so try something new this week.