The importance of fruits and vegetables is no secret, but there may be more advantages to a fruit-and-veggie-filled diet than you realize! Here’s a closer look at the many benefits of fruits and vegetables, followed by some ideas for how to eat more vegetables and fruits, so that you can be inspired and equipped to eat healthy.
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are significant parts of a healthy diet, so when you add fruits and veggies to your daily menu, you’ll reap the benefits of healthy food and good nutrition. Eating fruits and vegetables supports your overall health in a variety of ways as shown below, and adopting a healthier diet can also lead to an improved lifestyle and boosted satisfaction.
Fruits and vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet because they give us necessary nutrients that we can’t always produce ourselves, like fiber. They also provide beneficial vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
Some of the most nutritious fruits are apples, blueberries, mangos, and pineapples. However, certain fruits offer different kinds of nutrients. This means that you can cater your fruit choices to your specific dietary needs. In general, however, it’s best to have a wide variety so you can get the most nutrition!
Spinach, carrots, and broccoli are among the healthiest vegetables, but again, consuming a variety is best. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and you’ll introduce a wealth of nutrients to your diet, along with a pleasing array for your tastebuds!
Studies have also shown a correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption and vision health. Introducing more fruits and vegetables to your diet “may help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases—cataracts and macular degeneration.” This prevention is especially helped by lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in green vegetables like spinach and kale.
Eating fruits and vegetables can also help you maintain a healthy blood pressure. One study found that “a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods and with reduced saturated and total fat can substantially lower blood pressure.” In the study, subjects eating more fruit and vegetables than the control diet showed improvements on par with taking blood pressure medications!
These blood pressure benefits mostly come from foods that are rich in potassium. Potassium-rich vegetables include “sweet potato, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, acorn squash, kohlrabi, and yucca.” The healthiest fruits for blood pressure include bananas, prunes, honeydew, sapote, and jackfruit.
People whose diets feature more fruits and vegetables also experience decreased risk for certain diseases. These kinds of diets have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as help prevent certain kinds of cancer.
7 Tips for Eating More Fruits and Vegetables
- Display fruit where you can see it. That way, you’ll have visual cues to remind you to eat more fruit.
- Keep snack-sized portions easily accessible. Wash, chop up, and bag portions of fruits and vegetables and leave them in easy-to-spot places in your refrigerator. The convenience of these grab bags will encourage you to eat these healthier snacks.
- Find delicious recipes. Rounding up some delectable meal ideas will get you to eat more vegetables and be excited for it! You can choose whatever delights you, from simple salads to spectacular soups.
- Try Meatless Mondays. Cutting back on meat (particularly red meat) can be helpful for your health, your budget, and the environment, too! Explore vegetarian recipes that bring healthy veggies to the forefront.
- Cool off with smoothies in the summer. An icy blend of fruits can be the perfect way to beat the summer heat!
- Explore the produce section for something new or seasonal. Unfamiliar fruits or vegetables, or ones that are only available for a limited time of the year, can inspire excitement!
- Remember that frozen fruits and veggies can be just as healthy as fresh ones. Whether you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget or taking advantage of the convenience, frozen (and even canned) foods can be financially friendly alternatives.
How We Help
We at the SLO Food Bank believe that everyone has the right to nutritious food. That’s why we work hard to ensure access to fresh food for everyone in our community. We structure our programs in a few different ways to make fresh produce more accessible and affordable for those who need it. We also promote food assistance programs like CalFresh, while hosting food distributions in the most rural areas of our county, where a grocery store may be more than 50 miles away.
With our network of community partners in San Luis Obispo, we strive to alleviate hunger and to build a healthier community. If you’re in the area, check out our Food Locator to find food sources near you, or support our cause through volunteer opportunities or donations, if you are able to give. With reliable access to wholesome food, we are all healthier, happier, and more productive members of our communities. Donate today to help us bring health and happiness to San Luis Obispo County!