Fruits And Vegetables
What food source is the nutrient found in?
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and other plant chemicals. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables have many advantages.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It is found in dark green, orange, red, and deep yellow fruits and vegetables. Sources include apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, mustard greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It is found in citrus fruits. Sources include grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines. Vitamin C is also found in broccoli, cantaloupe, green peppers, kiwi fruits, potatoes, and strawberries.
Dark green leafy vegetables contain folate. Folate is essential for normal growth and maintenance of your body's cells. Folate is found in spinach, dried beans, liver, yeast breads, wheat germ, some fortified cereals, and mustard greens. Oranges are also a good source of folate. Some dark green leafy vegetables are also good sources of calcium.
Vegetables in the cabbage family may be natural cancer fighters. They are called cruciferous vegetables. Sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.
Experts believe that the nutrients, compounds, and phytochemicals they contain, along with their beta carotene, fiber, and vitamin C, have cancer fighting properties.
Tomatoes and tomato juice contain lycopene. This has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers, including prostate cancer.
Bananas, oranges, apricots, melon, and dried fruits contain potassium, an important mineral for the body.
How does the nutrient affect the body?
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the ideal fast food. They are low-fat and cholesterol free. They are high in complex carbohydrates. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables help protect against many diseases. These include cataracts, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. This is just a short list. There are many others.
Scientists believe that certain vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants. They protect cells from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells. This damage can lead to many chronic diseases. Beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E work as antioxidants.
Research suggests a possible link between high intakes of antioxidant vitamins and heart health. There is no concrete evidence yet. Fiber-rich foods may also help to lower blood cholesterol and promote heart health. These are more good reason to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet each day because they are rich in antioxidants.
The Food Guide Pyramid recommends eating five to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. That may sound like a lot, but the serving sizes are small.
One serving equals about:
one-half cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw vegetables
one-cup of leafy vegetables
a medium piece of fruit
one-half cup of canned fruit
- one-quarter cup of dried fruit
Most people eat only about half of the recommended amount of fruits and vetetables. Fruits and vegetables also contain less calories than equal amounts of processed foods.
Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily diet can contribute many health benefits. Canned and/or frozen fruits and vegetables can be good choices when certain fruits and vegetables are out of season.
Choose canned fruits packed in fruit juice or light syrup. Vegetables should be canned without salt or fat.
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain different amounts of healthy nutrients. Consuming a variety makes for a healthy choice that can make big differences in overall health.