Whether you love them or loathe them, we all know fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. But it’s always good to get a reminder of exactly why produce is your pal. I shared the top reasons why it’s important to consume fruits and vegetables in a recent talk for WYAO Hawaii.
Fruits and vegetables help prevent disease
When it comes to avoiding disease, fruits and vegetables are powerful defenders. This is largely because of their micronutrient content. Vitamins and minerals play in an important role in so many processes in the body and a lack of certain micronutrients can leave you vulnerable. Fruits and vegetables tend to be especially high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help limit cellular damage and because of this, they help prevent certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases. Antioxidants like Vitamins A and C are abundant in many fruits and vegetables and you definitely want these as part of your defense team.
Fruits and vegetables help you maintain a healthy weight
One reason fruits and vegetables are helpful for weight loss and weight maintenance is their high fiber content. Foods that are high in fiber help you feel full longer which makes portion control easier. In contrast, highly processed foods without much fiber like candy don’t really satiate, making it harder to stop after just one. In addition, fiber promotes healthy digestion by speeding the contents of your intestines, preventing constipation, and lowering risk of damage to the intestinal tract. Finally, fiber provides very little in the way of calories and passes through undigested.
Fiber isn’t the only reason why fruits and vegetables help with maintaining a healthy weight; they are also high in water content. Water has no calories and is important to many body processes. Because fruits and vegetables have plenty of fiber and water, they are generally very low in calories. This helps keep our overall energy intake under control.
How to get enough fruits and veggies
The visual found here helps clarify how much of every meal should come from this important category. Generally, at least half your plate should be made up of vegetables and fruit.
When it comes to produce, eating local is always ideal. Luckily, there are plenty of easy options to access high-quality produce locally. Check out these resources to get started:
- Oahu Fresh – This network of local farmers can deliver produce right to your door.
- Mao Organic Farms CSA – This CSA program lets you pick up a box of locally-grown, organic fruits and veggies periodically.
- Down to Earth – This shopping option allows for in-store, pick-up, or delivery of locally grown organic produce.
If you want to stay healthy, prevent disease, maintain a healthy weight, and generally feel great, then fruits and veggies are a great first step!
Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!