Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet, and they’re also the main ingredient in the so-called superfoods that are all the rage right now. You’ve heard of kale, quinoa, and chia seeds. But what about apricots, raspberries, and blueberries? There are a lot of fruits and vegetables out there that have been dubbed “superfoods”, and they’re all touted to contain a wide variety of health benefits. Let’s get to know some of the more popular ones, and find out what they can do for you.

“All About Fruits & Veggies” is a health care blog written by a guy who loves to eat healthy. He started it to inform and educate his friends about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and it has grown into a health care blog that offers tips on how to go about living a healthier life.

What are fruit and vegetables?

The term vegetable is not really a scientific term and simply refers to the edible part of the plant: Roots/tubes, stems, leaves, etc.

The fruit is the part of the plant that contains the seeds. If you want to understand botany, a fruit is the fleshy or dry, ripe ovary of a plant.

We often think that fruit is always sweet, but that’s not necessarily true. For example:

Fruit Vegetables
Avocado
Coconut*
Coffee
Cucumber
Eggplant
Pepper
Squash
Tomato
Beet
Cabbage
Carrots
Cabbage
Onions
Potatoes
Spinach
Sweet potatoes

* The fruit portion of the coconut is a fibrous husk that is not edible.

We think of mushrooms as vegetables, but they are actually mushrooms and not plants. (But they’re still good to us!).

Why is adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables so important?

It will be hard to find a reason not to eat fruits and vegetables every day.

  • They produce alkali, which can help maintain bone mass and muscle tissue.
  • They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
  • They contain a lot of water to keep you hydrated.
  • Fruits and vegetables are rich in water and fiber, and contain few calories relative to their volume. Regular consumption of them can lead to an increase in food intake. Since a person eats a constant amount of food, a high intake of low-calorie foods can help control overall food intake and manage body weight. See: What are your four books made of?

Antioxidants

Plant foods, especially colored foods, are an important source of antioxidants. We need many of these substances to fight free radicals in the body.

Many plant antioxidants are stored in the leaves, where oxygen is actively involved in photosynthesis. Others are found in plant pigments (e.g., anthocyanins, which give blackberries and blueberries their blue-violet color) and in protective chemicals in plant peels (e.g., quercetin in apple peels).

Fat-soluble antioxidants are most concentrated in fatty plant materials – such as sprouts.

Research shows that a diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds (such as those found in fruits and vegetables) can reduce age-related cognitive decline and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Results from epidemiological and clinical studies strongly suggest that a plant-rich diet (with plenty of fruits and vegetables) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. For example, experts estimate that, by simply increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, 20% or more of all cancers can be prevented and about 200,000 cancer deaths can be avoided each year.

What you should know

Pre-humans may have eaten meat, but our ancestors did not neglect plants. After all, a tuber is much easier to kill than a boar. Our ancestors ate an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and we have evolved to enjoy the benefits of plant-based nutrients.

Fruit and vegetables should form the basis of everyone’s food pyramid. They form the basis of a healthy and high-quality diet.

Reduction of disease risk

Higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower morbidity:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Colorectal cancer
  • High cholesterol in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • Prostate cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Eye Disease
  • Asthma
  • Cervical cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

All good

Leafy vegetables in particular are very beneficial. But remember: Most food is good.

Diversity is also important. Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the variety of fruits and vegetables consumed and their nutritional value.

More fruit and vegetables = better overall diet

Most fruits and vegetables are low on the glycemic index and do not cause significant changes in blood glucose and insulin levels. This can promote satiety and improve body composition.

A diet based on fruits and vegetables generally contains less saturated fat and cholesterol and more fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals.

Consumption of fruits and vegetables in the form of green supplements is likely to provide similar nutrients and can be used when whole fresh produce is not available.

Are organic products better?

If you are concerned about the difference in health benefits and nutrients between conventional and organic fruits and vegetables, read the following article: All about organic food

Summary and recommendations

Try to eat some kind of vegetable and/or fruit at almost every meal.

For additional credit

Do you sometimes feel like you’re eating the same two fruits and vegetables over and over again? Try new ones. You can start there: List of Vegetables | List of Fruit

Are you passionate about culinary ideas? Try AllRecipes.com and search by ingredients. There are no excuses!

Another advantage of eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables is that little fossil fuels and water are required to produce plant-based foods.

You can use vegetable juice if you have trouble eating a whole vegetable, but keep in mind that you’ll be missing out on some health benefits. Vegetable and fruit juices usually contain fiber, which is very important.

For those who justify the lack of vegetables in their diet by taking a multivitamin – sorry, but supplementing one’s vitamin intake, as opposed to actually eating fruits and vegetables, does not provide the same benefits.

Credit: Nina Matthews Photography

References

Click here to see the sources of information referenced in this article.

Joseph J, et al. Nutrition, brain aging and neurodegeneration. J Neurosci 2009;29:12795-12801.

Hu FB. Influence of diet and lifestyle on the risk of coronary heart disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep 2009;11:257-263.

Amin AR, et al. Prospects for cancer prevention with natural products. J Clin Oncol 2009;27:2712-2725.

Anand P, et al. Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes. Pharm Res 2008;25:2097-2116.

Vainio H & Weiderpass E. Fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cancer. Nutr Cancer 2006;54:111-142.

Barnard ND, et al. A guide to nutrition for clinicians. 1. Traffic. PCRM. Printed in Canada. 2007.

Craig WJ & Mangels AR. American Dietetic Association Position Paper – Vegetarian Diets. J Am Diet Assoc 2009;109:1266-1282.

Ford ES, et al. Healthy living is the best revenge: Results of the European prospective study on cancer and nutrition – Potsdam study. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:1355-1362.

Rolls BJ. Relationship between dietary energy density and energy intake. Physiol Behav 2009;97:609-615.

Cassileth BR, et al. The impact of herbs and supplements on public health. Pharm Biol 2009;47:761-767.

 

More information

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the importance of fruits?

Fruits are important because they provide a lot of nutrients and vitamins. They also contain antioxidants that help to fight against free radicals.

Did you know facts about fruits?

Fruits are the edible parts of plants that have seeds inside.

What are the 10 fruits?

1. Apple 2. Banana 3. Blueberry 4. Grapefruit 5. Honeydew melon 6. Kiwi 7. Lemon 8. Lime 9 . Mango 10 . Orange

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