Nutritional Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables, especially whole foods, are a nutritious healthy diet, because they have many vitamins, minerals, and protective plant compounds that improve your overall health and prevent diseases. Due to their nutritional content, it is recommended a minimum intake of eight portions a day. Studies indicate that a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression.
Key Nutrients in Fruits and Vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables is the best way to provide your body with essential nutrients like fiber, calcium, potassium, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Fiber supports digestive health and slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Potassium regulates blood pressure. Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin healthy, and protects your body against infections. Vitamin C heals wounds and boosts your energy levels. Certain fruits and vegetables contain healthy fats that slow down the aging process and protect your heart.
These nutritious plant-based foods contain diverse mixtures of phytonutrients with antioxidant effects, protecting the body from free radical damage. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against degenerative diseases and prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It also reduces the risk of breast, prostate, lung, colon, and bladder cancer. Broccoli contains folic acid, vitamin C and beta-carotene, all of which can protect against cardiovascular disease. Blueberries are rich in flavonoids that fight against infection and improve circulation.
Why Are These Whole Foods Important?
Apart from healthy dietary supplements, nutritious fruit and vegetables should be part of your daily diet. Not only they protect the body against diseases, but they also promote health and well-being. They are low in fat, salt and sugar, and provide significant amounts of dietary fiber. Consumption of fruit and vegetables, or nutritional supplements, has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related functional decline, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and cataracts. Plant-based foods, which contain significant amounts of bioactive phytochemicals, may also provide desirable health benefits beyond basic nutrition.