Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

Do you know the actual health benefits of fruits and vegetables or just that you’re supposed to eat them? Moms have been telling their children for generations to “Eat your vegetables!” and while we spend plenty of time reinforcing healthy food choices, we don’t spend enough time talking about why certain foods are better than others. Here are some answers to those questions.

Nutrients

Eating fruits and vegetables provides you with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from stroke, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Your recommended calorie intake depends on your age, gender, and average daily activity level. In general, adults should eat five to nine servings (serving = ½ cup) of each every day. Single fruits and vegetables are usually not labeled, but packages of fresh produce often include nutritional facts labels, making it easier to figure out serving size and nutritional info.

Variety

The different colors that fruits and vegetables come in indicate that they each have something different to offer your body, so it is ideal to eat a wide variety of colors. Each color offers a certain range of nutrients such as fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Brighten up meal time by adding some green broccoli, orange carrots, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red strawberries and white cauliflower to your plate.

Diet

Substituting fruits and vegetables instead of higher calorie snacks throughout the day not only gives you more of the nutrients that you need, but is also great for weight management. One of the best benefits of fruits and veggies is having calories that work for you instead of against you. Fresh fruit such as apples and bananas make great between-meal snacks, and adding a leafy green salad to lunch helps fill you up.

In an on-the-go lifestyle, fresh fruit and vegetables aren’t always an option. Healthy To Go products, like powdered drink mixes, give you convenient access to antioxidant rich foods and are made from 100% natural ingredients, including fruits and vegetables.

What are Antioxidants and Why do I Need Them?

You’ve heard of them. You know they’re good for you. You may even know which foods contain them. But what are antioxidants and why are they so important?

We offers a brief guide to this crucial component of nutrition so that you can be better informed to make good healthy eating choices.

The Science

As your body breaks down food, a series of complex chemical reactions takes place, including what is called oxidation. As part of the oxidation process, free radicals are produced, which can start chain reactions that damage your body’s cells. Free radicals can also enter your body through environmental exposure to things such as tobacco smoke and radiation. Antioxidants are molecules capable of stopping free radicals from causing these chain reactions and protecting your body’s cells from the harm that comes from them.

Where to Look

There are many antioxidants capable of protecting your body from free radicals and many more places to find them. Some of the most commonly known are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These are all found in a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, but also in nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry, and fish.

Staying Healthy

Free radicals cannot be avoided completely; in fact, the oxidation reactions that your body produces as part of its natural processes are crucial for maintaining life. However, you can minimize your exposure to harmful environmental free radicals by not smoking and wearing sunscreen when you spend time outside. Including a variety of antioxidant rich foods as part of a well-balanced diet is the best way to protect your cells from unwanted exposure to free radicals.