5 Reasons You Should Load Up on Fruits and Vegetables Every Day
August 05, 2022
You already know that fruits and veggies are good for you, but you may not know just how good.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fruits and veggies can also help promote healthy skin, eyes and bones. They bolster your immune system and lower the risk of digestive problems and some types of cancer.
Here are five reasons you should eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day:
- Cancer and heart disease protection. There’s ample evidence that a produce-rich diet can lower risk of heart attacks and stroke. Phytochemicals, which are compounds found in plant foods, can also help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer. A 2021 study found that people who ate five servings of fruit and vegetables daily had a 12 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 10 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.
- Diabetes prevention. Studies involving more than 180,000 men and women found that those who consumed the most whole fruits – specifically, blueberries, grapes, apples, bananas and grapefruit – had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. A more recent large study found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 50 percent.
- Gut-friendly fiber. The fiber in fruits and vegetables help bolster the immune system. Fiber-rich plants support the microbiome – microorganisms that are important to gut health and immune function. Undigestible fiber passes through the digestive system and also helps prevent constipation and reduces risk of diverticulosis.
- Eye health. Minerals and vitamins in fruits and vegetables help promote healthy eyes. Red berries, kiwi, bell peppers, leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes are among those with properties that help prevent eye diseases. A carotenoid called lutein, found in many colorful fruits and vegetables, can improve or prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.
- Bone density. Fruits and vegetables play an important role in building bone density and protecting against diseases such as osteoporosis. Fruits and veggies are good sources of vitamins C, K and A, as well as magnesium, potassium and carotenoids – all of which promote healthy bones.
The Clinical Nutrition Department at University Hospitals provides comprehensive nutrition services to improve the health and quality of life for patients. Learn more.