Technically speaking, a Fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetable refers to the edible parts of the plant, such as roots, leaves and stems. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They are good sources of fiber and are packed with lots of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables has many benefits including maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of many diseases. Adults should aim to have at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day.
The World Health Organization has estimated that roughly 3.9 million deaths worldwide were attributable to inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption in 2017. Foods that contain lots of salt, sugar and fat, often taste good, are addictive, are cheap and are easily available. However, these foods are high in calories and are low in nutrients, and they often cause numerous health problems. Additionally, many persons choose not to eat as much fruits and vegetables, because some are not as tasty, some are more costly and they may be less available. Nonetheless, in order to achieve optimal health, it is critical that we strive to make healthier choices.
Fruits and vegetables contain different kinds of vitamins and minerals including:
BENEFITS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes
There is persuasive evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke, and can even help to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Green leafy vegetables are likely to contribute more to this.
A report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that there may be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer.
Eating lots of fruit and vegetables can help to maintain a healthy weight, because they are naturally low in calories and fat.
Gastrointestinal (Digestive) health
Fruits and vegetables contain indigestible fiber, which absorbs water and expands as they pass through the digestive system. This can activate regular bowel movements, which can relieve and/or prevent constipation.
Eating fruits and vegetables can keep your eyes healthy, and may help prevent common age-related eye diseases such as cataracts, which affects many elderly persons.
Add fruits and vegetables to your breakfast.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your lunch or dinner.
Have more fruits as snacks.
I hope these tips on Fruits and Vegetables were helpful; Remember, Your Health is Invaluable.
By Dr. J. Lawarna Matthew
American Heart Association
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
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