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Fruits & Veggies — More Matters

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables fuels your body with the essential vitamins and minerals so you can be your best. These foods can improve your health and lower your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Plus, fruits and veggies are energizing, loaded with nutrients, low in calories, and full of water to help you maintain a healthy weight.

It doesn't matter which fruits or vegetables you eat, they're all good for you. So, eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies to reap all their various benefits.

Why Not Eat More Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are essential to a nutritious diet. They are colorful, tasty, convenient, affordable, and versatile. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, these natural foods pack a powerful punch in terms of helping prevent some chronic diseases, controlling your weight, and boosting your immune system.

Disease Prevention

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables—especially leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower), and citrus fruit—may help reduce your risk of:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Vision and gastrointestinal health issues

All-Natural Additions

Adding fruits or vegetables to your meals adds nutrition, fiber, and bulk to your diet, which can make what you eat lower in calories—while remaining just as filling. Try enhancing your favorite dishes using these healthy substitutions:

  • Breakfast – Cut down on cheese and eggs (or use only egg whites) and in your omelet, and opt for onions, spinach, peppers, or tomatoes instead. Or boost your breakfast with berries, bananas, or other sliced fruit to replace some of your cereal.
  • Lunch – Build sandwiches around roasted eggplant, peppers, or mushrooms rather than high-fat meats or cheeses.
  • Dinner – Swap veggies into your dinner for half the bread, pasta, or rice in your meal or soup

Fight off infection

A healthy diet plays a significant role in bolstering your immune system. Fruits and vegetables offer the balanced mix of the vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Vitamin C (citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, peppers, strawberries, and papaya)
  • Vitamin B6 (bananas and chickpeas)
  • Vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and squash)
  • Vitamin E, folate, and iron (peas, broccoli, beans, and leafy greens)
  • Selenium (garlic and broccoli)
  • Zinc (beans and chickpeas)

By tossing some low-calorie vegetables into your meals or finishing them off with fruit, you can create a more delicious and nutritious dish—leaving you feeling more satisfied during and after your meal. Plus, you may reduce your risk of short- and long-term health ailments.

Fill your plate with color

In addition to looking and tasting great, a colorful plate will also maximize your intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent oxidative stress that can damage cells and could accelerate the aging process and possibly lead to various diseases from Alzheimer's to cancer. Look at the "Color Your Plate Challenge" resource to the right for some ideas on adding extra color and antioxidants to your next meal. Each fruit and vegetable has different advantages when it comes to antioxidants.

Increase Your Intake

Nearly everybody should be eating more fruits and vegetables each day. But, just how much do you need to eat and what counts as a serving?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) MyPlate nutritional guide says to you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables each meal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults consume anywhere from 1½ to 2½ cups of fruit and 2 to 4 cups of vegetables daily—depending on your age, sex, and activity level. For example, a 31-50-year-old man who is physically active less than 30 minutes a day should eat 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit.

Serving sizes made simple

Eating any of the following amounts of fruit or vegetables is equivalent to one cup (in some cases, other equivalent portions also shown).

Fruit:

  • 1 medium-sized apple (about the size of a tennis ball)
  • 1 large banana
  • 32 seedless grapes
  • 3 medium or 2 large plums
  • 8 large strawberries
  • 8 ounces of 100-percent fruit juice
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (about a handful)

Download the Choose MyPlate fruit portion guidelines

Vegetables:

  • 2 cups of raw spinach (about enough to fill a cereal bowl)
  • 1 large green pepper (at least 3 and 3/4inches long, 3 inches wide)
  • 1 large ear of yellow or white corn
  • 2 medium carrots or 12 baby carrots
  • 1 large sweet potato (2 and 1/4 inches or more in diameter)
  • 2 foot-long stalks of celery
  • 1 large, whole, raw tomato (3 inches across)
  • 1 cup whole or mashed cooked beans or peas (E.g., black beans, chickpeas, soy beans, or split peas)

Download the Choose MyPlate vegetable portion guidelines

Season's Eatings

Fruits and vegetables are more nutritious, more flavorsome, and most fresh when they're in season. Below is a season-by-season breakdown of some of the best produce you can have throughout the year. Visit the Fruits and Veggies "More Matters" webpage for the full list.

Fall:
Apples, Brussels sprouts, dates, squash, pears, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
Winter:
Bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, citrus fruit, collard greens, endives, leafy greens, and root vegetables.
Spring:
Artichokes, asparagus, carrots, chives, fava beans, green onions, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, peas, radishes, rhubarb, and Swiss chard.
Summer:
Berries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, grapes, green beans, melons, peppers, sweet and hot peppers, stone fruit (ex. Peaches and plums), summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini.

With all the benefits to eating fruits and vegetables, you'd be missing out if you pass on consuming any of these nutrient-dense superfoods each day. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, more matters, so start focusing on fruits and veggies today!

Color Your Plate Challenge

because More Matters, try to:

 

POLL

Real time results
 

About how many cups of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day?
0-20%
3-40%
5-60%
7 or more0%