At least nine different families of fruits and vegetables exist, each with potentially hundreds of different plant compounds that are beneficial to health. Eat a variety of types and colors of produce in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. This not only ensures a greater diversity of beneficial plant chemicals but also creates eye-appealing meals.
Tips to eat more vegetables and fruits each day
- Keep fruit where you can see it. Place several ready-to-eat washed whole fruits in a bowl or store chopped colorful fruits in a glass bowl in the refrigerator to tempt a sweet tooth.
- Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety and color are key to a healthy diet. On most days, try to get at least one serving from each of the following categories: dark green leafy vegetables; yellow or orange fruits and vegetables; red fruits and vegetables; legumes (beans) and peas; and citrus fruits.
- Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with different nutrients and more slowly digested carbohydrates.
- Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads, soups, and stir-fries are just a few ideas for increasing the number of tasty vegetables in your meals.
Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Reduced fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to poor health and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). An estimated 3.9 million deaths worldwide were attributable to inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption in 2017.
Including fruits and vegetables as part of the daily diet may reduce the risk of some NCDs including cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. More limited evidence suggests that when consumed as part of a healthy diet low in fat, sugars and salt/sodium, fruits and vegetables may also help to prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity, an independent risk-factor for NCDs.
Moreover, fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber and a host of beneficial non-nutrient substances including plant sterols, flavonoids and other antioxidants and consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure an adequate intake of many of these essential nutrients.
As part of a healthy diet low in fat, sugars and sodium, WHO suggests consuming more than 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day to improve overall health and reduce the risk of certain NCDs.