Fruits and Vegetables
"Eat your fruits and vegetables." You've likely heard this statement since childhood. Research shows why it is good advice:
- Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
- Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.
How many fruits and vegetables should you eat each day?
- Visit the Fruit and Vegetable Calculator. Here you can calculate your fruit and vegetable recommendations based on your calorie needs for your age, sex, and activity level. This site also has helpful tips and photographs of 1/2 cup and 1 cup fruit and vegetable examples.
Can fruits and vegetables help you manage your weight?
- Learn about fruits and vegetables and their role in your weight management plan. Tips to cut calories by substituting fruits and vegetables are included with meal-by-meal examples. You will also find snack ideas that are 100 calories or less. With these helpful tips, you will soon be on your way to adding more fruits and vegetables into your healthy eating plan.
What Counts as a Cup of Food?
One cup refers to a common measuring cup (the kind used in recipes). In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or 100% vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. One cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit group.
Nutrient Information for Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Some of these nutrients may also be found in other foods. Eating a balanced diet and making other lifestyle changes are key to maintaining your body's good health.
Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, and white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.
|Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects including decreased risk of coronary artery disease.||Excellent vegetable sources:
navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, white beans, soybeans, split peas, chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, artichokes
|Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman's risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.||Excellent vegetable sources:
black eyed peas, cooked spinach, great northern beans, asparagus
|Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.||Good fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, prune juice
|Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.||Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, cantaloupe, red peppers, Chinese cabbage
|Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.||Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
red and green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, oranges, mangoes, tomato juice, cauliflower
Good sources: These foods contain 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value per reference amount.
Excellent sources: These foods contain 20 percent or more of the Daily Value per reference amount.
*The Institute of Medicine recommends that women of childbearing age who may become pregnant consume 400 micro-grams of synthetic folic acid per day to supplement the folate they receive from a varied diet. Synthetic folic acid can be obtained from eating fortified foods or taking a supplement.