All About Fruits and Vegetables

image description Photo Credit: Andrew E. Larsen
What are Fruits and Vegetables?
A vegetable is the edible part of the plant: roots, stems, leaves, etc. A fruit is the seed-containing part of a plant. Below is a list of examples:

•Fruits
•Vegetables
•Avocado
•Beets
•Coconut
•Cabbage
•Cherries
•Carrots
•Cucumber
•Kale
•Eggplant
•Onions
•Pepper
•Potatoes
•Squash
•Spinach
•Tomato
•Yams

Why Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables is Important
Fruits and vegetables provide many health benefits. People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. By eating enough of both, you get the following nutrients and health benefits:

Nutrients
•High source of dietary fiber – helps reduce cholesterol levels, may lower risk for heart disease, keeps you feeling full longer, and is healthy for your intestines
•High source of Vitamin A – keeps eyes and skin healthy, and helps protect against infections
•High source of Vitamin C – important for growth and repair of all body tissues, and keeps teeth and gums healthy
•High source of Folate (folic acid) – helps the body form red blood cells (needed for carrying oxygen in your blood)
•High source of Potassium – may help maintain healthy blood pressure, help decrease bone loss, and reduce risk for kidney stones (can be found in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, spinach, orange juice, apricots, melons, etc.)

Health Benefits
•Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet may help reduce risk for heart disease – including strokes and heart attacks
•May help protect against certain types of cancers
•Diets rich in dietary fiber may reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
•Eating foods such as fruits and vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake

Resources
United States Department of Agriculture – ChooseMyPlate (Fruit/Vegetable Group)
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables

Precision Nutrition

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-fruits-vegetables

Special Thanks:
Derek Chang graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah. Go Utes! He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He aspires to become a physician-entrepreneur to find and create new ways of improving overall patient health. He enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, reading books, meeting new people, and learning anything new.

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