Fruits and Veggies Matter…
They are nutrition powerhouses. Not only are they low in fat and calories, but they are good sources of a variety of nutrients, such as vitamin C and folic acid that promote good health.
As part of a healthy diet, eating fruits and vegetables can:
Help maintain a healthy weight
Help prevent certain cancers
Help maintain a healthy blood pressure
Reduce heart disease risk
Reduce diabetes risk
With over 200 choices and a variety of packaging options to make fruits and vegetables easy to store and serve, there’s bound to be something to please everyone, even the pickiest of eaters. Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried—they all count.
Most people know the health benefits of eating more produce; yet, despite understanding why they should eat more, people continue to struggle with how to do it. The Have a Plant™ campaign inspires people to believe in the powerful role that fruits and vegetables can play in fueling happy, healthy, and active lifestyles.
The vast majority of American adults don’t eat enough fruits or veggies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 12 percent eat enough fruit (between one and a half and two cups per day) and less than 10 percent eat enough vegetables (between two and three cups per day).
Health experts want to fix that and are pushing produce-packed diets, which are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. But the effort to consume as many nutrients as possible has reignited a long-standing debate: Which is the healthier way to eat fruits and vegetables, cooked or raw?
The answer is not so “black and white,” food scientist Guy Crosby told HuffPost.
“There are examples where cooking negatively affects the nutrient content of foods, and there are examples where it enhances the nutrient contents,” he said.
Whether a fruit or vegetable is healthier eaten cooked or raw depends on several factors, such as the cooking method, the type of produce you’re eating, and the specific nutrients you’re seeking to consume. We asked Crosby and other experts to break it down and explain how this varies between different fruits and vegetables.
Strong bones and teeth
A diet rich in calcium keeps your teeth and bones strong and can help to slow bone loss (osteoporosis) associated with getting older.
Calcium is usually associated with dairy products, but you can also get calcium by eating:
sardines, pilchards or tinned salmon (with bones)
dark green vegetables – such as kale and broccoli
calcium-fortified foods – such as soya products, fruit juices and cereals
As vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, make sure you get outside (your body gets vitamin D from the sun) and have plenty of foods containing vitamin D in your diet – such as oily fish and fortified cereals.
Type 2 diabetes
Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fibre found in whole grains can help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Importance of a Colorful Diet
Pack your plate full of color and boost your daily intake of important, and often overlooked, nutrients.
Colorful foods, which are generally fruits and vegetables, contain many of the vitamins and antioxidants we need – with few calories. Along with maintaining good health, the nutrients in vegetables and fruits work together to protect against cancer, heart disease, vision loss, hypertension and other diseases. Increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet is a great step to improve your health.