You have regularly heard about the positive influential effect of fruits and vegetables on your body. But do you know how much should you be eating to keep your body operating at optimal levels? Read on to identify if you are eating the recommended servings of fruits and veggies per day.
The consumption of vegetables and fruits is extremely important. Vegetables and fruits contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, phytoestrogens, anti-inflammatory agents, and fiber needed by the body. They offer a protective mechanism against disease and are linked to lower incidences of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
In fact, scientific analyses estimate that approximately 20,000 cancer cases per year could be prevented by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. However, it’s important to choose organic produce in order to decrease the toxic buildup that takes place when ingesting pesticides since pesticide consumption can cause up to 10 cancer cases per year.
What is the Recommended Serving of Fruits and Veggies?
Do you think that you are eating the minimum daily amount of fruits and vegetables required by the body? Experts recommend the consumption of 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day!
It is recommended to have at least 3 servings of vegetables per day. When aiming to incorporate more veggies into your diet, remember that the most nutritious vegetables to consume are dark-green vegetables, and the least nutritious ones are the starchy ones. Keep in mind that the best way to consume them is organic and in their fresh form, instead of canned or frozen.
In accordance to the US Department of Agriculture, the vegetable group is divided into five subgroups according to their nutritional value:
- Dark-Green Vegetables: including broccoli, as well as dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and chard.
- Red and Orange Vegetables: carrots, tomatoes, and red peppers.
- Beans and Peas: lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans among others.
- Starchy Vegetables: potatoes, plantains, and corn.
- Other Vegetables: avocado, celery, cabbage, beets, and mushrooms.
Now that you know the recommended servings of veggies, let’s look at fruits. Fruits are also highly valuable to the body. Aim to consume at least 2 servings per day! Again, it is best to consume them raw or prepare fresh juices with them. Avoid buying processed sweetened juices.
Even though they are not subdivided, some of the most nutrient-dense ones are berries. Blueberries, goji and açaí berries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are some examples. However, there is an ample range of delicious fruits to enjoy such as cherries, citrus fruits, cranberries, dragon fruit, sour soup, pomegranate, cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas, grapes, apples, pears, oranges, and grapefruit among others.
What’s a Serving Anyway?
Servings are typically measured by cups. The servings of the day can be obtained by adding the number of cups served for each day.
For the most part, half a cup represents a serving (including fresh, frozen, and 100% juice). However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, a serving of leafy greens is 1 full cup instead of half, and a serving of dried fruit is 1/4 of a cup.
Having a measuring cup makes it easy. Half a cup of cut or chopped vegetable or fruit represents a serving. But if you don’t have the fruit or vegetable in pieces, you can estimate that a serving is about the size of a medium banana or sweet potato.
This would be the minimum amount per day:
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- 1/2 cup of broccoli
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1/2 cup of blueberries
- 1 apple
Is it Hard to Consume the Recommended Servings of Fruits and Veggies?
Hopefully, you are eating the recommended servings of fruits and veggies per day. If not, a great way to give your body a good amount of fruits and vegetables is to juice them or make smoothies with them. Always try to put a vegetable base and then you can add a different array of fruits.
If you are replacing a meal with your smoothie, add the sufficient amount of protein required for your needs, and enjoy it!
Note: it is best to consume higher amounts of vegetables than fruits per day.
Now that you know the amounts needed by your body, are you eating the recommended servings of fruits and veggies a day? If not, it’s never too late to start. Give your body the necessary amount of Fruits and Veggies in order to keep it thriving. Your body will serve as your ally and assist you day in and day out, allowing you to experience life in a higher state.
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor