The consumption of vegetables and fruits is extremely important for optimal health. Vegetables and fruits contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber needed by the body. But what is 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.
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, 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.
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 the dark-green vegetables, and the least nutritious ones are the starchy ones. Keep in mind that the best way to consume them is on their fresh form instead of canned or frozen.
At the same time, fruits are 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 the sweetened commercial ones.
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 is 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?
A great way to give your body a good amount of fruits and veggies is to juice them or make smoothies.
Always try to put a vegetable base and then you can add fruit.
If you are replacing a meal with it, add the sufficient amount of protein required for your needs.
Note: it is best to consume higher amounts of vegetables than fruits per day.
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 at a higher state.
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor