Produce has certainly earned its healthful reputation. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, while being low in calories and fat. All of these factors help make your heart healthier. Specifically:
A total of nine fruits and vegetables each day may sound like a lot, but a serving is probably smaller than you think.
One Serving of Fruit Equals...
1 medium piece of fruit, such as an apple, banana, orange, pear, or peach
¼ avocado (Note: there's more fat here than in your average fruit; about 30 grams for a whole avocado, but the majority of this fat is the healthful, monounsaturated kind)
½ cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit, including berries and grapes
¼ cup dried fruit
¾ cup 100% fruit juice
One Serving of Vegetable Equals...
1 cup raw, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli
½ cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw
¾ cup 100% vegetable juice
Within your nine daily servings, try for a serving rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene (which is converted into vitamin A in the body) and another rich in vitamin C.
Produce Rich in Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene Include:
Produce Rich in Vitamin C Include:
Oranges and orange juice
Tomatoes and tomato juice
To Reach Nine a Day, Eat Some at Each Meal
Fresh or dried fruit mixed with cereal or oatmeal
Bagel or English muffin topped with avocado and tomato or cucumber and cream cheese
Glass of tomato juice with a spear of celery
For Lunch and Snacks:
Bake a sweet potato (microwave on high for 5-8 minutes) and top with black beans
Stir fresh fruit into yogurt
Pop open a can of mandarin oranges
Dip carrot, celery, red pepper, and zucchini sticks into hummus, yogurt, or low-fat dip
Roast vegetables—onion, squash, peppers, and eggplant—and spread on a pizza crust with tomato sauce and cheese
Top baked potatoes with steamed broccoli, beans, and salsa
Add dried fruit to rice and stuffing
Grate carrots and zucchini into pasta sauce
Top frozen yogurt with sautéed apples, fresh peaches, or canned pineapple
Choose a fruity dessert, such as a cobbler, over a heavier treat, such as cheesecake
While it may be tempting to just pop an antioxidant supplement instead of eating more produce, this is not the best way to go. The majority of the research has shown positive health effects from foods rich in antioxidants, and not from isolated antioxidants, which in some studies have even proven harmful. Experts think it may be the package of nutrients in fruits and vegetables that delivers the biggest health benefits. Remember also to eat your colors: reds, oranges, greens, and yellows.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a