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Eating more fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to protect against chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. But it can be hard to get enough. Try these tips to overcome barriers such as cost, preparation time and old habits. More fruit and veggies, especially whole ones, can also help reduce waste from packaging and unused food.

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1. They are Low in Calories

You might have thought that fruits and vegetables were loaded with sugar, but they are actually quite low in calories. You can also add a little protein to your diet with these foods. Unlike foods that contain empty calories (like chips or cookies), fruits and vegetables provide a satisfying, filling snack.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a healthy way to lower your risk of heart disease. You can reach this goal with all types of produce including fresh, canned, frozen and dried options. Try to add a variety of colors to your plate.

2. They are Good for Your Heart

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation.

Eating fruits and vegetables is an easy way to get heart-healthy nutrients like potassium and fiber. Fruits and veggies also provide nitrates, which help open your blood vessels to allow oxygen-rich blood to reach your heart. They are also high in folic acid, magnesium and antioxidants like quercetin.

3. They are Good for Your Skin

Regardless of the controversy over whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables, they’re packed with vitamin C. This antioxidant-packed superfood helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We’re also big fans of orange and yellow foods like carrots, squash, cantaloupe, papayas and apricots, because they contain the natural sun-protectant lycopene (plus antioxidants) and provitamin A.

Eating a variety of fruits vs vegetables, staying hydrated and avoiding fried food will give you healthy and glowing skin. Plus, a diet high in fruits and veggies can help prevent inflammatory diseases like heart disease and stroke.

4. They are Good for Your Gut

In fact, they provide prebiotics (nutrients that help good bacteria grow) and support healthy gut lining, according to research. They also reduce inflammation, which plays a role in gastrointestinal problems like gas, constipation and diarrhea.

Try adding foods such as avocado, pomegranate and banana to your diet to boost your gut microbiome. Also eat a rainbow of colors to get different vitamins and minerals, and consider limiting processed foods loaded with sugars, salt and additives. Your gut will thank you.

5. They are Good for Your Bones

Fruits and vegetables help balance the acidity level of the blood, preventing calcium loss and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Try to get your recommended amount of produce a day — ideally fresh but frozen and canned options can provide similar benefits.

Keep a variety of fruits and veggies at eye-level in your refrigerator to ensure you’re eating enough. Try adding new ones to your meals a few times a week. A diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables provides your body with diverse plant chemicals to support healthy functioning.

6. They are Good for Your Eyes

The reason your parents sounded so desperate to get you to finish your vegetables was because they knew the nutrient rich foods were good for you. They have a host of benefits like reducing your risk of chronic diseases, maintaining healthy bones, and promoting eye health.

Green leafy vegetables, kale and spinach, are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of nutrients that help reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health.

7. They are Good for Your Brain

Studies show that mental well-being rose in correlation to the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day also reduces the risk of stroke and dementia.

Beets contain nitrates, natural compounds that dilate blood vessels, allowing more oxygenated blood to reach the brain, while blueberries are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that improve memory. Avocados are high in folate and vitamin K, both of which help prevent blood clots and oxidative stress that can lead to dementia.

8. They are Good for Your Bones

Fruits and vegetables provide calcium, magnesium and vitamin C, which are all key to bone strength. Plus, some fruits and veggies also offer protein, which is important for bone health.

You can get your two to three servings of fruits and veggies a day in fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100% juice form. Eating lots of produce reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers and digestive problems. (9)*..*

9. They are Good for Your Immune System

While a healthy diet won’t prevent or cure COVID-19, it can help you feel your best and support the immune system. Try foods rich in Vitamins A and C, zinc, and antioxidants.

Immune-boosting diets align well with familiar nutrition advice, which emphasizes whole plants, probiotics and lean protein. The immune-boosting nutrients found in spices like garlic, ginger and turmeric can also be helpful. Citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and lemons, are also high in vitamin C, which increases white blood cells. These nutrients can also be found in berries and other dark leafy vegetables.

10. They are Good for Your Weight

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can help you eat less of other foods that are higher in calories. Eating fewer calories can help you lose weight or maintain your current weight. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of some cancers, heart disease and high blood pressure. It also helps lower cholesterol levels, inflammation and blood sugar imbalances.

Add variety to your meals by serving a mix of raw and cooked vegetables and fruits. Roasting, steaming and grilling produce bring out their delicious flavors.

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