Eat the rainbow
“We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it – because they do.” Dr. Michael Greger
Whole plant-based foods are the winning team; however, if you had to name the all-star food groups, fruits and vegetables would win. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense, meaning they contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins, while still being low in calories and fat.
Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber. Dietary fiber aids with weight loss because it provides satiety with few calories. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and fiber.
Dark, leafy greens (e.g., broccoli, kale, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard) are the MVP of the all-stars because they:
- Offer many vitamins (e.g., vitamins A, C, E, and K).
- Provide a significant amount of folic acid, which is critical during pregnancy to aid in development of babies and to prevent birth defects.
- Contain a lot of antioxidants and micronutrients.
The daily recommendation for fruits and vegetables is 8-10 servings daily. Eating a variety of colors and textures will ensure that you consume enough nutrients in your diet without having to take many supplements.
Consuming unprocessed fruits and vegetables regularly will naturally lower your caloric intake, helping with weight loss and management. The fiber and water content add bulk to your meal without the additional calories.
The Global Burden of Disease study published in 2010 analyzed the leading causes of death and disability. Two key findings regarding fruits and vegetables include:
- They found that the most negative part of our diet was not eating enough fruit.
- They found that an inadequate intake of vegetables was our fifth-leading dietary risk factor and it was nearly as bad as our consumption of processed meat.
Incorporating colorful foods (not packages) in your daily meals is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Reflect on your typically daily routine. Where in your day can you add in or substitute fruits and vegetables? If you are interested in an application that helps you incorporate and track your fruit and vegetable consumption check out Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen: Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen – Apps on Google Play