Nutrition is complex.
It's hard to know what to eat and how much and when.
But one thing is for extra-double-super-duper sure:
Fruits and veggies are good for you!!!
I know people get hung up on the fact that they aren't manna and they're not perfect for you. They have pesticide residue, or natural sugar, or are starchy or cooked in butter.
I think when people think of fruits and veggies, they go into health nut thinking mode. Yes, grapes have sugar, but you know what? They're still waaaay healthier than cookies:) Yes, broccoli may be sauteed in butter, but you know what? Buttered broccoli is still waaaay healthier than Cheetos.
I don't think I really realized the virtues of fruits and veggies until I started studying nutrition in college. I always thought it was a waste of time to eat a veggie that was high in only one vitamin instead of all of them (once again, veggies aren't manna:). But now I understand it's not only worth it, but essential for optimal health.
Some of the benefits of fruits and veggies:
- High fiber content- aids with digestion
- High water content- hydrates you as you eat them!
- High in many micronutrients (vitamins, phytochemicals, etc.)- staves off a bunch of diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies, improves immunity, improves functioning of every bodily system.
- Low in calories- no one ever becomes overweight because they just ate too many apples. It's virtually impossible to gain weight from eating fruits and veggies. They are super low calorie and high volume, so filling up on fruits and veggies gives you less calories than filling up on almost anything else. (Of course, those with diabetes may need to be careful not to consume too much of certain things at once.)
- It's easy:)- It does take some intentional effort to add fruits and veggies to your diet, but it's much easier than say, cutting out sugar or starting a new workout routine. But the health benefits are huge!
For the month of September I'm doing the #5aDay Challenge by eating five servings of fruits or vegetables every day of the month. I hope you will too!
- Eat a variety of fruits and veggies. They are all different and have different benefits
- Eat fruits and veggies in the way you like them. Not in pie and fries;) But notice which ones you like and which you don't. Notice whether you like broccoli better steamed or fresh. If you like grapes, but dislike rasins. If you love steamed spinach and hate peas. It's okay if not every fruit or veggie is something you like, you don't have to eat it. And if you looove cauliflower with a little cheese sauce, don't be afraid to eat it. Sustainability is more important than ever so slightly healthier choices.
*Eating 5 a Day is just a start. It's still important to get lean protein, whole grains, vitamins/minerals and water from other sources. And it's important to limit harmful things in your diet as well, such as trans/saturated fat, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, SODA, and alcohol. There is no silver bullet for health. But eating at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is a great place where most people could use improvement and the benefits are huge!
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