A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check. Eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables may even promote weight loss. Their low glycemic loads prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger.
At least nine different families of fruits and vegetables exist, each with potentially hundreds of different plant compounds that are beneficial to health. Eat a variety of types and colors of produce in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. This not only ensures a greater diversity of beneficial plant chemicals but also creates eye-appealing meals.
Vegetables, fruits, and disease
There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. Unlike case-control studies, cohort studies, which follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years, generally provide more reliable information than case-control studies because they don’t rely on information from the past. And, in general, data from cohort studies have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer.
Some research looks specifically at whether individual fruits are associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. While there isn’t an abundance of research into this area yet, preliminary results are compelling.
Data from the Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professional’s Follow-up Study show that women and men who increased their intakes of fruits and vegetables over a 24-year period were more likely to have lost weight than those who ate the same amount or those who decreased their intake. Berries, apples, pears, soy, and cauliflower were associated with weight loss while starchier vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas were linked with weight gain.  However, keep in mind that adding more produce into the diet won’t necessarily help with weight loss unless it replaces another food, such as refined carbohydrates of white bread and crackers.
Fruits and vegetables contain indigestible fiber, which absorbs water and expands as it passes through the digestive system. This can calm symptoms of an irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation.  The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestinal tract and may help prevent diverticulosis.
Eating fruits and vegetables can also keep your eyes healthy, and may help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases—cataracts and macular degeneration—which afflict millions of Americans over age 65. [20-23] Lutein and zeaxanthin, in particular, seem protective against cataracts.
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