Fruits, vegetables, and legumes (dry beans and peas) can reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Compared to people who eat few fruits, vegetables, and legumes,people who eat higher amounts as part of a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancers in certain parts of the body.
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, choose an assortment of different types and colors to provide you with a variety of nutrients. Make sure you balance calorie intake with caloric needs When increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and legumes you eat and be sure to eat them in place of less nutritious foods, not in addition to them.
The fiber in fruits, vegetables, and legumes is important. Diets rich in fiber-containing foods may reduce the risk of heart disease. Many fruits, vegetables, and legumes are also rich in nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, folate, and potassium.
Eating fruits and vegetables provides other benefits, too. One is calorie control: many fruits, vegetables, and legumes are low in calories and high in volume and nutrients. So, if you're trying to lose weight, fruits, vegetables, and legumes can help you feel full without eating too many calories. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. They can help you get the most nutrition out of the daily number of calories you're supposed to eat. Different vegetables are rich in different nutrients, so you should aim for a variety of vegetables throughout the week, including those that are dark green and leafy, orange, and starchy.
One caution that should be noted about buying packaged (canned, dried, or frozen) fruits and vegetables is they may contain added sugars, saturated fats, or sodium-ingredients you many need to limit. There are three places to look on a package that give you clues about what is in the food: the ingredient list, the Nutrition Facts label, and the front label of the package.
Added sugars can appear on the ingredient list as brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, maple syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.
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