According to the CDC, only about 1 in 10 adults get their daily requirements of fruit and vegetables per day. This is a problem because fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function correctly. Not getting enough of these nutrients can lead to health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Of course, it is possible to fill nutritional gaps with vitamins and supplements, but typically the nutrients found in food–and supplements taken from food–are easier for our bodies to absorb.
This article discusses the impact of not getting enough fruits, vegetables, and the associated vitamins and minerals. We'll also discuss how to add more to your regular diet.
Why We Need Fruits and Vegetables
The CDC recommends that adults eat at least 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. This may seem like a lot, but it's not that difficult to reach these goals if you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Increasing the number of vegetables and fruit in your diet can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. It also helps increase fiber, reduces inflammation, and promotes a healthy digestive system.
Proper nutrition also positively impacts blood sugar, vision, and overall health.
What Happens When We Lack Vital Nutrients
Lacking vital nutrients and minerals can negatively impact your body and its functions. Here are a few of the key vitamins and how they can affect you.
Vitamin D is vital for bone health, muscle strength, and protects against cancer and type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D is found naturally in just a few foods, like fish, mushrooms, liver, and eggs. Because of this, Vitamin D is often added to other foods like milk and cheese.
Vitamin C is essential to ward off immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, and eye problems. It's also vital for growth, development, and helps repair body tissue. Vitamin C is found in peppers, fruits, broccoli, cabbage, and tomatoes.
Vitamin A keeps our hearts, liver, lungs, and other organs working well, and it's also important for vision, our immune systems, and reproduction. You can get Vitamin A from meat, salmon, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, fruits, carrots, and fortified cereals.
B vitamins come in many forms; B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. Each helps convert carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy. They are helpful for cell growth and function. Typically, those with gastrointestinal issues or pregnant women may need more B vitamins. Vitamin B comes from fish, poultry, meat, eggs, seeds, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and fortified cereals, pasta, and bread.
Calcium comes from dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt. It's important for bones and teeth. It affects neurological, metabolic, and muscular functions.
These are just a few of the vital minerals and nutrients we need in our bodies to function properly.
How to Get More Fruits and Vegetables Into Your Diet
Fortunately, some of the most nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables are also easy to add to common meals and snacks.
Ways to add fruit and vegetables:
- Add spinach or greens to eggs
- Add extra greens and fruits to shakes or smoothies
- Add berries to your cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt
- Include extra peppers in fajitas, tacos, soups, and dips
- Trade chips for carrot sticks, cauliflower, or broccoli florets
- Introduce mushrooms to stews, soups, or pizza
The best way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet is always to have them on hand and ready to insert as needed. Consider purchasing them in bulk or buying extra from the grocer. It might mean cleaning them as soon as possible to avoid early spoilage and make them easier to add to food later. Slice or chop bigger fruits and vegetables before adding them to baggies for snacks or lunch.
Besides improving bodily functions and overall health, proper nutrition can reduce stress and anxiety.
The Importance of Gut Health
An unhealthy digestive system can adversely impact just about every part of your functioning body. It influences your brain and immune system and can cause bloating, inflammation, and constipation. When your gut is healthy, it promotes good bacteria, which helps control your weight, moods, concentration, energy, and stress levels.
Ways to Improve Your Gut Health
Eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables can go a long way in helping you improve your gut health. But, sometimes, even that’s not enough.
The Right Supplements Can Help
When choosing vitamins and supplements, one of the most important decisions you can make is to focus on quality and where the supplements are sourced. Dr. Eric Snow offers a full line of premium whole food supplements that help you live life to the fullest.
His programs are proven to help people:
- Feel more energy
- Improve memory and concentration
- Support efficient weight loss
- Fortify their immune system
- Improve cholesterol
- Promote cardiovascular health
Each supplement undergoes heavy testing to rule out any heavy metals, pesticides, or non-organic ingredients. Each is also independently certified to ensure integrity and quality.
Proper diet and nutrition are essential to leading a happier and healthier life. Unfortunately, nearly 90% of us fail to get that nutrition through food and diet alone. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is an important step toward reaching your goals. When you can’t, it’s good to know there are safe and healthy alternatives out there for you.