Fruits and vegetables are of prime importance in a person’s diet, as they contribute a plethora of benefits due to their nutrients and other food components. These antioxidant-rich foods are necessary in fighting off oxidation that results from pathogens, stresses, and other damaging agents that wreak havoc on your body when your immune system becomes compromised. Although you can replace some of the vitamins and minerals with supplements, no dietary supplement can substitute for all of the compounds found in fruits and vegetables, nor can they assume the potential nutrient interactions found in those foods that contribute to their healthful effects. Not including these foods as part of a well-balanced diet can result in significant health consequences.
Avoiding fruits and vegetables can lead to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Many fruits and veggies contain B-vitamins that help derive energy from food, vitamin C that assists in wound healing, vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes, and vitamin K that helps support blood clotting. Minerals in many fruits and vegetables include calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, which contribute to skeletal, nerve, and cardiovascular health. Avoiding these foods can impact any of these functions.
Balancing potassium and sodium in your diet is a prime factor in managing your cardiovascular health. Many of us in today’s society consume too much sodium and too little potassium in our diets. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium and naturally low in sodium, can help restore the balance of these minerals. Not eating these foods may increase your risk of high blood pressure or stroke.
Controlling your weight is another great benefit to consuming fruits and vegetables daily. Most fruits and vegetables have a relatively low energy density, meaning they offer few calories per unit of weight. Because of this, these food items provide bulk to your diet but don’t overload you with calories. Additionally, their water and fiber content helps you feel full and can prevent you from overeating. This is quite beneficial if you are trying to lose weight. Excluding fruits and vegetables in favor of foods with a high energy density, such as cheese, fatty meat, or dessert items, can hinder your efforts to maintain a healthy body weight.