Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber – and they’re low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and blood pressure.
Which fruits and vegetables are best?
That’s easy: They’re all good! If you eat many different types of fruits and veggies, you’re sure to get all the different types of nutrients you need. The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and veggies in order to make it to the recommended 4 ½ cups of each per day. The good news is that all produce counts, which means canned, fresh and frozen varieties can help you reach your goal.
However, if you’re buying canned or frozen, watch out for added salt and sugar. When shopping for canned vegetables, be sure to compare food labels and choose the product with the least amount of sodium. When choosing canned fruit, choose fruit packed in fruit juice or light syrup. If shopping for frozen fruit, select 100% fruit with no added sugar. Check the labels of frozen products with sauces as those can be a source of added salt.
Take the Next Step
If you’re already eating plenty of fruits and veggies every day, you may be ready for the next step: include more color. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may help prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. Some of these nutrients are fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A and C. The best way to get all the various nutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors. The five main color groups and examples in each group are listed below. Eat from as many color groups as you can each day.
|Color||Fruits and Vegetables|
|Red:||tomatoes, tomato sauce*, tomato juice*, watermelon, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranates, red apples, red grapes (* choose no added salt or low sodium versions of these products)|
|Orange/yellow:||carrot, pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash, mango, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, , peaches, papaya, pineapple, nectarines, yellow apples|
|Green:||broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, bok choy, avocado, spinach, kale, green beans, green peppers, kiwi, collard greens, mustard greens, green grapes|
|White||garlic, onion, chives, cauliflower, bananas|
|Blue/purple:||blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, purple grape juice, plums, prunes, purple figs, raisins, eggplant.|
This content was last reviewed on 01/10/2013.