Eating enough fruit and vegetables is extremely important. Health in both the short and long-term depends upon consuming enough fruits and vegetables. Only through fruits and veggies can the body get many of the vital minerals and vitamins it needs to flourish. In particular, fruits and vegetables are crucial in limiting risk for many health conditions and problems. Obesity, strokes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, vision problems, and heart disease are all made less likely by fruit and vegetable consumption.
What qualifies as sufficient intake of Fruits and Vegetables
Knowing that eating enough fruits and vegetables is important is common knowledge. However, knowing what qualifies as sufficient consumption is trickier. Few people, in fact, do eat enough fruits and vegetables. Even many people who care about their health and fitness still do not get enough.
The American Heart Association recommends that a person consuming a 2000 calorie diet should eat four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables each day. But that leads to a simple but crucial question — what actually counts as a serving? Most people have no clear sense of what qualifies, which partly explains why it’s so common for fruit and veggie intake to be too low.
A basic understanding of fruit and vegetable serving sizes
A basic understanding of fruit and vegetable serving sizes is the sort of practical knowledge every person should have. Possessing at least a rough, intuitive sense of what makes for a single serving can help guide an individual to make healthy eating decisions throughout their life.
For fruit, a 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit equals one serving. A serving of fruit juice or dried fruit is 1/4 of a cup. It’s also useful to know some examples for specific fruits, which can paint a clearer picture than numbers can.
The general rule is that a piece of fruit roughly the size of a fist makes for one serving. One medium pear, orange, apple, or peach all qualify as a serving. A small banana, half of a medium grapefruit, 16 grapes, half of a medium mango, a quarter of a medium pineapple, or four large strawberries all make up a single serving as well.
As for vegetables, 1/2 cup of fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables, or of fruit juice makes one serving. For raw leafy vegetables, the amount is one full cup. Specific examples include half of a medium potato, half of a large zucchini, a whole medium carrot, and half of a large bell pepper all equaling one serving. A small ear of corn, five to eight broccoli or cauliflower florets, half of a small squash, and half of a large sweet potato are other examples of a single serving.
Rules to apply
There are a few caveats worth noting. First of all, the rules of four servings of fruit and five of fruit per day apply to a 2000 calorie-a-day diet. Men generally have greater caloric requirements than women, and thus need to eat more fruits and vegetables. People with large body frames and naturally higher weights also need to have a higher intake of fruits and veggies.
Secondly, it is important to know that the four servings of fruit and five of vegetables are only a minimum. It’s almost impossible to consume too many fruits or vegetables. That means it’s much better to risk surpassing the recommended amounts than to risk falling short. In addition, fruits and vegetables continue to provide benefits even past the recommended minimums. In short, eating more vegetables is never a bad idea, and almost always a good one.
Eat your fruits and vegetables
Eating enough fruits and vegetables is critical for good health. Aiming to at least consume four servings of fruits and five servings of vegetables per day is wise. As part of the effort to reach these minimum totals, it’s also important to have a sense of what a serving of fruit and vegetables consists of.
Here, at Hampton Food Market we want you to be healthy and we are so glad that we can become a local grocery store with a special touch of international cuisine. Stay healthy, stay safe.