From the Alliance for Food and Farming:
It’s time for our annual “A Dozen Reasons” list to remind everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables and that produce is a food group health experts universally recommend we eat more of every day.
Nutrient-dense, tasty and pretty too, fruits and vegetables offer it all. So don’t let anyone or any group discourage you from choosing the produce you enjoy and is affordable and accessible for you and your family.
Apples: In addition to the many disease-fighting nutrients in an apple, red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which can help fortify your immune system, especially when you’re under stress. And remember to eat the peel, which is rich in fiber and antioxidants.
Bell Peppers: Peppers are rich in Vitamin A and C. And the yellow, orange and red peppers are also high in beta carotene which has been shown to have cancer-fighting benefits and, like carrots, also benefit eye sight.
Berries: Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Eat them together for a powerful nutrient-rich punch.
Celery: This veggie is often undervalued for its nutrition. But celery is high in fiber and a good source of Vitamins C and B.
Cherries: Cherries are a good source of antioxidants, which studies have indicated may reduce the risk of heart disease. Can’t sleep, suffering from jet lag? Try eating some cherries. This delicious fruit also contains melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles and may be a helpful food for fighting jet lag and insomnia.
Grapes: Grapes of all colors are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols, including the stilbenoid resveratrol, which studies have shown positively influence immune function. Big words to describe a nutritional benefit for this powerful little fruit.
Leafy Greens, Like Kale and Spinach: Often referred to as superfoods, studies have recently shown that in addition to disease-fighting characteristics, leafy greens keep your mind healthy too. Peer reviewed research found that people who ate one to two servings of leafy greens per day had a slower rates of cognitive decline.
Peaches and Nectarines: Juicy and delicious, these fruits provide 10 different vitamins plus fiber and potassium. Pregnant? Not only are these nutrient-rich fruits good for your growing baby, but the abundance of potassium assists in preventing muscle cramps and keeps energy levels up.
Pears: This fruit is high in fiber, a good source of Vitamin C and contains natural antioxidants. Including pears in your diet lowers the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease while promoting a healthy complexion and increased energy.
Tomatoes: This fruit is one of the best sources of lycopene but also a good source of potassium, Vitamin C, biotin, Vitamin K and manganese.
Health and nutrition experts agree a produce-rich diet prevents diseases, improves immune function and increases lifespan so the right choice is to always eat more.
Choose the produce that you prefer and is affordable and accessible for you and your family. Organic and conventional – both production methods yield safe food that consumers can eat with confidence.
And remember to follow the advice of the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and wash your fruits and vegetables. According to the FDA, washing produce under running tap water can reduce and often eliminate any minute pesticide residues that may be present as well as dirt and bacteria.