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AFF releases ‘A Dozen Reasons’ to enjoy safe and healthy fruits and vegetables


It’s time for the Alliance for Food and Farming’s annual “A Dozen Reasons” list to celebrate the bounty of choices in the produce aisle and remind everyone why it’s so important to eat more fruits and vegetables for better health and a longer life.

Nutrient-dense, delicious and filled with goodness, fruits and vegetables offer it all. Plus, decades of nutritional studies (mostly using conventionally grown produce) have shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents diseases, improves physical and mental health and increases lifespan.

Here’s our 2024 list of A Dozen Reasons to Eat More Produce:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) Berries: Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Eat them together for a powerful nutrient-rich punch.

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) Green Beans: A vegetable staple in many households, green beans are a good source of vitamins include Folate, and Vitamin A and C. But did you also know that green beans are a good source of minerals, especially manganese, that supports your metabolism and has antioxidant abilities.

7) 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.

8) 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.

9) 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.

Reasons 10, 11 and 12:

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to:
• Improve mental health by promoting a greater sense of well-being;
• Give your skin an attractive glow;
• Promote healthy weight maintenance;

And to make it a baker’s dozen, peer reviewed research has shown that if half of Americans increased their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables by a single serving, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.

Choose the produce that you prefer and is affordable and accessible for you and your family. Organic and conventional – decades of studies and government sampling data show that both production methods yield very safe food that consumers can eat with confidence. Don’t let anyone or any group discourage or scare you away from choosing the produce you enjoy.

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, if present at all, as well as dirt and bacteria.

Visit and @safeproduce to learn more about produce safety.