Fruit and Vegetable Benefits

Fruits and vegetables are sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Some of these nutrients may also be found in other foods. Eating a balanced diet and making other lifestyle changes are key to maintaining your body's good health.

Fiber
Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects including decreased risk of coronary artery disease. Excellent vegetable sources:
navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, white beans, soybeans, split peas, chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, artichokes

Folate*
Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman's risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect. Excellent vegetable sources:
black eyed peas, cooked spinach, great northern beans, asparagus

Potassium
Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Good fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, prune juice

Vitamin A
Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, cantaloupe, red peppers, Chinese cabbage

Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
red and green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, oranges, mangoes, tomato juice, cauliflower

Good sources:  These foods contain 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value per reference amount.

Excellent sources:  These foods contain 20 percent or more of the Daily Value per reference amount.
*The Institute of Medicine recommends that women of childbearing age who may become pregnant consume 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid per day to supplement the folate they receive from a varied diet. Synthetic folic acid can be obtained from eating fortified foods or taking a supplement.

Courtesy of BellyBytes.com