Veggies and fruits – your nutritional powerhouses. They’re like nature’s medicine cabinet. They contain essential vitamins and minerals, plant nutrients and chemicals, antioxidants, water, fiber and sometimes healthy fats and some protein. They help boost your immunity and lower inflammation. They improve your overall recovery and performance. They are the foundation of every high-quality, health-promoting diet.
Veggies and fruits have a lot of nutrients and a lot of volume from fiber and water, but they don’t have a lot of calories. So when you eat more vegetables, you can eat more food, feel fuller and still get lean and healthy. Score!
So start by adding a serving or so to your day, and work up to at least 5 servings a day. What’s a serving? Again, look at your hand: a serving of veggies is the size of your closed fist; a serving of fruit is your cupped hand. If you have not been eating a lot of veggies, start slow and add gradually over time; the extra fiber may be an unpleasant surprise to your digestive tract. Also a note if you are taking blood thinners: dark leafy greens are loaded with vitamin K, a nutrient involved in blood clotting. You can eat more leafy greens, but talk with your doctor, as you may need to adjust the dosage of your meds.
You can eat them raw, in salads or in smoothies; steamed, grilled or roasted; added to soups and stews. The more colors, the more nutrients, so eat the rainbow and enjoy a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.