Ten reasons why to eat fruit and vegetables:
Antioxidants and vitamins C and E help fight infection and keep your immune system healthy. Choose citrus fruit, capsicum and tomato as good sources of vitamin C.
2. Growth and development
Folate requirements are high during periods of rapid growth while iron is needed for brain function and learning. Choose dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, nuts and legumes and eat with foods rich in vitamin C to increase iron absorption.
Dietary fibre aids digestion and fruit and vegetables are a good source. The best choices are those with edible skins and legumes.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Nutritious high fibre foods help displace energy-dense choices and increase satiety (the feeling of fullness). All fruits and vegetables contain fibre.
5. Help protect against cancers
Foods rich in vitamins A, C and cruciferous vegetables may help protect against some types of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
Vitamins A, C and E and carotenoids (found in fruit and vegetables) are required for visual health. Vitamin A deficiency reduces the ability to see in dim light (sometimes called night blindness). Choose yellow and orange fruit and vegetables, which are rich in carotenoids such as pumpkin, sweet potato and paw paw.
7. Strong teeth and bones
Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones. If you don’t like dairy products or tinned fish with bones, get your calcium from green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds (especially sesame).
Phytochemicals are plant chemicals and everything in plants in general. These natural plant compounds have a variety of health benefits and often give fruit and vegetables their colour. Choose a range of different coloured fruit and vegetables to get all the different phytochemicals.
9. Heart health
There is evidence that high intake of fruit and vegetables can have a protective effect against heart disease and also slightly reduce blood pressure. Choose fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants such as folic acid and vitamin E. Choose green, leafy vegetables, avocado and nuts (almonds and hazelnuts).
10. Healthy ageing
Anthocyanins and phenolics are important for their potential antioxidant and anti-aging effects. Choose blue or purple coloured fruit and vegetables such as blueberries, blackberries, grapes and aubergine.