Vitamins, fibers and minerals are very important for the development of the immune system of the body apart from helping in the digestion and can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Since fruits and vegetables contain these ingredients, it is essential to consume plenty of them for the overall health of the body. But how can you add more of them into your daily diet?
What is the exact amount of fruits and vegetables that you should take?
In order to maintain a good health, the daily intake of vegetables and fruit should be in commensuration with your active level, sex and age. In this context, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended the amount in terms of cups in place of helpings to make it more clear and understandable. Its daily recommended amount of vegetables and fruits in the different age groups are as follows:
Girls and women
9 to 13 (2 cups)
14 through 50 (2.5 cups)
51 and over (2 cups)
Boys and men
9 to 13 (2.5 cups)
14 through 50 (3 cups)
51 and over (2.5 cups)
The recommended fruit intake is on the lesser side:
Girls and women
9 to 18 (1.5 cups)
19 through 30 (2 cups)
30 and over (1.5 cups)
Boys and men
9 to 13 (1.5 cups)
18 and over (2 cups)
Your consumption of vegetables and fruits has to be more than the recommended amount if you undertake physical activities for more than half-an hour.
Following the CDC’s fruits and vegetables calculator would tell the exact amount of fruits and vegetables you should take with respect to your daily physical activities.
Have small helpings of fruits and vegetables:
Susan Kraus, MS, RD, a registered dietitian at the Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. opines that you can easily do this through your daily diet.
For your fruit requirement daily, having a glass (8 ounce) of fruit juice in the morning is enough. A whole fruit like a banana, apple or pear counts as one cup too.
As for your vegetables requirement, add a cup of raw cucumber, tomatoes and pepper to a cup of cooked vegetables.
The CDC’s online primer “What Counts as a Cup?” elaborates more about it.
Get the best of them:
Kraus advises to choose the fruits and vegetables of varied colors. This ensures that you get all the ingredients necessary for the body. She also recommends going for seasonal fruits and vegetables as they are fresher, tastier and cheaper compared to the non-seasonal fruits and vegetables.
9 tips to fulfill your much needed daily quota of fruits or vegetables
- Take it raw – The raw vegetables are healthier diet compared to cooked vegetables as they preserve the essential nutrients and fibers.
- Make fruits, especially those constitute less fiber, part of your daily breakfast. Pack your breakfast with different fruits like berries, plum, peaches etc. with cereals, pancakes, waffles or toast. If you love to take yogurt for breakfast, you can go for a parfait with chopped fruits, cereal and yogurt. Kraus suggests going out with an apple or some grapes if you don’t have the time for a proper breakfast.
- Prepare your yogurt topper carefully – take fat-free or low fat granola or yogurt after topping it with berries.
- Add vegetables to your omelets or any other dish of eggs.
- Be choosy – Learn to abhor greasy fries and go for tossed salad or bean medley.
- Pack your pasta with vegetables – Prepare your tasty pasta primavera by adding lot of vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, onions, tomatoes etc.
- Take pizzas with vegetable toppings instead of meat or cheese.
- Take dried fruits. One-fourth cup of dried fruits is as good as half cup of fresh fruits. Hence, chew up some dried ones as well.
- Even frozen is fine – You can also take frozen fruits during winter months.
As you can see, it is easy to eat different types of fruits and vegetables in order to make your daily diet healthier.