Health Benefits of Properly Chosen Fruits and Vegetables

I thought I would share with youze guyz a mini-essay I had to write the other day for a class.  Anybody wanna guess what grade I got? 

Health Benefits of Properly Chosen Fruits and Vegetables

      It is an inarguable fact that fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and nutrients when added to a well balanced diet.  Recent studies are proving that Americans are eating more fruit and vegetables than were consumed ten years ago.  What is surprising is Americans are not eating the proper fruits and vegetables or the ones with the greatest impact on health and well being.  The difference between proper and improper fruit and vegetable choices is vast and misunderstood.  Even though half of Americans are meeting the anticipated recommendations by health advocacy agencies, statistically speaking, most are unaware of what constitutes a good fruit and vegetable choice and the long term health implications of making that choice.  Some examples of good fruit and vegetable choices are broccoli, kale, peas, tomatoes, cantaloupe, blueberries and prunes.

     Two of the three most eaten vegetables in America have minute to no nutritional value and in the case of the number three vegetable, French-fried potatoes, they could actually be detrimental because of the needless fat content. Americans should be choosing fruits and vegetables high in anti-oxidants, vitamins, and flavanoids which have demonstrated the ability to prevent and decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain forms cancers.  Other health benefits are derived from increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as well.  For example: vegetables high in vitamin C and E can prevent cataracts, fruits that have high potassium content can decrease blood pressure and women who increase daily fruits and vegetables can prevent osteoporosis.  A well-controlled diet study of 459 men and women showed that eating 8 to 10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables reduced blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure (Brody 2001). 

     Adding beneficial fruits and vegetables into a daily diet is quite simple if the proper choices are made to achieve the suggested five to nine servings per day. A serving is six ounces of fruit or vegetable juice, one medium apple, banana or orange, a cup of raw greens, or a half-cup of cooked vegetables or cut-up raw vegetables or cut-up or cooked fruit (Brody 2001). 

     With planning and proper evaluation, fruits and vegetables that will proffer the greatest health benefits can be easily and readily added into a typical diet.  What are not addressed are the diet restraints of certain medical conditions such as Diabetes, Crones, Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] and food allergies. These conditions would prohibit some of the fruit and vegetable recommendations listed.  In some instances, like Diabetes, even natural sugars must be avoided to better balance the body’s natural glucose and insulin levels.  In the case of Crones and IBS, some fruits and vegetables may need to be avoided as not to exacerbate the medical condition.

     In conclusion, Americans are making poor choices when given the opportunity to eat nutritionally sound and beneficial fruits and vegetables.  A seemingly effortless addition of a small portion of fruits and vegetables is not being adhered to despite the obvious and highly publicized studies backing the claims of long term health benefits and disease prevention.  In order to fully appreciate the positive potential of additional fruits and vegetables Americans must increase their daily consumption of properly chosen fruits and vegetables. 



Brody, J.  (2001, January 2). Eat Your Vegetables! But Choose Wisely.  The New York Times.      

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