The new food guidelines issued by the United States government recommend that all Americans eat about nine servings of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables each and every day. This is important to provide your body with the minimal levels of essential nutrients and antioxidants needed by each and every cell in your body to support optimal health. When you first hear that number, it may seem like a lot, but it is actually much easier than you think to fit that many servings of fruits and vegetables into your healthy diet plan. Shelves of the grocery stores are bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. Uncooked, these provide essential nutrients, fiber and even a portion of the water you need every day of your life. In addition, vegetables and fruits are some of the least expensive, most nutrient rich, foods in the supermarket. With all these fruits and vegetables to choose from, it is very easy to make these nutritious, delicious foods part of your daily meals and snacks.
Adding nine servings of fruits and vegetables to your healthy diet plan is not as difficult as it sounds. Seek a variety of foods; choose foods with different colors because those colors are indicators of different nutrients inside the cells of the food. As a general guideline, the nine servings come out to two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day. Most people who add this to their diet quickly find that they no longer have cravings during the day and save money on other snack foods which typically provide no nourishment of any kind. So not only do you improve your diet, you can save money and experience the health benefits of a diet, high in whole foods and low in sodium, fat, simple carbs and preservatives.
As your wean yourself from a life of snack foods to better foods, you may experience some changes as your body uses the improved fiber and higher levels of nutrients to deal with your biological "to do list." This is normal so keep at it and eventually you should experience more energy, better sleep and a variety of other benefits reported by people who share a better diet.
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, choose a variety of different colors. This is for more than purely aesthetic reasons. Different color fruits and vegetables have different types of nutrients, and choosing a variety of colors will help ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need each and every day.
New recipes can also provide you the important opportunity to try out some fruits and vegetables you have never tried before. Be sure that you're cooking things lightly to preserve as many of the essential nutrients as possible. Try to avoid putting any of your food through the microwave because the penetrating radiation heats water, sugar and fat molecules inside the food as well as on the surface and will damage even more of the essential nutrients than conventional cooking practices.
Many people mistakenly believe they do not need to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day if they just take a vitamin supplement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Supplementation should be a means to supplement, not substitute, the benefits of a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables contain far more than micronutrients. They also contain the more complex phytochemicals, phytosterols and essential fiber that you need to support proper cell function and optimal health.
While fresh fruits and vegetables are not the only component of a health diet, they are an essential one and are typically left out of the Standard American Diet (which is S.A.D.). Choose optimal health and choose a healthy diet. By adding fresh, raw fruits and vegetables to your daily diet, you too will discover the benefits that others do when they choose a healthy diet.