You already know that fruits and vegetables are important for disease prevention and staving off everything from heart disease to cancer. Did you know that loading up on fruits and veggies can have immediate benefits to your health and well-being? That’s why you don’t want to forget about these superfoods!
Here are three ways fruits and vegetables can help you enjoy better health and well-being today.
They make you feel happier and more energetic. Think that cinnamon roll will make you feel happier than an apple? Think again! A 2013 study published in The British Journal of Health Psychology revealed that fruits and vegetables are the real comfort food. For three weeks, young people filled out food diaries tracking their fruit and veggie intake. Turned out, the more produce folks ate in a given day, the better their mood and energy level that day — as well as the next.
They lower your stress levels. Chowing down on fruits and vegetables daily can slash your risk of experiencing psychological stress — especially for women. That’s the take-away from breaking research reported by the journal BMJ Open. In fact, women who ate 5-7 servings of produce every day were 23 percent less likely to feel stress than those who ate 0-1.
They help you sleep better. Many fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that facilitate healthy sleep patterns. For instance:
Spinach is a great source of calcium, and research indicates that lack of calcium can cause difficulty falling asleep.
Bananas are packed with magnesium, which helps your muscles relax, and potassium, which encourages deeper sleep.
Tart cherries and tomatoes supply melatonin, the hormone that signals the body to sleep.
Passionfruit contains the compound passiflorine, which is a natural sedative.
Despite all the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, more than 90 percent of American kids and adults don’t eat the recommended amount. One easy way to stay on track is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. You’ll want to limit juice, because it lacks the fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables, but otherwise, fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables all count.