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Prevention is Better Than Cure

It looks like Mom was right when she said, “eat your fruits and vegetables”. Fruits and vegetables contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals (components in food which offer protection against disease such as cancer). The fat-free, low calorie nature of fruits and vegetables makes them ideal for anyone seeking to lose or maintain weight.  One cup of raw vegetable contains about 25 calories. There are about 60 calories in ½ cup or 1 small piece of fruit. The current recommendation on fruit and vegetable intake is to consume 5 or more servings per day. Remember these tips when including fruits and vegetables in your diet.

  • Fruits and vegetables rich in color are usually the most nutrient dense.
  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the way to go. They provide the most flavor, nutritional value and are the most affordable.
  • Eat veggies raw, lightly steamed, in nutritious soups, or stir fried to maintain the most nutrients. In other words, don’t cook them to death, like we Southerners tend to do!

All fruits and vegetables are good for you.  Some, however, are over the top when it comes to vitamins, minerals, fiber, beta-carotene and phytochemicals. Some of the top contenders include watermelon, orange, grapefruit, apricots, papaya, broccoli, spinach (or any type of dark greens), sweet potatoes, carrots, and red and green peppers. Remember that this list is not all inclusive. Each fruit or vegetable has something unique to offer, which makes variety a key aspect of any healthy diet.