Whether you’re vegan, paleo, or somewhere in between, the one thing nearly everyone can agree on is the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. The benefits are too numerous to list and include longer life expectancy and lower blood pressure.
Vegetables are so important that nutrition experts recommend adults aim for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. But what counts as a serving? How do you know if you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet to reap the benefits?
One serving of vegetables equals:
- 1 cup raw, leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale, or chard
- ½ cup raw or cooked vegetables such as carrots, green beans, or celery
- ½ cup vegetable juice
One serving of fruit equals:
- 1 medium (baseball sized) piece of fruit such as an apple, peach, or pear
- ¼ cup dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, or cranberries
- ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
- ½ cup fruit juice
Aside from just scooping a few cups of fruits or vegetables onto the side of your plate at meal time, try adding produce into your dishes and main courses to get a few extra servings. At Project Angel Heart, each meal comes with a full cup of vegetables on the side — but we also incorporate vegetables like carrots, zucchini, corn, and squash into the meat stews we often serve as main dishes. Soups are also a great way to pack in the vegetables, as you can mix and match whatever you have in the fridge!
Whether you’re ill or not, you can benefit from eating additional fruits and vegetables. Try adding an extra serving or two to your meals — your body will thank you!