Yet another reason to eat your fruits and veggies

Published: 7/25/2017

Fruits and vegetables

You’ve heard it all before: “Fruits and veggies will keep you healthy,” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” et cetera.  There’s a good reason everyone from your mom to your oncologist urges you to eat more fruits and veggies. While these tasty foods contain lots of needed fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they also contain nutritious substances called flavonoids, which have many positive health effects.

Flavonoids help give fruits and vegetables their bright colors. A diet high in flavonoid-rich foods may help protect you from some cancers. Flavonoids also play a role in reducing inflammation, supporting healthy vision, and helping keep your skin, blood vessels and other tissues healthy.

Flavonoids may help you maintain a healthy weight too. A research study (1) that followed more than 120,000 men and women in the US for up to 24 years showed that individuals who consumed more flavonoids were less likely to put on weight over time. The researchers stated that flavonoid-rich foods might play a role in the prevention of obesity and related conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Good sources of flavonoids include broccoli, lettuce (especially darker colored varieties), celery, onions, apples, grapes, berries, citrus fruits and many other foods.

Follow these tips to ensure you get plenty of the right stuff:

  • Know the one-half rule: At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and veggies.
  • Variety is key: Eat a wide variety of different fruits and veggies, especially brightly colored ones.
  • Beverages count: tea, cocoa, and even an occasional glass of wine are good sources of flavonoids.

Check out the USDA’s fun and interactive website http://www.chosemyplate.gov for additional tips and info, including recommended amounts of fruits and veggies for your age, weight and activity level.

Citation

Bertoia ML, Rimm EB, Mukamal KJ, Hu FB, Willett WC, Cassidy A. Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years. BMJ. 2016 Jan 28;352:i17.