The benefits of fruits and vegetables; an approach to a healthy lifestyle.

Adequate nutrition is important from conception till death in order to achieve a healthy living and function optimally in the society.
 According to Hippocrates, the father of medicine he said: "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food" which buttressed the importance of food throughout man's life cycle.

Unfortunately, we have left, those foods we were supposed to eat and eat those foods we ought not to have eaten and this has lead to a reduction in health and well-being.

According to research carried out by nutritionists, human beings have subscribed to sugary foods, fatty meals, processed foods, and high glycemic foods instead ins whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, fruits which are essential to the body.

Do you know that fruits and vegetables are essential for healthy living and wellbeing?.

Fruits: The word "fruit" normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of a plant that are sweet or sour, and edible in the raw state, such as apples, bananas, melons, grapes, lemons, oranges, and strawberries among others.

Fruits and vegetables contain rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants that leads to healthy living.

The beneficial importance of fruits cannot be fulfilled without its neighboring counterpart called "vegetables".

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. Hence, these two collectively (fruits and vegetables) provide varieties of nutrients to man making their functions to be pronounced.

 The benefits of fruits and vegetables in the diet.

You might wonder, why fruits and vegetables should be part of our daily lives?
  • Sufficient intake of fruit and vegetables protect the body from many non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke among others.
  • Fruits and vegetables boosts one's immune system.
  • Fruits and vegetables give energy to the body.
  • Currently, much interest is focused on the vital role of antioxidants in the sense that they reduce aging, which imparts a bright color to fruits and vegetables and act as scavengers cleaning up to free radicals before they cause detrimental health effects.
  • Moreover, fibers found in fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce intestinal passage rates of forming a bulk, leading to a more gradual nutrient absorption hence preventing constipation and increasing gastrointestinal motility.
  • Fruits can be fermented in the colon, increasing the concentration of short-chain fatty acids thus having anticarcinogenic properties (that is an antagonist to cancerous substance) and maintaining gut health.
  • Several surveys have highlighted the cardiovascular disease risk-reducing potential of fruit and vegetables whereby their intake was strongly associated with lower cardiovascular risk factors such as lower blood pressure (BP), cholesterol and triacylglycerol thus preventing premature cardiovascular disorders.
  • An increased consumption of carotenoid-rich(Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin A). This keeps the eyes and skin healthy.
  • Fruits and vegetables maintain the cholesterol level in blood since they reduce oxidative damage and cause an increase in LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) oxidation resistance. An increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables was also reported to cause a decrease in the risk of intestinal, bowel, thyroid, pancreatic and lung cancer.
  • Folates in fruits and vegetables (spinach, lettuces, cabbage, and carrots) aids the formation of red blood cells and reduces the risks of neural tube defects and spina bifida in newborns.
  • Fruits and vegetables have also been suggested to prevent osteoporosis in adults and "Ricketts and poor teeth formation" in children mainly for their rich sources of calcium and other vitamins which are vital in bone health. The high fiber content of fruit and vegetables may play a role in calcium absorption and reduce the ‘acid load’ of our diet, enhancing bone formation and suppressing bone resorption which consequently results in greater bone strength.
  • Also, phytoingredients in fruit and vegetables such as gooseberry, curcumin, and soy isoflavones have shown to be protective against lens damage which occurs due to hyperglycemia and certain flavonoids such as quercetin can prevent oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of glaucoma.
  • A high intake of fruits and vegetables was inversely associated with the risk of chronic obstructive diseases (COPD)and respiratory symptoms. 
  • Higher total fruit and vegetable intake is also associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline hence proved beneficial for mental health and prevention of mental problems.
  • Green leafy vegetables have been suggested to have a genuine protective effect against lung cancer. 

Consequences of not eating fruits and vegetables in diet.

Low intake of fruits and vegetables in daily diet have detrimental effects on the body such as:
  • Night blindness.
  • Poor bone and teeth formation (rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults).
  • Hemorrhage and slow clotting time.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Delayed or impaired wound healing.
  • Indigestion and anorexia.
  • Poor mental perception and health.
  • Increased risks of non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases and cancers.
  • Sterility.

All households should endeavor to include varieties of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet in order to promote a healthy lifestyle, prevent illnesses and reduce frequent visits to the hospitals.

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