How Eating More Fruits and Vegetables May Help Control Weight
- Fruits and vegetables can help you feel full on fewer calories than if you ate the same amount of many other foods. That’s because fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber content and therefore low in calories relative to their volume.
- Studies show that a calorie-controlled low-fat diet that allows unlimited consumption of fruits and vegetables can lead to sustained weight loss. How? Controlling hunger is critical. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water so they can provide a satisfying amount of food that’s still low in calories.
- Studies show that when people simply start eating more fruits and vegetables, they spontaneously eat fewer calories. That’s because people tend to eat similar amounts of food even when the calories in the food vary. When people eat more low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, they naturally eat fewer high-calorie foods.
- Focusing on a positive message like “eat more fruits and vegetables” without emphasizing what you can’t eat, allows people to lower their calorie intake naturally.
How Fruits and Vegetables Fill the Nutrient Gap
Potassium: Most Americans get less than half the amount of potassium they need for healthy blood pressure.
In addition to helping maintain healthy blood pressure, potassium may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, and possibly decrease bone loss with age.
Some of the best sources of potassium may come as a surprise.
Great sources of potassium include: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, winter squash, bananas, spinach, melons (cantaloupe and honeydew), beans like white beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans, and orange juice.
Fill the potassium gap by adding the following to a typical daily diet: 1) 1 cup of cooked leafy greens AND 1 cup of winter squash or 1 sweet potato OR 2) Half a cantaloupe AND a ½ cup white beans.
It would take 8 ½ cups of sliced banana to meet adult daily potassium needs.
Fiber: Most Americans get less than half the amount of fiber they need for a healthy heart.
Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and helps lower cholesterol.
Bran cereal and whole wheat aren’t the only good sources of fiber. In fact, most beans provide more than two times as much fiber per half cup as many whole grain cereals.
Great sources of fiber include beans like navy beans, kidney beans, and split peas, raspberries, pears, green peas, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens like spinach, parsnips, broccoli, and blueberries.
Fill the fiber gap by adding the following to a typical daily diet: 1) ½ cup of cooked beans and ½ cup of cooked, mixed vegetables OR 2) 1 cup of mixed vegetables and one pear or apple each day.
One half cup of kidney beans or 1 cup of raspberries each contain 8 grams of fiber compared to 5 grams in a cup of wheat cereal.
Vitamin C: More than half of all Americans don’t get enough vitamin C.
In addition to being a powerful dietary antioxidant that protects cells from damage, vitamin C also strengthens blood vessels, maintains healthy gums, and helps absorb iron.
Orange juice isn’t the only great source of vitamin C. One-third cup of sliced red bell pepper has the same amount of vitamin C as one cup of orange juice.
Other great sources of vitamin C include papayas, green peppers, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, peas, kiwi, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, mangoes, cauliflower, pineapple, dark leafy greens, cabbage, asparagus, honeydew melon, okra, watermelon, tangerines, winter squash, and summer squash.
Meet vitamin C requirements by adding the following to a typical daily diet: 1) ½ cup red bell pepper OR 2) ¾ cup green pepper OR 3) 1 cup cooked broccoli OR 4) 1 cup of strawberries.
Vitamin A: More than half of Americans don’t get nearly enough vitamin A.
Vitamin A is important for vision, gene expression, healthy cells, growth, immune function, and maintenance of healthy bones, teeth, and hair.
There are plenty of great sources of vitamin A (carotenoids) in addition to carrots. One sweet potato has more than twice as much vitamin A as a cup of sliced carrots.
Great sources of vitamin A (carotenoids) include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens like spinach, winter squash, red bell peppers, Chinese cabbage, and cantaloupe.
Meet vitamin A requirements by adding the following to a typical daily diet: 1) 1 sweet potato OR 2) 1 cup cooked carrots OR 3) 1 cup cooked greens and 1 cup butternut squash.
Magnesium: More than half of Americans don’t get enough magnesium.
Magnesium is important for the development and maintenance of bones and activating the enzymes necessary for energy release.
Great sources of magnesium include cooked spinach, soybeans, white beans, black beans, lima beans, beet greens, navy beans, black-eyed peas, great northern beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans.
Meet magnesium requirements by adding the following to a typical daily diet: 1 ½ cups cooked spinach AND 1 cup of cooked black beans or lima beans.
Indiana State Department of Health
2 N Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Email: Public Affairs