fresh fruits Healthy Fruits and Vegetables for WomenFruits and vegetables are critical to a nutritionally balanced diet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the American Heart Association reports that some 73 percent of women eat fewer than five servings of veggies and fruits a day. The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants found in vegetables and fruits may help guard against cancer and can help lower the risk of heart disease. Your best picks are dark leafy greens, cooked tomatoes, and any vegetables or fruits that are yellow, orange or red in color.

Potassium Rich Fruits and Veggies

A potassium-rich diet can offset the damaging effects of sodium on blood pressure, according to the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium include dates, raisins, prunes, tomatoes, grapefruit juice, orange juice, white potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as lettuce and papayas.

Color Considerations

Deep-colored fruits and vegetables have the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, which can reduce the risk of both heart disease and cancer in women, according to the Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute. Phytonutrients are certain organic plant components that are thought to promote human health. Good examples include plums, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, red peppers, spinach, broccoli and honeydew melons,

Fresh vs. Frozen

Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits contain the greatest amount of nutrients, but they tend to more expensive than canned goods. Canned fruits and vegetables generally provide a sufficient amount of nutrients. It may be more economical to buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season.

Fruits vs. Vegetables

Vegetables are generally preferable over fruits because they tend to have fewer calories and have a greater amount of phytonutrients, according to the OHVI. Nevertheless, women should incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.

Daily Servings

Women should aim for two to three servings of vegetables and three to four servings of fruit each day, according to the USDA. Active women may increase these servings. You can help meet this recommended daily quota by adding vegetables to soups, sauces and casseroles. Mix kidney beans or black-eyed peas into stews and salads. Add crushed pineapple to coleslaw or top cereal with sliced bananas or blueberries. Dried apricots or grapefruit can be a healthy and tasty desert item or snack.

About this Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on topics about health, fitness and personal growth, and her work has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine” and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell studied journalism and broadcasting at the University of Wisconsin and Brown College.

Filed under: Healthy Eating