At this point, you should have a comprehensive idea of the best reasons to ensure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. These can enhance your health in a myriad ways, and if you are currently feeling tired, moody, unwell, or even depressed,
it’s highly likely that you have a deficiency in at least one of these micronutrients.
And this should come as no surprise – given that the vast majority of people DO have some kind of deficiency these days.
The next question is how you should be gently integrating these fruits and vegetables. Are there any drawbacks? How many do you need precisely? Can you just use a vitamin tablet instead?
How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need Really?
You might have heard that you should be aiming to consume at least five different fruits and vegetables a day. This is a piece of general advice that is given by many health organizations and governments. Some organizations have increased this number to seven.
It is good advice, however it is also arbitrary.
What do I mean by that? Essentially, that it is based on nothing!
Fruits and vegetables are not inherently good for you. They are not good for you because they are fruits and vegetables. Rather, they are good for you BECAUSE they contain all those essential micronutrients.
Those micronutrients are required in different quantities and varieties, and ultimately the best thing we can do for our health is just to get as many of them as possible. The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the better. And it is very hard to overdose when you get your nutrients from natural sources like this.
And be very dubious when a packet of food tells you it counts as
‘one of your five a day.’ If that food is highly processed, then chances are it won’t contain many nutrients in it at all anymore. At the very least, it is likely to be much lower in fiber.
Thus, the benefits won’t be as great as they would have been had you consumed that nutrient itself. Apply some common sense, and where possible, eat as many whole, real fruits and vegetables as you can!
The Dangers of Too Many Fruits and Vegetables
That said, you can do yourself damage by consuming too many fruits and vegetables. Or to be a little more specific, it is relatively easy to cause harm by consuming too much fruit. That’s because fruit is highly acidic and packed with sugar. Both these things make it damaging to your teeth in particular. Many people who switch to diets that are primarily focussed on the use of smoothies will end up developing serious tooth problems!
One solution to this is to avoid drinking too much fruit juice or too many fruit smoothies. Instead, focus on drinking vegetable smoothies, which typically contain a lot less sugar.
Another consideration is that fruits and vegetables are still a source of calories. This is especially true for things like avocados, which have become all the rage recently. While avocados are great for boosting testosterone (thanks to their healthy saturated fat content), and while they are useful for those trying to avoid carbs, they can still make you fat!
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ‘fruits and vegetables are healthy and therefore can’t make you fat.’
The truth is that they still contain calories and you still need to track and manage those calories to avoid unwanted weight gain.
Creating a Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables.
So, you need to be eating more fruits and vegetables, and we’ve seen already that there are a huge number of specific foods that have a particularly impressive benefit – just as there are a huge number of specific vitamins and minerals that you need to try and seek out in your diet.
But how do you go about implementing that plan? How do you go from struggling to get your five a day, to being able to easily consume a large plethora of different beneficial ingredients?
Because that’s the other key thing to realize: you shouldn’t be taking a reductive approach of trying to seek out each item individually. If you do this, then you’ll find that you end up spending a huge amount of money, and ultimately not getting much benefit.
This book has listed a huge number of fruits and vegetables that you can seek out specifically in order to enjoy benefits for your beauty, for your energy levels, for inflammation, for immunity,
You might therefore be tempted to think you can pick and choose the benefits you want!
But this is the wrong approach.
When there are THAT many different superfoods that each offer some kind of amazing benefit, you simply cannot seek out each one individually. This is especially true seeing as many of them won’t mix together, many aren’t available in your local supermarket, and some will only be edible for a short amount of time.
So, what do you do instead?
The Strategy: The Aim is Variety
Instead of seeking out individual different fruits and vegetables, what is far preferable is to simply aim to get the biggest variety you possibly can in your diet. By doing this, you will cover the largest spectrum of ingredients, and thereby get the largest range of different benefits from your diet.
You could find the healthiest superfood vegetable in the world, but if that was all you ate then you wouldn’t get all that much benefit – because you’d only be getting large amounts of those same ingredients.
We don’t think of foods such as apples as being super foods, but because they contain large amounts of vitamin C (antioxidant, boosts testosterone, encourages nitric oxide formation, produces serotonin), epicatechin, they are just as impressive as those more exotic ideas.
Moreover, if you eat three different fruits and vegetables, then the range of nutrients you get will be far greater.
Studies show as well, that our microbiome – the healthy bacteria living in our guts – benefit most of all from a varied diet. The greater the range of foods you eat, the stronger your gut health will be – resulting in weight loss, more energy, better mood, and more.
Finally, by aiming to just ‘eat lots of fruits and vegetables’ you can reduce the amount of thought this diet boost involves, which in turn will help you to be more likely to stick to your new commitment.
How To Increase The Variety of Fruits & Vegetables
So how do you increase the variety? Here are some easy tips that will help you to do that without adding a lot of stress to your next shopping trip:
* Make lots of stews, hot pots, and Italian dishes. If you’re cooking something like a bolognaise, then it’s actually very easy to just throw a bunch of fruits and vegetables into a pot with some mince.
o To make this even easier, try grating things like carrot
(so you don’t need to peel), and use frozen ingredients like mushrooms, peas, and sweetcorn.
* Make lots of salads! An easy way to make a cold lunch is to get some salad leaves, throw on some sweet potatoes, slice some cucumber, and add a pinch of lemon. This can go on the side of nearly ANYTHING you cook. Choose baby leaf spinach and you’ll get iron and folate. Then just vary which leaf you use every time.
* Freeze! When doing this, cook up large batches of foods and then freeze them in lots of individually portioned tupperwares. Then all you need to do is to defrost each one as you come to eat it.
* Make smoothies! These are extremely easy to produce – just throw a bunch of fruits and/or vegetables in and hit blend. They also provide a huge boost of amazing benefits. Some of the most energetic and happy people I know consume daily smoothies!
* Buy fruits and vegetables out. A lot of cafes sell fruits at the counter, and the same is true in many grocers. Instead of buying a chocolatey snack, just buy the most exotic-looking fruit you can find!