Fruits and vegetables are healthy because they’re full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals our bodies need to function. While you could take vitamins and supplements, dietitians say it’s better to get the nutrients we need through our diet. But there are so many options out there, which fruits and veggies should we be focusing on? Certified dietitian-nutritionist Gina Keatley recommends adding these to your diet.
- Blueberries – They’re low in calories, but nutrient-dense, so you get a lot of healthy in those little berries. They’re also loaded with antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.
- Bananas – These are full of fiber and potassium, an electrolyte and mineral that muscles, including your heart, need.
- Avocados – It’s the healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, that make these tasty fruits so good for us. Some vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, so our bodies need healthy fats to absorb and use them.
- Tomatoes – Most veggies lose nutrients when cooked, but cooking tomatoes actually boosts the lycopene in them, which has antioxidant properties and may protect against cancer and disease risk.
- Citrus fruits – Lemons, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, flavonoids and fiber and help keep our immune systems going strong.
- Sweet potatoes – They’re high in beta carotene, a form of vitamin A, which is important for eye health. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin B5, which breaks down fats and B6, which helps with metabolism and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
- Kale – Love it or hate it, it’s one of the most nutrient-dense veggies with lots of vitamins K, A and C, as well as minerals like calcium, potassium and copper.
- Spinach – Another important leafy green, spinach is a good source of potassium and magnesium, minerals that help regulate blood pressure and balance electrolytes. It’s also high in vitamins A, K and folate.
- Carrots – They’re full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin A, so they’re good for your eyes, too.
- Garlic – Not only does it make food taste better, it’s loaded with phytonutrients, including allicin, which has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.