Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients (phyto means plants) that number in the tens of thousands. These vital nutrients, many of which are antioxidants, provide truly remarkable health benefits that can protect the body from heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
There is believed to be a synergy of how these phytonutrients work together that has not been duplicated in any vitamin supplement.
Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber, magnesium, folate, potassium and calcium.
Yet the American diet tends to provide very few of the daily servings that we require. In fact the average intake is only 2 servings and those are typically low quality. Research showed no benefit from fruit and vegetable consumption until an individual was consuming a minimum of 5 servings.
Those results perhaps explain the “5 servings a day” we’ve heard so often. But actually that was the bare minimum. To ensure maximum benefit it was found that an average adult woman needs at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, while an adult man requires 9.
Which Are the Best Fruits and Vegetables?
When choosing where to put your efforts, it’s good to know which fruits and vegetables supply the highest quality nutrients as well as those that should be avoided due to heavy pesticide content.
Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that due to high pesticide content should be consumed only if they are organic. There is also a list of those that are considered safe to consume when not organic. With that in mind, organic is definitely superior in every way as it provides much greater nutritional value. But if organic isn’t possible it’s good to know which are the safest to consume.
High pesticide fruits and vegetables
Either buy organic of the following or substitute with a choice that is lower in pesticides:
Cantaloup from Mexico
Cherries from the US
Grapes from Chile
Sweet bell peppers
*Note: If you like to eat an apple a day, you would be wise to choose organically grown apples. By switching to organic, you will reduce your pesticide exposure from conventionally grown apples by 365 times!
Lower in pesticides
When you can’t buy organic choose these:
Cantaloupe from the US (May to December season)
Grapes from the US (May to December season)
Note: If your favorite isn’t listed it just means that it falls somewhere in the middle between the highest and the lowest pesticide content.
What’s the Best Way to Consume Fruits and Vegetables?
There is an easy way to get a good jump on your fruit and vegetable consumption beginning with breakfast. As a matter a fact, if you DON’T begin with breakfast you’ll likely have a very difficult time reaching your 7 or 9 servings.
Blenderizing fruits and vegetables is not only a very easy way to consume several servings and it’s also better for you. Throwing raw vegetables and fruits in a blender avoids heating them, a problem in that heat destroys many nutrients. A blender also breaks down the cell wall, releasing nutrients in an efficient and healthful manner.
It is recommended that you consume at least 12 ounces of blenderized vegetables (8 oz) and fruits (4 oz) each day. If you suffer from poor health, we often recommend doubling this.
If your body is quite toxic you may need to begin slower as this drink will begin the detoxification process – a good thing overall, but you might need to build up to it slowly. You can start with 6 oz that is diluted in an equal part of clean water.
Some people find that they don’t tolerate fruits well. In our patients once we have handled the root cause for this, we find that they tolerate high quality fruits quite well. The root cause can be food intolerances leading to unstable blood sugar, hormonal imbalance and intestinal infections (these can create very few symptoms surprisingly and must be identified from a lab test) to name a few.
If you find yourself in this category, simply stick with vegetables until the root cause of your fruit intolerance has been identified and treated.
Here are some recommended organic fruits and vegetables to put in your drink:
currants (black or red)
sweet and sour cherries
cabbage (purple or red)
Enjoy the many benefits that consuming more fruits and vegetables will provide you.