Eating Well As You Get Older
Frequently Asked Questions
12. What are the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables?
Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber
Fruits and vegetables offer important vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy. Fruits and vegetables are also a source of fiber, and eating more fiber may help with digestion and constipation and may lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Most fruits and vegetables foods have little fat. They also have no cholesterol.
Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells in the body from the damage caused by oxidation. They include vitamin C, vitamin E, and other substances. Antioxidants are thought to promote health and to possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers and other diseases.
Colorful vegetables and fruits are the best dietary sources of antioxidants. Deeply and brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, red bell peppers, and tomatoes, have the highest amounts of these healthy substances. Antioxidant supplements may not provide the same health benefits as foods.
Fruits and vegetables also give your body phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are natural compounds such as beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Like vitamins, minerals, and fiber, phytochemicals may promote good health and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Research is underway to learn more about the health benefits of these natural compounds.