What are the Key Nutrients in Fruits and Vegetables

Families, Food and Fitness November 18, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, low in calories, and cholesterol free. Fruits and vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including vitamins, fiber, and phytochemicals.


woman eating an orange


Vitamins

Fruits and vegetables are rich in many nutrients such as potassium, folate,and vitamins A and C. Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

Fiber

All fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are plant chemical compounds that have many potential health-promoting properties. Different fruits and vegetables have different phytochemicals that provide a variety of benefits. Different colors of fruits and vegetables contain different phytochemicals. The best way to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit from all phytochemicals is to eat all of your colors.





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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.