Fruits and Vegetables month 2022

  • Published
  • By Alexander Tsimbler and Samantha Nielsen
  • Health Promotions

September is National Fruit and Vegetable Month. Did you know that bell peppers have more vitamin C than an orange? In fact, lots of fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C including kiwi, strawberries, broccoli and white potatoes. Vitamin C does some incredible things in our bodies such as aiding with immune function, wound healing, collagen and connective tissue formation, neutralizing harmful free radicals, and assisting in the absorption of iron.

Iron is a necessary nutrient for functions such as energy production, red blood cell formation, and growth and development. Many Americans do not consume enough iron, and on top of that, it is difficult to absorb – hence the benefit of pairing high iron foods with a source of vitamin C!

In addition to vitamin C, fruits and vegetables contain minerals, electrolytes, fiber and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants such as polyphenols, isothiocyanates, indols and anthocyanins. There are thousands of phytochemicals, each playing a beneficial role in our health. Most commonly, phytochemicals protect our cells from damage which will prevent inflammation, cancer and heart disease. Take celery for example, although celery does not contain many macronutrients, it is rich in phytochemicals – ones known to prevent inflammation and additionally benefit blood pressure health.

Unfortunately, all too often, fruits and vegetables are replaced by multivitamins and other supplements. Although this may help minimize certain deficiencies, it does not come anywhere close to providing us with the same nutrients as fruits and vegetables do. That is why it is so important to make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

This year, make it a goal to fall in love with fruits and vegetables. With fall around the corner, it is the perfect time to play with the pairing of fall seasonings and spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Place a focus on variety: variety with colors, fruits, vegetables, seasonings, spices, and cooking methods.

Want to learn more about fruits and vegetables or healthy eating? Reach out to Peterson Space Force Bases’ Health Promotions Registered Dietitians at (719)556-4292 and have a great Fruit and Vegetable Month!