6 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Don't Get Enough Fruits and Vegetables
You've probably heard it a million times, especially when growing up, when mom would say, "Eat your fruits and veggies." And yes, she was totally right. The bad news? Most of us aren't eating enough. 90 percent of us aren't getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables a day. For most adults that's 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables (men should aim for a little more veg).
It's super important to get enough servings of these colorful foods each day, way into adulthood and on. Here's why: fruits and vegetables are packed with tons of nutrients to better your body and health. They taste amazing and are super versatile, so it's pretty easy to sneak them into foods and to experiment with different tastes and textures to find a style that works for you.
Pictured recipe: Spinach Salad with Raspberries, Goat Cheese & Hazelnuts
A plate of greens still doesn't seem appetizing? Well, here are a couple of reasons why you should give them a second (or third or fourth) chance. If you don't eat them, you might suffer these consequences.
You Might Lack in Fiber
Fruits and veggies are packed with fiber, especially in bright fruits that have edible peels (which you should be eating, as that's where the fiber is). If all you're eating is meat and fat, you might get backed up, and it's best to eat fiber to stay regular and to ease digestion. Get a variety of produce, such as apples, kiwi, cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts and broccoli, leafy greens, and berries. Aim for between 25g and 38g of fiber a day, but start slowly if you're not there yet.
What's more, you might become dehydrated. Fruits and veggies often have high water content to offer fluids to keep you less bloated and hydrated in the day. If you're not drinking enough fluids and not getting fluid through food, you might notice effects of dehydration, like fatigue, yellow pee, and muscle cramps.
Your Skin Isn't as Fresh and Dewy
Since fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and vitamins, they're great for your skin's health, whereby they help reduce acne, redness, and dry spots. Instead, you'll have glowing, clear skin that's soft and taut. Antioxidants fight aging effects, so they'll slow the process, decrease appearance of wrinkles, and give you a more youthful complexion.
You May Become Deficient in Vitamins and Minerals
Most vitamins, like vitamin A, C, and K, which are found in red, orange, green, and yellow foods, like bell peppers, melon, kiwi, citrus fruit, apples, leafy greens, berries, and more, are concentrated in fruits and vegetables, so not eating enough of them could lead to deficiencies. These vitamins all serve purposes for eye health, immunity, brain health, and more, so they're super important each day. And while you could take a multivitamin to cover your bases, fruits and vegetables have other body benefits (like the aforementioned fiber and antioxidants).
Your Nails and Hair Might Suffer
Your hair and nails need vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables to stay strong and healthy. If you don't get enough, your nails might become brittle and your hair may turn dull and dry. According to research, your hair and nails need antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, biotin, iron, and other nutrients to grow, and fruits and veggies are often high in these vitamins, antioxidants, and iron (leafy greens are packed with iron!).
You Might Get the Blues
Not getting enough of those bright foods could make you feel sad, putting you at higher risk of depression. These powerful sources of nutrients can improve your mental state and make you feel happier, says research. So, if eating Brussels sprouts used to make you feel bummed out, try a new outlook by thinking of the mental rewards.
You're at Greater Risk of Disease
Because fruits and vegetables are so nutritionally dense, eating them regularly lowers risk of various diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and more. Make sure you're eating about 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables each day to stay in tip-top shape and to boost your longevity and immune system.