Any fruit or vegetable will do in helping you reach your 5 A Day goal. But certain types of fruits and vegetables are better than others because of their nutritional value. These include those that are good sources of vitamins A and C and fiber.
Variety is also important because different fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients. Nutrition experts advise against replacing all fruits and vegetables in the diet with dietary supplements for the same reason - supplements often do not contain all the different vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables.
It's important not to overindulge in fruits and vegetables prepared with high-fat ingredients. Some dishes to look out for include fried vegetables, such as french fries; cooked vegetables in cheese or cream sauces or with added bacon or butter; fruit pies or fruit served with whipped cream; and dips for raw vegetables. Some of these high-fat foods can be replaced with reduced-fat versions, such as low-fat dips and whipped toppings.
Apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, collards, leaf lettuce, mangoes, mustard greens, pumpkins and other winter squash, romaine lettuce, spinach and sweet potatoes
Apricots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, chili peppers, collard greens, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, mangoes, mustard greens, oranges and their juice, pineapples, plums, potato with skin, spinach, strawberries, bell peppers, tangerines, tomatoes and watermelons
Apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, cooked beans and peas (kidney, navy, lima, and pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas), dates, figs, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, oranges, pears, prunes, raspberries, spinach, strawberries andsweet potatoes.
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard and mustard greens.
On the side or back of labels of frozen and canned items, look at the Nutrition Facts panel. Nutrition information also is available for many fresh items, under FDA's voluntary point-of-purchase nutrition information program for raw foods. This information may appear on the labels of packaged fresh fruits and vegetables or on posters or brochures at or near the point of purchase.
You will find the kinds and amounts of important nutrients in a serving of the fruit or vegetable and the Percent Daily Value.
Some information is required: for example, the amount of fat, fiber, vitamins A and C, and iron and calcium, even if there is none. Some labels will carry additional information, such as the amount of folic acid and iron.
You may also see other claims describing the relationship between the food or one or more nutrients in the food, to a certain disease or medical condition. Only claims approved by FDA can be used in food labeling.
Four approved health claims pertain to fruits and vegetables. These claims can describe how:
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