A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. To get the amount recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day.
Many essential vitamins and minerals can be found in fruits and vegetables. Data overwhelmingly shows that people who eat lots of both as part of a healthful diet have less chronic diseases, including stroke and other cardiovascular ailments, and certain cancers.
Moreover, people worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying locally-grown produce. Because it’s fresher than anything in the supermarket, it’s often tastier and more nutritious. It’s also good for local economies, since buying locally grown food helps family farmers stay in business.
Food travels an average distance of 1,500 miles from farm to plate. Flown or trucked in from Florida, Chile or Holland, much of it can be quite old by the time it arrives at its final destination. In that week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality. In fact, studies show that imported produce that’s been sitting on a truck or shelf for a week loses its nutrients so quickly that food that’s frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious.