vegetables and fruits farmers market

Vegetables and Fruits

Expert Answers to Readers’ Questions

Are organic fruits and vegetables better for you? How do I know which fruits and vegetables were organically grown?

Organic fruits and vegetables will limit your exposure to pesticides. However, organic produce tends to be much pricier than conventional produce, and may not be any more nutritious than conventional fruits and vegetables. To get a better dollar value for organic fruits and vegetables, try growing your own, finding a cooperative, or buying from a local farmer. New food labeling guidelines required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help you determine if a fruit or vegetable was grown organically.

To learn more about the health benefits of vegetables and fruits, read 5 Quick Tips for Eating More Vegetables and Fruits.

Is juicing fruit and vegetables a good way to get my nine servings a day?

Juicing can help meet the nine servings per day recommendation. However, it is best to eat your fruits and vegetables in their “whole” forms since juicing separates the fruit juice from the fruit pulp, which contains most of the fiber that may be beneficial for your health. Also, juicing fruits will increase the glycemic index of the food since the fruit sugars are more readily available, so whole fruit is a better choice.

To learn more, read 5 Quick Tips for Eating More Vegetables and Fruits.

I’ve heard that iceberg lettuce has limited nutritional value. Are some vegetables better than others?

You’ve heard correctly. Iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value; it is mostly water and a small amount of fiber. Vegetables that are better for you tend to be richer in color. For example, compare iceberg lettuce to spinach; spinach is better for you since it is rich in iron and folate. Compare white potato to sweet potato; sweet potato is better for you since it is rich in beta-carotene and other vitamins.

To learn more, read 5 Quick Tips for Eating More Vegetables and Fruits.


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The aim of the Harvard T.H. Chan of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.