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Eat the Rainbow: Benefits of Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

Various colorful vegetables arranged together

“Eating the rainbow” sounds like a fun thing to do… But we’re not talking about Skittles here. Once you start to take stock of the colors on your plate each day, this task might become difficult and may even feel like a chore. The CDC guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption recommends, “adults eat at least 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern”, which equates to about 9 servings per day. Why is this? What are the benefits of consuming that many fruits and vegetables?

A bowl featuring a colorful salad with tomatoes, avocado, bell peppers, cabbage, and more

Benefits of Vegetables

  • Naturally low in calories. A diet lower in calories, sodium and sugar will help your waistline and most likely set you up for a healthier diet.

  • Antioxidants. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes and kale, and fruit such as berries, figs and peaches, are high in antioxidants, which help your body fight against free radicals and prevent cell damage.

  • Fiber. Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, a necessary component for your body’s digestion system. Most Americans often suffer from low fiber intake.

  • Vitamins and Nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are known for high amounts of vitamins and nutrients, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, iron and potassium.

A woman's hands hold out a handful of blueberries

What is a serving of fruits and vegetables? suggests one serving of fruit is equivalent to 1 cup of fruit, ½ cup of dried fruit, or 1 cup of 100% fruit juice. Likewise, one serving of vegetables is equivalent to 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice or 2 cups of raw leafy salad greens.

How can you increase your fruit and vegetable servings to increase the benefits?

study was released in 2017 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, stating that only 1 in every 10 Americans is actually meeting the fruit and vegetable intake guidelines. As we all know, getting a proper amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet is hard!

So here’s a helpful way to start increasing your consumption:

  • If you’re eating 0, aim to eat 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetable each day for one week.

  • If you’re eating 2, aim to eat 1 serving of fruit and 2 servings of vegetable each day for one week.

  • If you’re eating 4, aim to eat 2 servings fruit and 4 servings of vegetable each day for one week.

A variety of colorful fruit and vegetables is the rainbow your body needs to be healthy. The goal is to consume a 2:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit each day. Continue to challenge yourself to increase fruit and vegetable intake until you reach optimal nutrition of 9 total servings of fruit and vegetables per day. 


This article was guest-written by:

Portrait of dietitian, Emily Luxford
Emily Luxford, MS, RD, IFNCP, CLT

Emily Luxford is a functional dietitian nutritionist helping patients navigate gut health, diabetes, obesity, malabsorption disorders, and autoimmune diseases, along with complex illnesses such as immune dysfunction syndromes, myofascial pain, depression, vertigo, headaches, and cancer. Learn more about her and her services at


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