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Is 9 dailyservings of veggies (not fruits) OK?

Asked by Jen, Baltimore, Maryland

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The USDA recommends nine servings of "fruit and vegetables" per day as part of a healthy diet. What am I missing if I get my nine servings by eating only vegetables and no fruits? Are there other things I can eat to specifically make up for the lack of fruits in my diet? I eat an otherwise healthy diet full of lean protein, veggies, legumes, and whole grains, but I am allergic to many fruits.

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Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi Jen. First of all let me say that I think it's terrific that you are eating nine servings of vegetables per day. Vegetables are very good, low-calorie sources of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. They are important for both optimal health and weight control.

I think that as long as you are eating a variety of vegetables, especially deeply colored vegetables in the orange, red and dark green category, you are probably not missing too much without any fruit in your diet.

Based on typical serving sizes, fruits (berries in particular), are top sources of anti-oxidants but nuts, seeds, spices and whole grains are excellent sources, too, which can fill in any gaps left by fruit.

Strawberries and apples are good sources of heart-healthy soluble fiber but you can get plenty from legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Oranges and strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C but you can get plenty from bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, or brussels sprouts. So with a little extra effort you can still eat a very healthy diet despite your fruit allergies.

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