Fruits and vegetables contain some of the most vital nutrients for our health, but a study from Johns Hopkins University showed that only 11 percent of adults ate the USDA-recommended three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day. A recent study from the CDC found similar results. So what can happen if you don’t get enough? Eating too few fruits and veggies can result in nutrient deficiencies.
You’ve probably heard of scurvy, a disease that affected sailors of yore on long sea voyages, which is caused by a vitamin C deficiency. Although uncommon today, scurvy is still possible if you don’t get enough vitamin C, with symptoms like bleeding gums and broken capillaries. According to Laura Moore, a registered dietitian at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, other deficiencies also have unpleasant side effects.
These include anemia and GI tract deterioration from lack of folate, depression and confusion from vitamin B6 deficiency, night blindness from lack of vitamin A, general weakness from magnesium deficiency, hemorrhaging from lack of vitamin K and irregular heartbeat from potassium deficiency. It’s enough to make you want to eat buckets of broccoli! Although you could get some of these nutrients from other foods, fruits and veggies contain high concentrations and are therefore great sources of them.