Experience Life Magazine

Beyond Weight Loss: 4 Ways Vegetables Improve Your Health

Doctors across the country are prescribing fruits and vegetables to their overweight and obese patients. But the health benefits extend beyond weight loss.


Is prescription produce the future of healthcare?

The latest trend in medical prescriptions isn’t a pill, cream, or injectable: It’s the bounty of the produce section.

Through programs like Wholesome Wave’s Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Plan and HealthPartners’ vegetable prescription initiative in Minnesota, doctors across the country are prescribing vegetables and fruits to combat obesity.

While the Rx’d veggies movement — which focuses on overweight and obese children, and their increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes — sounds unconventional in a medical world that includes surgery, drugs, and generic advice to “eat less and move more,” it’s no secret that produce packs a powerful nutritious punch.

Here are some ways that fruits and vegetables improve your health, inside and out:

1. They’re full of phytonutrients. These plant-based micronutrients may protect against chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

2. They feed your body — and your brain. According to Mark Hyman, MD, plant-based carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruits play an integral role in brain function and mood regulation.

3. They’re a good source of fiber, a natural detoxifier that impacts health in more ways than one.

4. You can grow your own. The act of tending a garden has numerous health benefits beyond the edible harvest, thanks to the physical activity, exposure to fresh air and dirt, and lessons in patience and delayed gratification that are inherent in the process.

Tell us: Do you think it’s wise to use prescriptions as a way to encourage people to eat more vegetables? Or should healthcare providers be wary of medicalizing food? Share your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter @experiencelife.

More on Vegetables: 

More on Obesity:

More on Healthcare:

More on Eating Local:

Maggie Fazeli Fard is Experience Life's staff writer. Casie Leigh Lukes contributed to this report.

Related Content



Functional Wellness, Part 4: Real Healthcare Reform

Everyone's talking about universal coverage, single-payer plans, and other well-intended…continued

Honestly, Dara

Broccoli: The Beautiful Green Monster

Broccoli: The Beautiful Green Monster

Food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl discusses how few things in this world are more divisive…continued



Not Your Average Patient: How Empowering Health Seekers Are Redefining Healthcare

Is healthcare something delivered by a provider when you get sick — or something you do for…continued



The New View of Health

Once perceived as the domain of medical experts tasked with keeping our symptoms at bay, the…continued

Well Informed


Obesity and the Brain: How Exercise May Help Combat Cognitive Decline

New research on mice provides clues to how excess body fat harms the human brain — and how…continued

Well Informed


Childhood obesity reportedly decreasing, though why is not clear

The obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-olds has dropped, according to a federal report — but…continued



Beyond the Harvest: Five Ways Gardens Support Your Health

Garden produce provides nutritional benefits, but the very act of digging in the dirt nurtures…continued

Confident Cook

Spring Greens

Spring Greens: Quick and Easy Tips, Recipes, and Nutrition Know-How

Fire up your salads and other dishes with the peppery flavors of watercress, dandelion greens,…continued

Reading List

Healing Foods

Healing Foods

Three new books explore the role of food as our most basic and essential medicine.…continued

Reading List


Read, Plant, Grow

Create your own victory garden with this handful of informative books. …continued


One Comment to Beyond Weight Loss: 4 Ways Vegetables Improve Your Health

  • Mark Rupertson says:

    One way to encourage a person to eat fruits and veggies is not through prescription but through a powerful testimony of how good and effective the diet is to one’s health. There is power when a person sees the great improvement of one’s health and for sure he/she will copy also what he/she is doing or eating. We don’t need a prescription in order for the people to get healthy, but just by setting a good example, one can have a healthy, happy, and illness-free life.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

City and state are only displayed in our print magazine if your comment is chosen for publication.

Experience Life welcomes your comments and suggestions. We simply ask that they be on topic and respectful of the conversation. Here's our full comment policy.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>