This may not be a surprise to you if you stop to consider your own daily diet: Only a smidge more than one-quarter of American adults eat their vegetables, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [source: Severson]. French fries aside, that means most of us are missing out on the health benefits -- and the taste -- of all types of foods.
Depending on your age and gender (and how active you are every day) the amount of fruits and vegetables you need each day varies, but it's recommended that most American adults eat between 1.5 and 2 cups of fruit and vegetables. It may sound like a lot of food, but hang on -- consider that usually, one piece of fruit, such as an apple, or one cup of fruit is one serving (one cup of raw or cooked vegetables also counts as a serving of veggies). Multiple studies over the years have found that eating three or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day can help lower your risk of developing some serious, often chronic, health conditions, from age-related macular degeneration to inflammatory diseases and cancers.
One of the best ways to make sure you're eating enough? Follow the USDA guidelines and fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies. And as autumn draws near, we've gathered our list of fresh fruits and vegetables that are not only nutritional powerhouses, but also taste great and happen to be at their peak just as the summer is coming to its end. Sorry, turkey, stuffing and apple pie won't appear on this list -- although apples minus the pie is a great place to start.