A 2021 study comparing those who ate two servings of fruits and vegetables per day to those who ate five showed a significant amount of health benefits for the latter group, as well as a 13% lower risk of death from any cause. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends two-and-a-half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day, which is about nine servings per day.
The Center for Disease Control found that only 1 in 10 adults met these recommendations, based on a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). One 2020 systematic review also found that global vegetable intake was well below the recommended amount, and that supply was a big part of the problem. Many people struggle with accessing and affording produce, especially those who live in poor or remote areas.
To understand the lack of availability and accessibility of fruit and vegetables, one must look at food security in the United States and around the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food security exists “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” The four main aspects of food security are availability, access, utilization, and stability. Which fruits and veggies are both the most readily available and easily accessible globally, though?
To answer this question, Thistle compiled data from FAO to identify the fruits and vegetables grown most around the world. Crops used primarily for processed foods such as sugar beets were not included in the analysis.
Some fruits and vegetables are particularly popular due to accessibility and health benefits. Bananas and apples are available throughout the year and are not limited to a particular season. Onions and potatoes are easy to grow. The fruit and vegetables on this list are healthy options, and many are found year-round in grocery stores.
Read on to see if your favorite fruit or vegetable made the list.