Low Fruit & Veggies? Supplements To Make Up For Some Of What’s Missing

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Supplements can never supply all the nutritional components provided by fruits and vegetables. Yet, in today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can be a challenge for many. This shortfall in consuming vital produce leads to gaps in essential vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients that are crucial for our overall health and wellbeing.

When fruits and vegetables are missing, nutritional supplements can play a role in bridging this gap. They may offer a practical solution to complement the diet, ensuring that the body receives some of the important nutrients it might be missing from a limited intake of fruits and vegetables. This article delves into the nutrients provided by fruits and vegetables. We’ll also discuss the benefit of certain nutritional supplements for people who aren’t getting enough.

What Nutrients Are Missing When You Don’t Eat Enough Fruits And Vegetables?

When our diet lacks a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables, we miss out on a plethora of essential nutrients that these natural food sources abundantly provide. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, such as Vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting properties, and Vitamin A, crucial for maintaining healthy vision and skin. They are also prime sources of dietary fiber, which is essential for digestive health and can aid in maintaining a healthy weight.

Additionally, these plant foods are loaded with various antioxidants, like flavonoids and carotenoids, which combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Minerals such as potassium, found in bananas and leafy greens, are vital for heart health and maintaining proper fluid balance in the body. Fruits and vegetables also provide an array of phytonutrients, compounds that play a crucial role in preventing inflammation and supporting overall health.

While supplements can help fill some nutritional gaps, they can’t fully replicate the complex combination of nutrients and additional benefits provided by whole fruits and vegetables, such as fiber and natural hydration. Thus, incorporating a diverse range of fruits and vegetables into one’s diet is the most effective way to ensure a comprehensive intake of these essential nutrients.

Creative Ideas For Getting More Fruits And Vegetables

Getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet is the best way to meet not only essential nutrient needs, but can also be an enjoyable food experience. Fruits and vegetables are unparalleled in their ability to provide a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in a natural, unprocessed form. To make the most of these nutritional powerhouses in a fun and tasty way, consider these creative ideas:

  • Smoothie Bowls: Start your day with a vibrant smoothie bowl. Blend your favorite fruits like bananas, berries, or mangoes with a bit of spinach or kale for a nutritious kick. Top it with nuts, seeds, and a drizzle of honey for extra flavor and texture.
  • Veggie-Packed Soups: Soups are a great way to consume a variety of vegetables. Try blending cooked vegetables into a smooth soup or add chunky veggies to broth-based soups. You can use carrots, squash, tomatoes, leafy greens, and more.
  • Fruit Infused Water: Enhance your water by adding slices of fruits like lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber. It’s a refreshing way to stay hydrated and get some extra nutrients.
  • Vegetable Noodles: Swap out traditional pasta with vegetable noodles made from zucchini, carrots, or sweet potatoes. Use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to create these healthy, low-carb alternatives.
  • Homemade Veggie Chips: Make your own vegetable chips by thinly slicing veggies like kale, beets, or sweet potatoes, seasoning them, and baking them until crisp.
  • Fruit Salsa: Create a sweet salsa with diced fruits such as pineapple, mango, and strawberries. Serve it with whole-grain tortilla chips or over grilled fish or chicken.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Grilling vegetables like bell peppers, asparagus, and eggplant brings out their natural sweetness. Drizzle them with olive oil, add some herbs, and grill to perfection.
  • Vegetable Stir-Fry: A quick and easy stir-fry with a variety of vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas can be a colorful and healthy addition to any meal.
  • Fruit Desserts: Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit-based desserts. Baked apples, banana ice cream, or a berry parfait with yogurt can be delicious and healthy alternatives to traditional desserts.
  • Hidden Veggies: For those particularly resistant to vegetables, try incorporating them into dishes undetected. Add pureed vegetables into sauces, stews, or even baked goods.

Remember, the key to enjoying fruits and vegetables is variety – both in the types you eat and the ways you prepare them. With these creative ideas, you can easily and deliciously increase your intake of these vital food groups.

What Are The Health Effects If You Don’t Get Enough Fruits And Vegetables

The absence of sufficient fruits and vegetables in your diet can lead to several health issues, primarily due to the lack of essential nutrients that these foods provide:

  • Vitamin Deficiencies: Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins like Vitamin C, A, and K, and a lack of these can lead to scurvy (from Vitamin C deficiency), impaired vision and immune function (from Vitamin A deficiency), and problems with blood clotting and bone health (from Vitamin K deficiency).
  • Magnesium Deficiency: a diet that lacks fruits and vegetables is often deficient in magnesium, which plays vital roles in the body, including sleep, mental health, supporting muscle and nerve function, bone health, and energy production. It’s also important for regulating blood pressure and supporting a healthy immune system. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include muscle cramps, fatigue, irritability, and an increased susceptibility to stress. Over time, chronic magnesium deficiency can contribute to more serious health issues, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and metabolic disorders.
  • Digestive Problems: A low intake of fruits and vegetables can result in inadequate dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. This can lead to constipation, an increased risk of gastrointestinal disorders, and may impact colon health.
  • Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Their absence can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
  • Weakened Immune System: The nutrients in fruits and vegetables, such as Vitamin C and various phytonutrients, are crucial for a strong immune system. A diet lacking in these can lead to a weakened immune response.
  • Weight Management Issues: Fruits and vegetables have low energy density and are filling, which helps in weight management. Without them, you might consume more high-calorie foods, leading to weight gain and associated health issues.
  • Mental Health Impact: Emerging research suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can have a positive impact on mental health. Fiber and phytochemicals are critical to the microbiome. Lack of these nutrients may contribute to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
  • Skin and Hair Health: Vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables contribute to healthy skin and hair. A deficiency can lead to problems like dry skin, wrinkles, and hair loss.

To prevent these health issues, it’s important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, ensuring a broad intake of essential nutrients for overall health and well-being.

If your diet lacks sufficient fruits and vegetables, certain nutritional supplements can help fill the nutritional gaps. Of course, it’s important to remember that supplements are intended to complement the diet, not replace whole foods. Here are some commonly recommended supplements:

  • Multivitamin: These supplements provide a range of essential vitamins and minerals, mimicking the diverse nutrient profile found in a varied diet of fruits and vegetables. They typically include vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, along with a range of B vitamins, and essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc. They’re a good safety net for covering basic nutritional needs.
    • Vitamin C: Known for its immune-boosting properties, Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen synthesis, aiding in skin health and wound healing. It’s a powerful antioxidant, combating free radical damage. Supplements can be especially important during times of illness or stress when the body’s need for Vitamin C increases.
    • Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene: Essential for good vision, immune function, and skin health. Beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, is an antioxidant. Supplements should be taken judiciously, as excessive intake, particularly of Vitamin A, can be harmful.
  • Fiber Supplements: They can help maintain bowel health, lower cholesterol levels, and assist in weight management. Fiber supplements can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle to consume enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Antioxidant Supplements: Including resveratrol, flavonoids such as in Green Tea, and Vitamin E, these supplements can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. They are important for preventing cellular damage and supporting overall health.
  • Magnesium and Potassium: Magnesium is vital for muscle and nerve function, bone health, and energy production. Potassium is crucial for heart health, muscle function, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Supplements can help meet the needs that fruits and vegetables typically provide.
  • Probiotics: Essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, probiotics can aid digestion and support the immune system. They are especially important for individuals whose diets lack in fiber and fermented foods.

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Supplement Safety Information

Multivitamin, fiber supplements, antioxidant supplements, magnesium, potassium, and probiotics are generally considered safe for most people when taken as recommended. Multivitamins provide essential nutrients that may be missing from the diet. Fiber supplements support digestive health and regularity. Antioxidant supplements offer protection against oxidative stress and cellular damage. Magnesium plays a crucial role in many bodily functions including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and bone health. Potassium is vital for heart function, muscle contractions, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, supporting digestive and immune health. It is important for people to follow dosage instructions and consult healthcare professionals especially if they have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

Medication Interactions:

Multivitamin, fiber supplements, antioxidant supplements, magnesium, potassium, and probiotics are generally considered safe for most people when taken as recommended. Multivitamins provide essential nutrients that may be missing from the diet. Fiber supplements support digestive health and regularity. Antioxidant supplements offer protection against oxidative stress and cellular damage. Magnesium plays a crucial role in many bodily functions including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and bone health. Potassium is vital for heart function, muscle contractions, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, supporting digestive and immune health. It is important for people to follow dosage instructions and consult healthcare professionals especially if they have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

Supplement Interactions:

  • Multivitamin: May reduce the absorption of calcium and magnesium if they contain high levels of zinc; can interact with iron supplements leading to increased risk of gastrointestinal upset.
  • Fiber Supplements: Can hinder the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and iron supplements when taken simultaneously; may alter the effectiveness of probiotics by impacting gut flora balance.
  • Antioxidant Supplements: High doses of vitamin E (an antioxidant) can interfere with the absorption of vitamin K; can interact with other antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C leading to a potential imbalance.
  • Magnesium: Can decrease the absorption of calcium supplements if taken together; may interfere with the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements.
  • Potassium: High doses of potassium supplements can affect the absorption of magnesium supplements; can interact with calcium supplements leading to altered heart rhythm and muscle function.
  • Probiotics: May enhance the absorption of some minerals in multivitamins, like zinc and iron; can interact with fiber supplements leading to changes in gut flora and digestion.

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

What Lab Tests Might Reflect Low Fruit And Vegetable Intake?

  • Vitamin C Test: Fruits and vegetables are major sources of vitamin C. Low levels in a blood test can indicate inadequate intake.
  • Vitamin A Test: This vitamin is abundant in fruits and vegetables. Lower blood levels might suggest a deficiency in these foods.
  • Folate (Folic Acid) Test: Green leafy vegetables are rich in folate. Low folate levels in blood tests can be a sign of insufficient consumption.
  • Potassium Test: Many fruits and vegetables are high in potassium. Low serum potassium could reflect a diet lacking in these foods.
  • Fiber Markers: While direct fiber measurement in blood is not typical, signs of low fiber intake can be inferred from digestive health assessments and certain metabolic markers.
  • Antioxidant Levels: Reduced levels of certain antioxidants in the blood might suggest a diet low in fruits and vegetables.
  • Magnesium Test: Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables. Low serum magnesium levels can indicate inadequate intake of these foods.

To Sum It Up


Incorporating multivitamins, fiber supplements, antioxidant supplements, magnesium, potassium, and probiotics can significantly enhance overall health, especially for those struggling to meet their daily fruits and vegetables intake. Multivitamins fill nutritional gaps, fiber supplements improve digestive health, antioxidants combat cellular damage, while magnesium and potassium support numerous bodily functions. Probiotics are crucial for gut health. These supplements, however, should complement, not replace, a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. For personalized advice and to ensure these supplements suit your specific health needs, it is highly recommended to consult with a Registered Dietitian. They can provide tailored guidance to help you to optimize your health through both diet and appropriate supplementation.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


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