September is National Fruit and Veggies- More Matters® Month, which is a health initiative focused on helping Americans increase fruit and vegetable consumption for better health. The program is spearheaded by Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help spread the word about the health benefits of adding MORE fruits and veggies to your diet. Believe it or not, more than 90% of adults and children do not eat the amount of fruits and veggies recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends that Americans make half their plate fruits and vegetables for meals and snacks, as demonstrated by the MyPlate nutrition guide. Given the increase of chronic diseases among all age groups, eating a diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is more important than ever. Here are the top 5 reasons to eat more fruits and veggies right now!
1.) Reduction of chronic diseases
People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Diets rich in fruit and veggies may also reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
2.) Healthier blood pressure
Diets rich in fruits and veggies that contain potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
3.) Reduction of blood cholesterol
Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is also important for proper elimination function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
4.) Increase weight loss and prevent obesity
Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie foods like potato chips and cookies may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
5.) Look better
In addition to feeling better, eating more fruits and veggies helps you look better too! The Vitamin A found in most fruits and veggies keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. While Vitamin C found in fruits and veggies helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption which acts as a carrier of oxygen and helps transfer oxygen from one body cell to another and helps cure general symptoms of anemia like fatigue, body weakness, headaches, and enhanced sensitivity to cold temperatures.
The beautiful thing about eating more fruits and vegetables is that it’s really easy to do! Produce comes in a variety of colors and textures, and there’s something delicious for everyone. Plus its many forms from fresh and frozen, canned, dried or juiced makes incorporating this rich, nutritious treat into any lifestyle and diet. If you’d like to learn more about how to eat more fruits and veggies or need help planning healthy meals to fit your lifestyle, please contact Prajakta Apte, RDN of Right Nutrition Works today! It’s never too late to start taking control of your nutrition to better the quality of your life.
Prajakta Apte, RDN is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist in Surprise, Arizona who works with individuals who want to be more conscious about their health but who may struggle with knowing what’s accurate and want to have a complete makeover by learning how to transform their understanding of nutrition and health. By doing so, they can be more confident about their nutritional health and be known as experts in health and nutrition among their tribe.
Prajakta Apte, RDN
Right Nutrition Works
18789 N Reems Rd, Suite 260-I
Surprise AZ 85374
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