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September Wellness: Fruits & Veggies: More Matters!

Fruits-Veggies-Matter

Fruits and veggies matter

Most of us do not eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. We’ve heard it all our lives. Newspapers, social media, television, radio… the thrust of information coming at us each day can be overwhelming. Many of us have gotten quite good at tuning out what we don’t need to know at that exact moment and with all the fake news out there, it’s no wonder. So why should we stop and pay attention to those who say that fruits and veggies matter? How is this information different? Because there’s compelling scientific evidence that stands behind those statements. Studies tell us we can improve our health now and in the future if we do this one simple thing: eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s not a gimmick or a pill. It’s not like one of those infomercials that promise to throw in something extra if we order in the next fifteen minutes. It’s real, it’s easy and it can help make us feel better today and in the future.

Get the recommended servings of Fruits and Veggies

It is recommended that adults eat two to six and a half cups of fruits and vegetables a day or the equivalent of four to 13 servings. If we do this one simple thing, we are taking steps to improve our health. According to Harvard School of Public Health, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect on blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.”

Add more fruits and veggies to your diet

  • Try new foods. You might be surprised at how your taste buds have changed since you last tried something you didn’t care for.
  • Try a new veggie recipe or try an old recipe with a new vegetable.
  • Grab-and-go options may be the ticket to eating more of the good stuff, so make your family’s favorites easy to get to. Cut and bag individual portions so they’re ready to be snagged on the way out the door.
  • A bowl on the table or counter with a nice selection of fruits is hard to resist.
  • It might be worth the cost for the convenience of pre-cut packages of fruit and veggies. You’re investing in your and your family’s future. Beware of those with added sugar.
  • Add interest to vegetables: when cooking, use olive oil and add your favorite spices. Dip them in dressing, hummus or low-fat dip.
  • The tiny versions of most vegetables actually tend to be sweeter and have more flavor in each bite.
  • Start your day or refuel with a smooth move! Smoothies are a great way to drink up and fill up on fruits and veggies. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some great smoothie and drink recipes: https://www.cdc.gov/bam/nutrition/cool-treats-drinks.html

Color your world with Fruits & Veggies

A colorful variety of fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body uses to maintain good health and energy levels, help protect against the effects of aging, and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. It’s important to sample the complete color spectrum every day to get the full health-promoting benefits of fruits and vegetables.

Blue/purple fruits and vegetables help maintain: a lower risk of some cancers, urinary tract health, memory function, and healthy aging. Get blue/purple every day with foods such as: blackberries, blueberries, black currants, dried plums, elderberries, purple figs, purple grapes, plums, raisins, purple asparagus, purple cabbage, purple carrots, eggplant, purple Belgian endive, purple peppers, and potatoes (purple-fleshed).

Green vegetables help to maintain: a lower risk of some cancers, vision health, and strong bones and teeth. Go green every day with fruits and vegetables like these: avocados, green apples, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, limes, green pears, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, broccoflower, broccoli, broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, green beans, green cabbage, celery, Chayote squash, cucumbers, endive, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, green onion, okra, peas, green pepper, sugar snap peas, spinach, watercress, and zucchini.

White, tan, and brown fruits and vegetables help maintain: heart health, cholesterol levels that are already healthy, and a lower risk of some cancers. Get all the health benefits of the white group by including foods such as: bananas, brown pears, dates, white nectarines, white peaches, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, kohlrabi, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, and potatoes (white fleshed), shallots, turnips, white corn.

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables help maintain: a healthy heart, vision health, a healthy immune system, and a lower risk of some cancers. Choose yellow/orange fruits and vegetables like yellow apples. apricots, cantaloupe, yellow figs, grapefruit, golden kiwifruit, lemon, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, yellow pears, persimmons, pineapples, tangerines, yellow watermelon, yellow beets, butternut squash, carrots, yellow peppers, yellow potatoes, pumpkin, rutabagas, yellow summer squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, yellow tomatoes, yellow winter squash.

Red fruits and vegetables help maintain: a healthy heart, memory function, a lower risk of some cancers, and urinary tract health. Include red fruits and vegetables in your diet such as red apples, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, red grapes, pink/red grapefruit, red pears, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, beets, red peppers, radishes, radicchio, red onions, red potatoes, rhubarb, tomatoes.

For more information on choosing fruits and veggies by color, visit Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey: https://www.cinj.org/sites/cinj/files/documents/Sept15FruitVegMonth.pdf

Which Fruits and Veggies are in season and when?

Eat Your Veggies!
Eat Your Veggies!

The United States Department of Agriculture website provides a partial list of which fruits and vegetables are in season during which months.

FALL WINTER SPRING SUMMER
Apples Bananas Apricots Apricots
Bananas Grapefruit Bananas Bananas
Beets Lemons Broccoli Beets
Broccoli Mushrooms Cabbage Bell Peppers
Brussels Sprouts Onions and Leeks Green Beans Blackberries
Carrots Oranges Honeydew Melon Blueberries
Cauliflower Pears Lettuce Cantaloupe
Cranberries Potatoes Mangos Cherries
Garlic Sweet Potatoes and Yams Mushrooms Corn
Ginger Turnips Onions and Leeks Cucumbers
Grapes Winter Squash Peas Eggplant
Mushrooms Pineapple Garlic
Parsnips Rhubarb Grapefruits
Pears Spinach Grapes
Pineapple Strawberries Green Beans
Pumpkins Honeydew Melon
Sweet Potatoes and Yams Kiwifruit
Winter Squash Lima Beans
Mushrooms
Peaches
Peas
Plums
Radishes
Raspberries
Strawberries
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Tomatoes
Watermelon

 

More information on Fruits & Veggies – More Matters®!

According to Produce for Better Health Foundation, the number of cups of fruits and vegetables your family needs daily depends on caloric needs, which are determined by age, gender and activity level. Given the abundant variety and multiple product forms from which to choose, eating the recommended amount is easier than you think. Every step taken toward eating more fruits and vegetables helps your family be at their best!

For a specific breakdown of recommendations for by gender, age, and activity level, visit http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/myplate-and-what-is-a-serving-of-fruits-and-vegetables.

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