Eating Veggies Isn’t Just for Kids!

June 30, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by Uptown HC

The amount of fruits and vegetables Americans eat is on the decline. It’s down 7% overall, and that number is even worse among people over the age of 45. This according to a recent survey by the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Here’s why that matters.

Fruits, vegetables, and legumes (dry beans and peas) may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Compared to people who eat few fruits, vegetables, and legumes, people who eat higher amounts as part of a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancers in certain parts of the body (mouth, throat, lung, esophagus, stomach, and colon-rectum). A healthy diet is one that:

  • Emphasizes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts, and seeds
  • Balances calorie intake with caloric needs
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • When increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and legumes you eat, be sure to eat them in place of less nutritious foods, not in addition to them.

The fiber in fruits, vegetables, and legumes is important. Diets rich in fiber-containing foods may reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber is also important for regularity. Since the problem of constipation increases with age, it is important to consume foods rich in fiber.

Let’s strategize some healthier eating habits.

When shopping for fruits and vegetables, choose an assortment of different types and colors to provide a variety of nutrients and other healthful plant substances. All fruits, vegetables, and legumes contain dietary fiber, but the dietary fiber of fruits and vegetables is reduced by peeling and juicing, so eat the whole fruit and cut up vegetables.

Try decorating a place or two in your home with beautiful produce such as bananas, apples, pears, cucumbers, easy-to-peel oranges, etc. Maybe your sofa table has a place for a bowl of raw nuts, seeds, and grapes. Set out in plain view and arranged for beauty, your decorations will encourage you to snack on them.

Thinking of losing weight? Think of vegetables, fruits, and legumes.

Eating fruits and vegetables provides calorie control. Many fruits, vegetables, and legumes rank low in calories because they score high in water content and fiber. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, fruits, vegetables, and legumes can help you feel full without eating too many calories. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. They can help you get the most nutrition out of the daily number of calories you’re supposed to eat. Remember, different vegetables are rich in different nutrients, so aim for a variety of vegetables throughout the week, including those that are dark green and leafy, orange, and starchy. And, don’t forget dry beans and peas.

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