Don’t forget to eat your vegetables: Four ways to get your daily dose of fruits and veggies
Remember when you were a child and your parents told you to eat your vegetables, then immediately explained that they were good for you? Well when it comes to veggies, parents know best, though most of us didn’t listen.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported only a quarter of American adults ate their veggies three or more times a day. For years, we’ve been told that you should eat five servings of vegetables a day, according to the science community, that still may not be enough. A team of researchers from University College London, report that seven could be the new magic number for fruits and veggies.
What are the health benefits of seven servings of veggies?
The study concluded that consuming seven servings of veggies per day resulted in:
- A 42 percent lower risk of death, from any cause: Monitoring your diet can be one of the best strategies for lowering blood pressure, which can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women. The DASH Eating Plan or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, contains many interesting connections between diet and blood pressure. The DASH Eating Plan restricts sugar, sodium and red meats. In addition to fruits and veggies, the diet plan focuses on whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and vegetable oils.
- 31 percent lower risk of heart disease: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Vegetables linked to preventing heart attacks and strokes are leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts and kale.
- 25 percent lower risk of cancer: Research under this category suggests that various components of different foods lead to cancer prevention, as opposed to a certain diet. Phytochemicals, found in bright colored vegetables and fruits, protect plants from bacteria and may reduce risk for developing cancer and diabetes. Lycopene, one of the pigments responsible for the red color of tomatoes, may reduce the occurrence of prostate, skin and breast cancer.
Four tips for getting more vegetables in your diet
Seven servings of vegetables sounds hard to fit into your daily diet right? Well the serving sizes aren’t as huge as you may think, 12 baby carrots count as a serving. Here are some tips for squeezing more veggies into your eating plan.
- Prioritize: If you’re going to increase your vegetable intake you have to make it a priority. Start loading up your grocery cart with produce and begin stocking your fridge. With a kitchen full of produce, vegetables will eventually start creeping into your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Double up at dinner: Unless it’s pizza night, there aren’t too dinner meals where vegetables don’t play a primary role in the dish. Take the meals you make every day and add one more vegetable, or see how many different veggies you can add to the meal you’re cooking.
- Invest in a juicer: Drinking your fruits and vegetables, allows your body to easily absorb the nutrients, making it a great way to acquire your daily intake of produce. It also makes eating vegetables at breakfast more convenient. When you’re pressed for time, you can juice a blend of beets, carrots and broccoli or indulge in a classic green smoothie with apples, celery and kale.
- Spend time prepping: Time isn’t always our friend and for this reason, people grab a Pop-Tart, instead of a homemade salad and run out of the door. Spending time over the weekend preparing your vegetables is a great way to ensure you eat more of them during the week. Trimming, washing, roasting or chopping your vegetables, in advance will make it easier, and you’re more likely, to grab and go.
Photo credit: Nancy Regan