One of the reasons Mother Nature’s bounty keep getting huge praise is because the people who eat between 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day tend to be healthier.
- It could be that these big fruit and vegetable eaters don’t eat as much junk food, mainly because their bodies are full of fruits and veggies so they don’t end up craving empty calories.
- People who follow and fruit and vegetable eating style tends to consume fewer calories in the long run, which can result in less belly fat. And there seems to be a correlation between smaller waistlines and long term health.
- Fruits and vegetables provide your body with a ton of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. One of the most important minerals in this equation may be potassium. This mineral helps regulate blood pressure and maintain normal heart and artery function. It also reduces the risk of stroke.
Research continues to mount supporting the health benefits of diets high in fruits and vegetables. It appears that the more intense the colour of the fruit or vegetable the bigger bang of nutrition you get. The adage of eating a rainbow everyday is a great visual. Bottom-line – any fruit of vegetable that stains your clothes, is a real winner!
So how do we get those elusive 7-10 servings per day?
For optimum health aim for 3 servings of fruit and 7 servings of vegetables every day.
Before you freak out, here’s what equals one serving of fruit and vegetables:
- 125 mL (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit
- 125 mL (½ cup) 100% juice, vegetable or fruit
- 250 mL (1 cup) leafy raw vegetables (like spinach, arugula, etc.)
- 125 mL (½ cup) cooked leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, bok choy, etc.)
- 250 mL (1 cup) salad
- 1 piece of medium sized fruit
- ¼ cup (60 mL) dried fruit
Now, count how many servings you had yesterday.
If you’re like the majority of Canadians you’re probably going to come up short, averaging around 3-5 servings per day.
Before you vow to eat 10 servings tomorrow make a game plan and start by adding 1-2 more servings per day for the next several weeks.
Slowly increase your intake until you reach seven to ten per day. The good news is you are helping your body become healthier and in the long run you’ll probably lose some weight.