April 18, 2011

What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?


Well one of the reasons for all the praise of Mother Nature’s bounty has to do with the fact that 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. This fruit and vegetable eating style tends to translate into fewer calories consumed which can result in less belly fat. And there seems to be a correlation between smaller waistlines and long term health.

Fruits and vegetables also 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. Any fruit of vegetable that stains your clothes is a real winner!

So how do we get those elusive 7-10 servings per day?

Before you freak out check out on the number of servings check out what one serving of fruit and vegetables is:

  • 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 are 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 will probably lose some weight as long as you are substituting those fruits and vegetables for empty junk calories.



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