They look good, they taste good, and they are good for you, but still people are not eating enough fruits and vegetables daily. September is Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Month, making this an ideal time to think about getting more of this healthy food in your diet.
Produce for Better Health Foundation, a non-profit organization, has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables with every meal and snack throughout the day.
You Can’t Make Me
A whopping 90 percent of adults and children do not eat enough fruits and vegetables daily, according to Produce for Better Health Foundation. Yet the reasons for eating more fresh—or even frozen or dried—produce are compelling.
The top 3 reasons to consume more fruits and vegetables, states Produce for Better Health Foundation, are:
- Vitamins and minerals. Much needed vitamins such as A, C and K, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and also fiber are all found naturally in fruits and vegetables.
- Low calorie. As many people struggle with weight gain and the health problems that may accompany being heavier, consider that fruits and vegetables are low calorie foods.
- Reduce disease risk. A diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk for many chronic conditions.
So, how much is enough to get these benefits? The United States Department of Agriculture has redesigned the familiar food pyramid with “My Plate” that shows half of the plate filled with fruits and vegetables. This new version makes a plant-based menu the focal point of the meal.
The exact amount of fruits and vegetables needed daily depends on a person’s gender, age, and activity level. For example, a moderately active woman over the age of 51 should have 1 ½ cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day. Whereas a 9 to 13 year old active boy needs two cups of fruit and 3 ½ cups of vegetables daily. At the Fruits & Veggies More Matters® website, they offer a visual representation of a 1 cup equivalent of these foods. One cup is equal to one banana or one large ear of corn.
The variety of fruits and vegetables—in color and type—are also encouraged to get the maximum health benefits. Learn more about shopping for and storing produce, get recipes for the entire family, and more information at the Fruits & Veggies More Matters® website.