People Who Eat Five Fruits and Vegetables a Day Live Longer
Recent research confirms that those of us who eat five fruits and vegetables a day live longer. The bad news is that only one in ten of us actually hits that mark. The good news is that we can prevent major chronic diseases if we try a little harder.
Benefits of Five a Day
How can we prevent life’s major chronic diseases if we try a little harder? People who eat five fruits and vegetables a day have: a 13 percent lower risk of death, 12 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, 10 percent lower risk of cancer and 35 percent lower risk of dying from a respiratory disease. Those of us who eat five fruits and veggies a day are also less likely to get diabetes.
Not only can five a day protect us from disease but it can also help us look and feel our best. The ideal balance for the five a day rule is three veggies and two fruits, with each portion equaling about 80 grams. A serving size is equal to two cups of raw leafy veggies, 1 cup of any other vegetables, one whole fruit or a cup of cut-up fruit (about the size of a fist).
Variety is the Spice of Life
While it’s good to have a sense of what a portion size is, we should note that eating five a day doesn’t mean eating five bananas. It is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, as they each offer different benefits. Vegetables and fruit help to lower our cholesterol and blood pressure. They can help us lose and maintain weight.
Not only can fruits and veggies help us with our weight but they can also help us avoid disease. If you want to optimize your nutrition, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, berries and citrus are some of your best bets.
While carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, berries and citrus are excellent choices, there is more than one way to get five a day. There are many simple ways to make sure you get your daily servings. Perhaps the easiest is adopting Harvard Medical School’s “Healthy Eating Plate”. All you have to do is dedicate half of each plate you eat to fruits and veggies.
Filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies guarantees five a day success. Another way to get five a day is to make a point of eating one or two fruits or vegetables with every meal.
Making a mental note of eating a fruit or vegetable or two every time you eat becomes second nature. You can experiment with new fruits and vegetables each week to add variety to your menus. If you or your kids are picky, fruits and vegetables can be blended into sauces, stews or smoothies.
Five a Day Tips for Success
Use applesauce instead of oil when baking
Cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts and nut butters pair great with fruit
Grated carrots or blended roasted vegetables can be added to tomato sauce
Fruit salads are great for breakfasts, sides and desserts
Buy pre-chopped veggies and fruit,
or chop them when you get home so they’re always ready to go
Start your meals with vegetable soup or salad Add dates or apricots to rice dishes Snack on wasabi peas, frozen grapes, edamame or kale chips
Freeze banana slices, add milk and blend them into “nice cream” The Health Coaches at Golden Home Fitness can provide you with a foolproof nutrition and training program. For your free virtual or in-person Golden Home Fitness training session click here.
Getting five servings of fruits and vegetables takes effort, but the health benefits are bountiful. We hope you reap all the magnificent rewards of a life focused on health and fitness. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Consumer.healthday.com; healthline.com; health.harvard.edu; webmd.com; kidshealth.org; www.heart.org; sciencedaily.com