Could it be more vegetables and fruits? It’s the one thing health care professionals agree on when it comes to nutritional advice! Most of us need more, and a wider variety, to make sure we take in enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in order to keep our guts and immune systems strong.
According to the CDC’s State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables 2013, there are only 3 states in the US where adults are taking in vegetables 1.8 times (or more) per day! Those three states are Oregon, California, and New Hampshire. As per the Harvard School of Public Health, the average intake is only 3 servings per day (excluding potatoes), when the current recommended amount is 5 to 13 servings per day. That’s 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups a day, depending upon your weight.
From heart health to cancer prevention to eye and gastrointestinal health, eating more fruits and vegetables has been shown to be protective. When it comes to heart health specifically, consuming at the higher end of that spectrum has shown to be highly beneficial. The Harvard School of Public Health did extensive research, as follows:
“The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.” – as excerpted from the article, Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day
Very often, we know we should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but our busy lifestyles get in the way. Here are a few ideas for sneaking a few more servings in each day:
- Eat 2 or more servings at each meal. One serving is 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or fresh fruit, 1 cup of raw vegetables, or 1/4 cup of dried fruit. Choose 2 or 3 times as many vegetables as fruits, as fruit contains more natural sugars.
- Fill 1/2 of each plate with vegetables.
- Eat a large salad, with lots of leafy greens, with one meal every day. Good alternative for warmer months.
- Eat a bowl of homemade vegetable soup (can be pureed) every day. Good alternative for colder months!
- Eat 1 to 2 small pieces of fresh fruit for snacks every day.
- Replace bread, grains, and processed foods with vegetables whenever possible. For example, wrap burgers and sandwiches with lettuce, instead of bread.
- Try one new vegetable every week. Variety adds flavor and nutrients.
Choose produce that’s in season, as the fresher it is, the more nutrient packed it will be. During the holiday season, root vegetables will add color and flavor to your plate!
Of course, not everyone has as easy a time of finding and consuming a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit, especially during the colder months. Even when they do, the sad truth is that unless you get it from a local, organic farmer’s market, there’s no guarantee that it is as nutrient packed as it should be. Lengthy transportation times and soil depletion can cause nutrients to be lost before you even buy them! That’s when frozen ones are a good option, especially if you’re trying to save money. Fresh produce can be expensive, especially if everyone in your family is trying to get 8 to 13 servings in a day.
That’s why it’s great to have a kind of insurance policy when it comes to vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. That’s what I’ve found in whole food, fruit and vegetable capsules called Juice Plus+. You can consume 20 to 30 different kinds of fruits and vegetables every single day, by taking 2 to 3 capsules twice a day! And they are nonGMO Project verified, and third party tested to be free of pesticides and heavy metals.
There have been 31 peer reviewed studies done on this product, and they show that regular consumption of the capsules protects DNA, reduces oxidative stress, reduces inflammation, helps improve gum and skin health, improves insulin resistance, and more.
If you take a look at my Juice Plus distributor/affiliate site, you can watch a series of videos in which doctors and health care providers of different specialties explain why they so strongly believe in and recommend this product. High profile doctors, like Dr. Bill Sears, and Dr. David Katz are just two of them. You can also review the extensive research that’s been done, and what new research is underway.
Just yesterday, I spent $6.99 on a pint of strawberries and $3.99 on 6 ounces of raspberries. I was so happy to find them, as they are definitely not in season right now in NY! My son and I split the two, and they were gone before the end of the day.
There’s nothing like eating fresh, nutrient packed fruits and vegetables, but even though I eat berries as often as I can, I still won’t get the variety I get in a single Juice Plus capsule. There are three kinds – Orchard (fruit blend), Garden (vegetable blend), and Vineyard (berry, purple fruit blend). With a 2 capsule serving of Vineyard alone, you are consuming not just one kind of berry, but blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, bilberries, raspberries, and elderberries! And there are red grapes and other fruits in that blend as well. It would be almost impossible to consume that many different fruits in one day otherwise, not to mention how much money you’d have to spend and how much natural sugar you’d consume by eating so many.
I resisted becoming a distributor of this product for a whole year, because I do firmly believe that eating real, farm-to-table food is the single most important thing we can do for our health. I changed my mind because of the significant amount of research I’ve read recently that most of us are not taking in enough micronutrients through food alone, even if we are trying our best. We have insurance policies for our homes, cars, and lives, but what about for our bodies as well? They say Juice Plus+ “bridges the gap between what we do eat and what we should eat.” With the high level of research that’s been done on this product, as well as the numerous doctor and customer testimonials, I’ve come to believe that’s true.
Juice Plus+ can’t replace fruits and vegetables, of course, but you might find yourself, and your child, eating more of them as a result of taking the capsules. It’s just one easy way to squeeze more nutrients in on a daily basis, all for a mere $1.50 to $2.50 per day. And a child or teenager, through the college years, gets the product for FREE for 4 full years with an adult purchase, if they participate in the children’s health study. For more information, feel free to contact me anytime.
Please note that if you do purchase Juice Plus+ through any of the links above, I will receive a small commission, which will be used to offset the maintenance of this site. Thank you for your support!
As I stated in part 1, there has never been a more important time to maximize nutrients, not only to support organ health, but to offset the harmful effects of the many toxins we are exposed to every single day. Anything we can do to prevent chemicals, food additives, pesticides, and other toxins from causing our barrel to overflow, is a step in the right health direction. For the next blog post, I will focus on the importance of minimizing exposure to a variety of toxins, specifically the ones in our personal care products.
Is your body hungry for more fruits and vegetables? What one small change can you make this week, in order to consume more?
Here’s one idea: try my 3 ingredient recipe for roasted sweet potatoes! It’s simple and delicious, without all of the sugary syrup and marshmallows. OR, keep your young child busy doing food related artwork, while making Heart “Beet” and Carrot Salad.
Have a safe, happy, and gut healthy Thanksgiving!
For further reading, continue on to part 3.