Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Eat Your Veggies

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Eat Your Veggies

Article excerpt

Everyone who talks, writes, or preaches about nutrition puts fruits and vegetables at the pinnacle of goodness. While they may lack magical powers, most are excellent sources of potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), vitamins (like A and C), fiber (which helps the digestive system run smoothly), and other nutrients. And when we fill up on low-calorie fruits and veggies, our diets have less room for junk. What's more, people who eat more produce have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Since 1980, the government has advised us to eat more fruits and vegetables. For two decades, the National Cancer Institute has urged us to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent MyPlate graphic encourages people to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables.

Most people have heard the message. But we're still not eating enough.

After rising about 25 percent between 1980 and 199S, vegetable consumption leveled off at a sorry one cup per person per day (excluding white potatoes, potato chips, and fries).

And fruit consumption has remained constant--at just half a cup per day--for the past 25 years. (We don't count fruit juice, since it lacks the fiber that's in whole fruit and since liquid calories promote weight gain.)

Despite all the farmers markets, Michael Pollan books, and readers of Nutrition Action, we're eating far too little fruits and vegetables. …

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