Although September has been proclaimed Fruits & Veggies – More Matters® Month by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, every month is a great time to promote better health by eating less meat and saturated fats and more fresh, beneficial fruits and vegetables.
Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are good for your health for various reasons. They are a great source of fiber which works to fill you up and help manage body weight; they contain phytonutrients – special compounds that work to protect or repair cells from damage; they also help lower cholesterol, keep vision healthy and more. Fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals that all play a unique role in the body to support physical activity and good health, and help support your immune system. . The benefits go on and on. The nutrients found naturally in plant-based foods even have the potential to reduce inflammation that can cause pain and impact movement.
Unfortunately, a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that few American adults and even fewer adolescents are eating enough fruits and vegetables. Surveys indicate that only 33 percent of adults are meeting the recommendation for fruit consumption and 27 percent are meeting the vegetable recommendation each day. On average, only 14 percent of American adults consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables daily. The statistics are even worse for high school students – 32 percent of them report eating at least 2 fruit servings daily and 13 percent say they eat at least 3 vegetable servings each day. On average, only 9.5 percent of American adolescents consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables each day.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables is important for optimal growth in children, weight management and the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Eating a diet that includes a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables provides a wide range of valuable nutrients important to health. It’s important to remember that all product forms matter — fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices. So it really is easy to add more fruits and vegetables throughout the day – drink fruit juice in the morning with a banana or strawberries on your cereal. Snack on dried fruit and nuts throughout the day and enjoy flavorful vegetables with your dinner.
So while September may officially be Fruits & Veggies – More Matters® Month, everyone here at Community Health Connections encourages you to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet every day of the year to feel better, look better and live a happier, healthier life.