The CDC recommends that adults should consume at least 1.5 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day. However, their data shows that only 12.2% of people are actually meeting the guidelines for fruit and 9.3% for vegetables. These shocking statistics go hand-in-hand with the high rates of disease and illness that the nation currently faces, including diabetes, obesity and heart attacks, showing the need for America to increase their fruit and vegetable intake.
America’s current eating habits
Unfortunately, the same eating trend seems to present itself throughout most of America’s states. Some cities can boast of having a higher amount of residents that consume fruit and vegetables, such as Chicago which sits third in the list of people eating at least two pieces of fruit a day, but this is still only 36.4% of people, according to the American Fitness Index. Many studies have also started to show the benefits of eating at least ten portions a day, despite it being common to hear that five pieces is the optimum amount. This means that the majority of people who are eating at least two pieces a day are likely not getting anywhere near enough still.
The importance of eating enough fruit and veg
The importance of eating at least the recommendations of fruits and vegetables a day shouldn’t be underrated. Vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, folate, fiber and potassium. Folate is responsible for forming red blood cells and vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy, as well as protecting against infections. Fruit offers a natural sweet food that is low in fat, sodium and calories, while being high in potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate. Fiber is needed for fighting against heart disease and lowering cholesterol. Vitamin C assists the body to heal wounds and keeps gums and teeth healthy. Many studies show that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk of mortality from any cause, particularly cardiovascular.
How to boost your intake
Smoothies are a great option to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you consume in a day. They’re quick to make, are packed with nutrients and are delicious. You can make smoothies that have additional health benefits too, such as adding ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties if you have conditions where inflammation is a problem. You can also increase your intake by switching your current foods with a fruit or vegetables, such as a bag of chips for a banana or your bowl of sugary cereal for a healthier version with berries on top to add sweetness and flavor.
Your diet should revolve around fruit and vegetables, making them a staple food. Research shows that the more portions you eat in a day, the better your health will be.
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