Sometimes I feel like I’m a broken record when talking about vegetables. Between my health coaching clients, my workshops, the blog, my networking groups, my own food intake, and yes, even in casual conversations, I’m always mentioning the power of vegetables. Whenever I feel that I may be overdoing it, though, I end up seeing a study like the one I’m going to discuss today, and am completely reinvigorated to spread the message, and help others LIVE longer.
Studies show that the average American consumes between 3 and 4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (where a serving is 1/2 cup). Unfortunately, that number includes starchy vegetables like potatoes, which are most often consumed as french fries.
A study this year showed that those who consumed seven or more servings of vegetables and fruits per day had 42% reduction in risk of death from any cause at any time vs. those who ate less than one serving per day, and the benefits increased with every additional serving. The risk of cancer decreased by 25% and the risk of heart disease decreased by 31%. Benefits were even better when participants consumed more vegetables than fruits. This study was done on over 65,000 people, and controlled for sex, age, physical activity, smoking, and many other important factors.
The Harvard School of Public Health currently recommends getting between 5 and 13 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, depending on caloric intake, and says that “Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.” It’s hard to underestimate the health benefits of vegetables and fruits.
Eating vegetables can prolong your life. Plain and simple. Your body needs the nutrients from vegetables (and fruits) to function properly, fight off disease and inflammation, and give you energy to sustain your daily activity. If you want to live a healthy and vibrant life, you must eat your vegetables.
Side note, after telling my Fall Reset group about this last night: I always have and always will believe that the BEST source of nutrients is through whole food. Even my clients who never touch vegetables end up tolerating them by the end of the program. It’s just a must. However, for those that are trying to get in as many as possible and still falling short of the 13 recommended servings per day, I recommend a few options to “bridge the gap.” I use all of them myself, especially on days when I’m traveling, eating out a lot, or otherwise don’t get in quite as many veggies as I know I need. All of these products contain actual fruits and vegetables, not isolated vitamins (which are less useful to the body), and minimal other ingredients
- Amazing Grass Greens Superfood: I buy this at Whole Foods or other grocery stores, but here’s the Amazon link. I think it tastes pretty good, but it looks very green, tastes a bit grassy, and might not be the best solution for very picky eaters.
- ORAC Energy Greens Powder (again, I buy in stores, but here’s the link). This one is NOT very tasty at all, but I actually feel my energy increasing after drinking it.
- Juice Plus+ Capsules: not a vitamin, just whole vegetables and fruits condensed into a capsule. Best for picky eaters and has fantastic research to support the benefits – here’s one such video explaining. The company believes so soundly in the results that they give kids the gummy supplements for free if a parent is taking the product. You can buy it here (or contact me for the free kids’ ones). Note that I make a small commission off of each sale.
So tell me in the comments… What’s your favorite way to get in your vegetables and fruits? Are you as convinced as I am to eat up for a longer life??