This is a reblog of this post from 2014 about the health benefits of vegetables. Surprise- I still love vegetables, and I still believe they are one of the most fundamental parts of a healthy lifestyle. Today I’m bringing this post back from the archives with some updates for 2018. Enjoy!
Sometimes I feel like I’m a broken record when talking about vegetables. Between my health coaching clients, my speaking engagements, the blog, 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 in 2014 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.
I always have and always will believe that the BEST source of nutrients is through whole food. Even my clients who participate in my 10 Day Reset (available on demand!) who previously never touched vegetables end up tolerating them by the end of the program. It’s just a must. If you’re looking for ways to get in your veggies, I recommend checking out my post on fun spiralizer recipes, my Meal Planning Mastery webinar (which comes with recipes!), or my Friday Food Spotlight on Instagram.
For those that are trying to get in as many as possible and still falling short of the 12 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.
- Organifi: here’s the Amazon link … it’s the best tasting high-quality greens powder I’ve found. I really enjoy the taste, as do many of my clients!
- Amazing Grass Greens Superfood: here’s the Amazon link, and it’s also available in many stores. I think it tastes pretty good, but it looks very green, tastes a bit grassy, and is not the best solution for very picky eaters.
- 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, and here’s my post on why I recommend it. 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).
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??