September: National Fruits and Veggies Month08/26/2016

September: National Fruits and Veggies Month

For many of us, growing up was filled with our parents or guardians trying to keep us healthy. Brush your teeth, drink your milk, run around outside and get some fresh air and eat your fruits and vegetables. Although we may have gotten older, it is still often a challenge to remember this important healthy rule.

September is National Fruits and Veggies Month, a time to remember that the nutrients and fiber in fruits and vegetables can reduce high blood pressure, prevent some eye and digestion problems, and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. 

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a healthy diet consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. In a normal 2,000-calorie diet, approximately 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables should be eaten each day. You should also choose an assortment of different types and colors when shopping for fruits and vegetables in order to provide a variety of nutrients. 

Following a healthy diet can be difficult for a number of reasons, but every grocery list should include a variety of frozen, canned, and/or dried forms of fruits and vegetables. All of these options are still nutritious, often less expensive, and can be used to create quick meals. You can also add fruits and vegetables to your favorite dishes or display your produce so you are more likely to eat it.

People tend to eat less as they age for many reasons including a lessening of physical activity, fewer family meals, difficulty chewing, changes in taste, and changes in appetite. However much or little is eaten, the inclusion of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet is an important element to self-care and healthy aging. Making the small effort to try new things and to cook some vegetarian dishes can lead to great improvements in health and overall quality of life. 

"Eat your fruits and vegetables" is as important a lesson at 65, 75, and 85 as it is for five-year-olds.

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