Fruits N vegetables diet

Harvard School of Public Health » The Nutrition Source » Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day
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Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day

Table of contents

Introduction

“Eat your fruits and vegetables” is one of the tried and true recommendations for a healthy diet. And for good reason. 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.

What does “plenty” mean? More than most Americans consume. If you don’t count potatoes—which should be considered a starch rather than a vegetable—the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day (2½ to 6½ cups per day), depending on one’s caloric intake. (1) For a person who needs 2, 000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day (2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables).

For most fresh or cooked vegetables and fruits, 1 cup is just what you would put in a household measuring cup. There are two main exceptions to that rule: For lettuce and other raw leafy greens, you need to eat 2 cups to get the equivalent of 1 cup of vegetables. For dried fruit, you only need to eat ½ cup to get the equivalent of 1 cup of fruit.

Remember—on the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, potatoes are not counted as a vegetable, since they are mostly starch and should be used sparingly.

Over the past 30 years or so, researchers have developed a solid base of science to back up what generations of mothers preached (but didn’t always practice themselves). Early on, fruits and vegetables were acclaimed as cancer-fighting foods. In fact, the ubiquitous 5 A Day message (now quietly changing to Fruits and Veggies: More Matters) seen in produce aisles, magazine ads, and schools was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute. The latest research, though, suggests that the biggest payoff from eating fruits and vegetables is for the heart.

Vegetables, Fruits, and Cardiovascular Disease

There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110, 000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke. (2) Although all fruits and vegetables likely contribute to this benefit, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices) make important contributions. (2)

When researchers combined findings from the Harvard studies with several other long-term studies in the U.S. and Europe, and looked at coronary heart disease and stroke separately, they found a similar protective effect: Individuals who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per had roughly a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (3) and stroke, (4) compared with individuals who ate less than 3 servings per day.

Source: www.hsph.harvard.edu


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Health effects of vegetarian and vegan diets.

2009-05-22 12:51:24 by Yosarrian0022

Key TJ, Appleby PN, Rosell MS.
Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford,
Vegetarian diets do not contain meat, poultry or fish; vegan diets further exclude dairy products and eggs. Vegetarian and vegan diets can vary widely, but the empirical evidence largely relates to the nutritional content and health effects of the average diet of well-educated vegetarians living in Western countries, together with some information on vegetarians in non-Western countries. In general, vegetarian diets provide relatively large amounts of cereals, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables


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