The latest research has indicated that it is better for you to eat more! More vegetables and fruits, that is. This is not exactly new news. We have all known from the time we were small kids that fruits and vegetables are essential to good health. You don’t have to look very far to find research on all the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. The problem seems to be that most of us are confused on how much our intake should be, or thinking french fries count as a vegetable, or believing a pill will make up for not eating right.
There are several factors muddling our concept of a nutritious diet. Most of us have been exposed to the old food pyramid created by the government years ago. You remember. It actually has a section for sweets, justifying our consumption of sugar. The bottom of the pyramid was for grains, cereals and rice, largely outweighing the fruits and vegetables sections. And even though veggies and fruits were recommended to be eaten, they were listed by servings, with no actual portion recommendations.
Not so surprisingly, we began to see our overall health as a society began to deteriorate and we started seeing an increase in chronic disease, cardiovascular disease, weight gain and a host of other problems. Being the quick fix society, drug companies started coming up with new drugs to cure every problem, including obesity. For the people who know prescription drugs are not the answer, there are vitamins and supplements to substitute all the nutritional value they should be getting from fruits and vegetables. So, instead of eating healthier, we can continue to eat poorly hoping all the pills we are taking will counteract our poor diets.
We find ourselves sick, tired, overweight and wondering why. The government found research to possibly answer the why, making correlations between our poor diets and our poor health. The U.S. Center for Disease Control found that 90% of the U.S. population does not meet the government’s recommendations for vegetable consumption. Interestingly enough, they also found that 90 million Americans suffer with chronic disease and 2/3 of the population is overweight to some degree.
This research has prompted the The United States Department of Agriculture to adopt a “More Matters” slogan for fruits and veggies. Along with their new slogan comes a revamped food pyramid. And guess what you won’t find on there? A sweets category! Shocking that we finally figured out that not only can we survive without sugar, we would feel much better without it.
The new food pyramid can be found on www.MyPyramid.gov. It is not perfect, but it is definitely better. The new pyramid gives actual portions and serving sizes. You can put in your age and sex along with your amount of daily activity and it will calculate the portions of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein you should consume each day. It will also offer tips on the kind of products to look for, such as lean meats and whole grain bread. Even though we recommend eating more fruits and veggies than the pyramid (we recommend 9 servings a day), as well as eating all organic foods when possible, the new pyramid is a step in the right direction.
You also need to learn what types of vegetables and fruits to be eating. Potatoes and corn should not be your only source of vegetables. You need to go for a wide variety of vegetables, especially dark, green leafy ones. Most of these are full of phytonutrients which are powerful disease fighters. If you start your meals with lean protein, vegetables and a tall glass of water, chances are you will fill up and won’t be as tempted to grab a bag of chips or a soda. If you are still hungry in between meals or want something sweet, grab some fruit and another glass of water. It will fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Many people say they don’t have enough time to prepare healthy foods. However, eating healthier is becoming easier. You can drive through many fast food restaurants and substitute those french fries for a fruit cup or a salad or carrot sticks. Most restaurants will let you substitute sides for grilled or steamed vegetables. Grocery stores have fruits already cut and ready to eat and vegetables already cooked that just need to be heated.
So does eating healthier mean you should throw out your supplements? We do recommend being on a good supplement regimen ALONG with eating a healthy diet. Supplementation is very important. It just shouldn’t be used to replace eating the actual vegetables and fruits. One supplement we recommend is Juice Plus+®. Most of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, and when we do eat them, they are overcooked and not fresh. Juice Plus+® is a great way to enhance the nutritional essence of raw fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
There is no substitute for eating healthy. There is no magic pill or quick fix. One of the best things you can do to improve your health is to start eating more fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.
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