Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are you eating enough of these every day?

If you're not getting enough of these every day then you are putting your body at risk for chronic diseases, stroke, and even cardiovascular disease. I addition you may be starving your body of the essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs to function at 100%. So what are "these" and how do you know if you're getting enough?

Well fruits and vegetables of course! We all know that getting the right nutrition in our bodies is essential for their optimal function, but did you know that it also aids with digestion and even lowering your "bad" LDL cholesterol? Fruits and vegetables provide a rich source of fiber in our diet that can help to speed along the digestive tract so we have regular bowel movements and along the way they pick up excess cholesterol and harmful substances that can cause cancer in our bowel. These fruits and vegetables also supply many nutrient enzymes we need to aid in our digestion, so if you have irritable bowel syndrome, crohn's disease, or even celiac making sure you're getting your daily serving of fruits and vegetables can really pull though in a punch of an attack!

So much is enough? Well the American Medical Association recommends at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. However about 70% of Americans aren't getting the recommended amount and may be putting their health and bodies at risk because of it. The AMA recommendation doesn't take into consideration the age, calorie intake, or even the stage of development for this recommendation, so a better guide would be:

Children 2-6 years of age, less active women, and older adults should be getting about 1200 calories/day and should be advised to have 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables everyday. In contrast, most men, active women, teen girls, and older children should be consuming about 2200 calories/day and should be getting 3 servings of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables. Active men and teen boys should aim for 2800 calories/day and should be consuming 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables every day.

So how can you make sure you're family is getting how much they need?

1) Plan your meals for the week so that you make sure you have a good variety of fruits and vegetables for your family to chose from when it comes to meal or snack time.
2) Make sure you're utilizing a variety of colors when you head to the grocery store or farmer's market. Even better, bring the whole family to the store or farmer's market because children that pick out their fruits and vegetables tend to be more likely to eat them!
3) When it comes down to it 100% fruit juice that is NOT from concentrate can be a great source of your daily servings that is fast, easy and can be mixed together for different tastes.
4) Encourage yourself and your family to reach for fruit at snack time or before sports activities because it'll bring them closer to their daily recommendation plus it will provide some extra energy to kick start their bodies.
5) Try a greens supplement to help kick start your daily intake and put your mind at ease throughout the day. Absolute Greens has a fresh minty taste that is sure to please.
6) Try some new recipes or put a spin on salad by adding colorful fruits and vegetables to please the eye and the stomach. See some great recipes below.

Strawberry Crunch Salad: Toss some salad together with chopped grilled chicken, sliced strawberries, walnuts, and feta cheese and drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette for a summer twist that will sure to please.
Tomato and Basil Finger Sandwiches
Roasted Corn with Shallot Vinaigrette
Tropical Cucumber Salad
Grilled Chicken Polenta with Blackberry Nectarine Salsa
Peach and Berry Cobbler
Melon and Apple Granita