- Most Americans don’t eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Getting fruits and vegetables in your diet is important for your body and health.
- There are some easy ways to incorporate them into your daily life.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. However, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 10 percent of adults in the U.S. meet these recommendations.
The data is based on a 2019 survey and yields similar results to a 2015 analysis of dietary intake among U.S. adults.
Produce and whole grains reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by 30%
Few will meet fruit and vegetable recommendations
The researchers wanted to determine the percentage of U.S. adults who consume the recommended amounts of agricultural products set out in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), researchers randomly collected dietary data from U.S. adults. There are more than 418,000 people in the system. Of these, the researchers determined that nearly 295,000 responses met their criteria for inclusion in the analysis.
The researchers also considered variables such as location, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status when analyzing the data.
Here are some of the report’s key findings:
- 12.3% of adults meet fruit intake recommendations
- 10% of adults meet vegetable intake recommendations
- Hispanic adults eat the most fruit (16.4%)
- Adults over 51 eat the most vegetables (12.5%)
- People living below or near the poverty line eat the least vegetables (6.8%)
- More women than men meet fruit and vegetable recommendations
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Why Fruits and Vegetables Matter
Elise Compston, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and co-owner of Compston Kitchen, told VigorTip that research continues to show that eating more produce “is associated with a lower risk of multiple chronic diseases, lower mortality, and may enhance our immunity to disease. system.”
However, Compston also noted that many people are having trouble eating enough fruits and vegetables. For example, supply chain issues, increased food costs, and the perception that certain food varieties, such as canned food, are inferior to other options can all be obstacles.
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Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, registered dietitian and blogger at Snacking in Sneakers, told VigorTip: “Fruits and vegetables are vitamins, minerals, phytonutrientsand fiber – all of which are essential for promoting overall health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. ”
According to Carroll, nutrition experts often “see debates about organic versus conventional versus local versus shipped produce,” but when you consider that only one in 10 people meet any fruit and vegetable intake These arguments may be less important when the minimum is recommended.
Instead, Carroll said, the focus needs to shift from nutritional nuances to simply promoting all produce to everyone.
what does this mean to you
Your goal should be to eat 1.5 to 2 cup equivalents of fruit and 2 to 3 cup equivalents of vegetables per day.
Tips for Eating More Produce
While we may understand the health benefits of including a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diets, many of us don’t put this knowledge into action.
That said, there are steps you can take to increase your daily produce intake. Eating more fruits and vegetables can be simple and inexpensive, with a little know-how and creativity.
Here are some ways to get more produce in your diet:
- Choose 100% fruit juice (1/2 cup equals 1/2 fruit)
- Learn which foods are considered vegetables (such as potatoes, corn, yams, beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils) and find new ways to add them to your meals
- If you want something sweet, use dried fruit such as plums or raisins instead of candy
- Serve frozen cooked vegetables as part of casseroles and stir-fries
- Add Rice Cauliflower to Your Favorite Smoothie Recipe
- Substitute sliced carrots, cucumbers, and other vegetables for chip dip
- Top Salad with Hearts of Palm or Artichokes or a Mediterranean Flavor for a Nutritious Boost
- Add some extra veggies when mixing your homemade soup
- Keep canned vegetables (unsalted) on hand. Pre-cut vegetables when you get home from the grocery store for a quick and easy addition to your recipes.
- In lieu of processed sugary add-ons, top desserts with fruit
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