Category Archives: 5 a day

Fruits and veggies … it’s not just five a day anymore!

Eugen WaisWe all work pretty hard to fit five servings of fruits and vegetables into our diets every day. Sometimes it feels like it’s quite a challenge. It appears as though it may become even more challenging soon. New research from the University College London suggests that we need at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day for optimal health. Holy zucchini! That’s a lot of produce.

In the study, published in March, people who ate at least seven portions of produce a day had a 42 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Specifically, they had a 31 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke and a 25 percent lower risk of death from cancer. The study authors called the results “staggering.”

FoodFacts.com wants to offer some ideas that can make the concept of increasing your fruit and vegetable intake by another two servings every day.

Let’s talk about breakfast
Fruit and breakfast are definitely great partners! If you enjoy oatmeal in the morning, you’ll find it even more enjoyable when you mix in a cup of fresh berries. You’ll add flavor and texture as well as variety. If you’re having yogurt as part of your morning meal, don’t buy the fruit flavored varieties. Instead stir in a cup of chopped peaches, apples, plums or melon. This is much tastier than the pre-mixed options. You can try peanut butter on toast topped with sliced apples. Breakfast is an easy opportunity to really enjoy your first serving of the seven for the day.

Expand your plate at lunch
We know that we can happily add lettuce and tomato to a sandwich. Those additions add texture and flavor and help keep us fuller, longer. If we’ve decided on a salad, we’ve got between one and three servings of vegetables on our lunch plate. Whatever our lunch choice, let’s put it on a plate and add some fruit salad we’ve prepared at home. We’ve got lots of great seasonal choices this time of year. Fruit salad is easy to store and travels well in small containers if need be. This isn’t just a great way to add another serving of the seven to our day, it’s another way to help you feel satisfied.

Veggies make great mix-ins
We’ve all probably done this at some point for children, but it really works to increase your vegetable consumption as well. If you’re making a meatloaf, add shredded zucchini for added flavor and texture and it helps make a more moist meatloaf. Burgers on the menu? Try chopped onions and mushrooms in the mix. Try chopped spinach in meatballs or sauteed spinach in your morning eggs. Don’t forget about pasta sauce as well — peas, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, spinach — any combination of veggies make pasta sauce a much richer experience.

Swap out your snacks
If you need a little something to hold you over in the afternoon before dinner, fruit is a great sweet snack. Fruit can satisfy your hunger, without killing your calorie consumption.

Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can be easier than you might think. A little creativity and out of the box thinking can go a long way. With the benefits described in this new study, it’s certainly worth it!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/knowmore-tv/fruits-veggies-_b_5234536.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

Eat more fruits and vegetables and live longer!

FoodFacts.com is a big believer in finding every possible way to consume your five a day! Fruits and vegetables are such an important source of nutrients for us. They really do help us to maintain our health, and have been associated with lowered risk and even prevention of various chronic health conditions and diseases. Today we found yet another reason to find even more healthful and delicious preparations for fruits and vegetables.

A new European study analyzes the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of mortality and concludes that fruit and vegetable consumption reduces all-cause mortality, and especially cardiovascular disease mortality.

The benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption are not a new discovery. However, new research confirms their role in reducing mortality. This reduction is more significant in the case of deaths from cardiovascular disease.

The analysis, recently published in the ‘American Journal of Epidemiology’, was directed by researchers from ten countries, including Spain, as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

The sample analyzed includes 25,682 deaths (10,438 due to cancer and 5,125 due to cardiovascular disease) among the 451,151 participants studied over more than 13 years.
“This study is the most significant epidemiological study that this association has examined to date,” María José Sánchez Pérez, director of the Andalusian School of Public Health’s (EASP) Granada Cancer Registry and one of the authors of the research, explains to SINC.

According to the results, a combined fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams per day reduces the risk of mortality by 10% and delays the risk of mortality by 1.12 years compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day.

Furthermore, for every 200 gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption, the risk falls by 6%. The proportion of deaths that could be prevented if everyone eating too few fruit and vegetables increased their consumption by 100-200 grams per day — thus reaching the recommended 400-500 grams per day — is 2.9%.

Previous studies already noted that fruit and vegetable consumption, in accordance with the recommended daily allowance, prevents the development of chronic diseases, and reduces the risk of mortality by 10-25%.

“There is now sufficient evidence of the beneficial effect of fruit and vegetable consumption in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases,” Sánchez states, “for this reason, one of the most effective preventative measures is promoting their consumption in the population.”

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 15%. Furthermore, more than 4% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease could be prevented by consuming more than 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day.

The mortality risk reduction due to fruit and vegetable consumption was greater in those participants who consumed alcohol (around 30-40% risk reduction), who were obese (20%), and “possibly” also in those who smoked.

The authors add that this positive effect is probably due to their high antioxidant content, which mitigates the oxidative stress caused by alcohol, tobacco and obesity.

“As such, these population groups in particular could benefit from the positive effects of fruit and vegetables in preventing chronic diseases and their associated mortality risk,” Sánchez concludes.

All these benefits just from increasing fruit and vegetable consumption! FoodFacts.com couldn’t be more pleased! And with so many flavorful, colorful choices to pick from, we can keep our diets tasty, interesting and healthy and enjoy a longer, healthier life!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926102433.htm

Great new reason to find every way to eat your 5 a day

FoodFacts.com has always supported the consumption of fresh whole foods as one of the building blocks involved in enjoying a long and healthy life. While there are certainly other variables involved in our health and well being, diet is something we all have a choice in and control over. When our dietary choices involve fresh, whole foods and are rich in fruits and vegetables, our bodies reap the benefits. We’ve always taken the “Eat your 5 a day” advice seriously.

Today we found new information confirming that following that advice is important for another great reason – it may actually prolong your life!

A large Swedish study has found a link between fruit and vegetable consumption and lifespan. People who ate fewer than the recommended “5 a Day” portions of fruit and vegetables tended not to live as long as people who ate 5 portions a day or more, say the researchers. The study comes out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and is written up in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

It appears that there haven’t been many large studies that have looked at the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and lifespan. The studies that have been conducted have produced inconsistent results.

For this new study, researchers looked at the relationship between different amounts of daily fruit and vegetable consumption and timing and rate of deaths in a large population of 71,706 Swedish men and women who completed questionnaires about their food intake as participants in the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men.

The participants were followed for 13 years and ranged in age from 45 to 83. About half the participants were men. During the follow-up period, just under 11,500 of the participants died.

When the researchers analyzed the results, it was found that eating fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day was progressively linked to shorter lifespan and higher rates of death in both the men and women when compared with those who ate 5 a day or more. Thus, the less fruits and vegetables they ate under the 5 a day threshold, the shorter their lives.

Participants who said they never ate fruit and vegetables had their lives cut short by an average of 3 years, and were 53% more likely to die during the follow-up, compared with those who said they ate 5 servings a day or more.

The study was not designed to look for cause and effect, so it cannot say for sure that eating fruits and vegetables actually increases lifespan. The cause could be due to other factors that differed between those who ate fruits and vegetables and those who did not.
Researchers noted that participants who said they ate fewer fruits and vegetables tended to be smokers, with fewer years of education, and bigger eaters of red meat, high-fat dairy goods, snacks and sweets. But those who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables tended to consume more calories. When researchers adjusted the results to factor in possible effects of gender, BMI, exercise, alcohol and smoking, the results did not change significantly.

Even consumption of just one portion of fruit a day made a difference in lifespan. Those who never ate fruit lived an average of 19 months less than those who ate one portion per day. And those who said they ate three servings of vegetables per day lived 32 months longer than those who said they never ate vegetables.

While FoodFacts.com understands that more research is certainly suggested, we find this to be very compelling information. It certainly gives us all a great reason to make sure that we find every way we can to consume our 5 a day. A little nutritional awareness can go a long way!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263372.php

7 a day is better than 5 to keep you healthy AND happy!

FoodFacts.com has reviewed research in the past that linked the consumption of junk food to a decline in the human ability to be optimistic and happy. It has been suggested that poor eating habits can actually add to depression and depressed moods. Today, however, we came across new research that links and increase in positive mental health and happiness to eating vegetables and fruits. We love the idea that our boosting our mental well being could be as simple as increasing our consumption of the foods that we already know are healthiest for our physical well being!

The University of Warwick in Great Britain conducted a study focusing on the diets of 80,000 people. They discovered that mental well being increased along with the number of servings of fruits and vegetables people consumed on a daily basis. Mental well being rose the most among those consuming seven servings each day.

While the current recommendations are to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day because we understand that this level of consumption protects our cardiovascular health and reduces our cancer risk, we’ve never looked at the effect of those servings – or an increase in those servings for our mental well-being.

The study focused on British citizens. It appears that currently 25% of the English population is eating one serving or no servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Only 10% are consuming seven or more. While the research doesn’t tell us that there are specific fruits and vegetables that are aiding in the mental health boost from those seven servings, they have, in fact, set a serving size that matters. One serving equals one cup. So, for instance one medium apple is one serving of fruit and two medium carrots will qualify as one serving of vegetables.

The authors of the study were somewhat surprised by their findings, mainly because mental health and well-being have not been related to diet in the past. For the most part treatment for mental health related difficulties has always been addressed medically, not nutritionally.

While we understand that nine servings per day can sound fairly daunting for many people, we know that there are some things you can do that can help increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Here are a few ideas from your friends at FoodFacts.com.

Fruit Salad for Dessert
If your family only indulges in desserts on the weekends, you might want to reconsider that schedule. On weeknights, prepare a fresh fruit salad and not only will you be treating your family to dessert, you’ll also be getting an extra serving of fruit into their diets.

Breakfast
Especially with the colder weather coming, hot cereal brings the opportunity to get more fruit into your diet. We know that prepared flavored oatmeal isn’t always made with the best ingredients. But if you add apple slices and cinnamon to a bowl of homemade oatmeal, it will be tastier than the box products and provide extra fruit for the day.

Extra Dinner Veggies
We’ve always liked the idea of getting some vegetables into an entree that may or may not be noticeable. For instance, sliced zucchini works well in lasagna and chopped spinach can easily be mixed inside a burger. A few others might include broccoli in a side of macaroni and cheese, or cabbage in mashed potatoes. You would, of course, be serving a vegetable alongside that entree, effectively adding to vegetable consumption.

Side Salads
So you have your protein, your vegetable and (perhaps) your starch picked out for your evening meal. Serve a salad with it. Salads can be prepared in interesting manners with fruit and vegetable additions that are very appealing and add new textures and flavors AND extra fruits and vegetables to your dinner!

FoodFacts.com encourages you to read more about this new research (and to try some of our ideas as well):
http://scienceblog.com/57078/fruits-and-veggies-7-a-day-for-happiness-and-mental-health/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+scienceblogrssfeed+%28ScienceBlog.com%29#S5q6kFDK0R80JVOc.99